Great presidents are made great by horrible circumstances combined with character, temperament and intelligence. Like firemen, cops, doctors or soldiers, presidents need a crisis to shine
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan took the oath of office on 29 May, 2011 amidst thunderous expectations of a new dawn, given the mountain of problems that characterized the nation.
Jonathan is one of the most intelligent presidents to ever step forward in Nigeria’s history the second fully fit university graduate. The likes of his intellectual capabilities have not been surpassed in public life since the Founding Fathers put pen to paper. His personal character is also solid gold. Take heart, Nigeria: we have the leader for our times.
I say this as a Pan Africanist who believes totally in One Nigeria, former life-long siddon look Nigerian. I say this as a proud Nigerian . I speak as someone who knows it’s time to forget tribal loyalty, party loyalty, ideology and pride and put the country first.
Jonathan is our last best chance. He’s worth laying it all on the line for.
Where many leaders are two-faced; publicly kindly but privately feared and/or hated by people closest to them, Jonathan is consistent in the way he treats people, consistently kind and personally humble. He lives by the code that those who lead must serve. He believes that. He lives it. He lived it long before he was in the public eye.
Jonathan puts service ahead of ideology. He also knows that to succeed politically you need to be tough. He can be. He has been (Okerenkoko and Gbaramatu). This is a man who does what works, rather than scoring ideological points. In other words he is the quintessential non-ideological pragmatic Nigerian. He will (thank God!) disappoint ideologues and purists of the left and the right.
Jonathan has a reservoir of personal physical courage that is unmatched in our presidential history. Why unmatched? Because as the first monority contender for the presidency who has won, Jonathan, and all the rest of us, know that he is in great physical danger from the seemingly unlimited reserve of unhinged tribal hatred, and just plain unhinged ignorant hatred, that swirls in the bowels of our wounded and sinful country. By stepping forward to lead, Jonathan has literally put his life on the line for all of us in a way no other Nigerian ever has had to do. (And we all know how dangerous the presidency has been)
The greater point about Jonathan is that the midst of our worldwide financial meltdown, an expanding Boko Haram ,Niger Delta Militancy,Piracy,Kidnappings,Armed Robberies,Bribery and corruption etc, watching our educational levels decline to unbelievable levels of incompetence, facing a general loss of confidence in the government that has been exacerbated by the opposition doing all they can to undermine our government’s capabilities and programs… President Jonathan has taken on the leadership of our country at a make or break time of historic proportions. He faces not one but dozens of crisis, each big enough to define any presidency in better times.
As luck, fate or divine grace would have it (depending on one’s personal theology) Jonathan is blessedly, dare I say uniquely, well-suited to our dire circumstances. Jonathan is a person with hands-on experience, deep connections to top advisers from the renowned Universites in Nigeria being a former university lecturer , and a middle-class background that gives him an abiding knowledgeable empathy with the rest of us. As the son of poor parents, who has worked his way up with merit and brains, in three giant political steps to state office, national office and now the presidency, Jonathan clearly has the wit and drive to lead.
Jonathan is the sober voice of reason at a time of unreason. He is the fellow keeping his head while all around him are panicking. He is the healing presence at a time of national division and strife. He is also new enough to the political process so that he doesn’t suffer from the terminally jaded cynicism, the seen-it-all-before syndrome afflicting most politicians in Nigeria. In that regard we Nigerians lucked out. It’s as if having despaired of our political process we picked a name from the phone book to lead us and that person turned out to be a very man we needed.
Jonathan brings a healing and uplifting spiritual quality to our politics at the very time when our worst enemy is fear. Fearless Jonathan is the cure. He speaks a litany of hope rather than a litany of terror.
As we have watched Jonathan respond in a quiet reasoned manner to crisis after crisis, in both the way he has responded after being attacked and lied about , to his reasoned response to our multiplying national crises, what we see is the spirit of a trusted family doctor with a great bedside manner. Jonathan is perfectly suited to hold our hand and lead us through some very tough times. The word panic is not in the Jonathan dictionary.
Jonathan brings a moral clarity to his leadership reserved for those who have had to work for everything they’ve gotten and had to do twice as well as the person standing next to them because of the region they come from . His experience of succeeding in spite of his social background could have been embittering or one that fostered a spiritual rebirth of forgiveness and enlightenment. Jonathan radiates the calm inner peace of the spirit of forgiveness.
Speaking as a believing Nigerian I see the hand of a merciful God in Jonathans Presidency. The biblical metaphors abound. The stone the builder rejected is become the cornerstone… the last shall be first… he that would gain his life must first lose it… the meek shall inherit the earth…
For my secular friends I’ll allow that we may have just been extraordinarily lucky! Either way Nigeria wins.
Only a brilliant man, with the spirit of a preacher and the humble heart of a kindly family doctor can lead us now. We are afraid, out of ideas, and worst of all out of hope. Jonathan is the cure. And we Nigerian’s have it in us to rise to the occasion. We will. We’re in one of the most frightening periods of Nigerian history. Our country has rarely faced more uncertainty. This is the time for greatness. We have a great leader. We must be a great people backing him, fighting for him, sacrificing for a cause greater than ourselves.
A hundred years from now Jonathan’s portrait will be placed next to that of Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe,King Jaja Of Opobo,Ahmadu Bello and Nana Of Itsekiri etc. Long before that we’ll be telling our children and grandchildren that we stepped out in faith and supported a man who stood up and led our country back from the brink of an abyss. We’ll tell them about the power of love, faith and hope. We’ll tell them about the power of creativity combined with humility and intellectual brilliance. We’ll tell them that President Jonathan gave us the gift of regaining our faith in our country. We’ll tell them that we all stood up and pitched in and won the day. We’ll tell them that President Jonathan restored our standing in the world. We’ll tell them that by the time he left office our schools were on the mend, our economy booming. We’ll tell them that because of President Jonathan’s example and leadership the integrity of the family was restored, divorce rates went down, more fathers took responsibility for their children, and abortion rates fell dramatically as women, families and children were cared for through compassionate social programs that worked. We’ll tell them about how the gap closed between the middle class and the super rich, how we won health care for all, how crime rates fell, how kidnappings, militancy and terrorism were brought to an honourable conclusion.
We’ll tell them that we were part of the inexplicably blessed miracle that happened to our country those many years ago in 2011 when an Ijaw man was sent by God, fate or luck to save our country. We’ll tell them that it’s good to live in Nigeria where anything is possible.
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has been recording unique achievements.
1. President Goodluck Jonathan became the first Nigerian President to be WARNED PUBLICLY not to contest for elections on account of ethno-regional selfish interest, AND PROMISED MAYHEM and GRIDLOCK if he does.
2. First President to experience over 50 UNWARRANTED, UNPRECEDENTED BOMBINGS of CHURCHES, PRIMARY SCHOOLS, UNIVERSITY CAMPUSES, DRINKING PARLOURS, MATCH VIEWING CENTERS in less than 365 days after his swearing-in.
3. First President/Head of State from the ENTIRE SOUTHERN NIGERIA, who is neither a NORTHERNER nor an EX-MILITARY man
4. First SOCIAL MEDIA ERA President/ Head of State
5. First President/ Head of State to experience the malicious death of INNOCENT, HARMLESS, UNARMED Youth Corpers serving their fatherland.
6. First President/ Head of State to evacuate Nigerians from trouble spots overseas by airlifting thousands of stranded citizens back home.
7. First President/ Head of State under whose tenure, MULTI PARTY DEMOCRACY blossomed most: 6 different political parties have governors in Nigeria: LP, ACN, PDP, APGA, ANPP, CPC (Please note: all court orders overturned in favour of opposition parties were all obeyed: Osun, Ekiti, etc)
8. First President/ Head of State to sign into law the FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT
9. First President/ Head of State to EFFECTIVELY outlaw toll-collecting illegal police checkpoints in Nigeria
10. First President/ Head of State to introduce a national tax policy to create a self-sufficient economy that could bring development to the people.
11. First president to pay attention to our International and local Airports – Kano airport upgraded after 57 years, other airports upgrades in progress.
12. Kaduna Refinery rehabilitated after 15 years
13. The first President to summon the courage to unbundle Electricity distribution after 52 years, power supply more than doubled after almost 100 years after amalgamation (met power supply at about 2,200 mw, now 4,237 mw) States Begin Electricity Distribution
14. First President to address the bad state of the Benin-Ore road which was rehabilitated after 20 years.
15. First president to rejuvenate our comatose Railways back to life after 20 years of lull in the sector, Colonial laws under review, States and Private investors welcome in the railways sector.
16. First to introduce 35% female appointments in government positions.
17. First in decades to reduce salaries of public servants and examine the proliferation of different salary structures in the public service in the federation
18. First to deliver on Nine New Varsities, to accommodate, the growing number of admission candidates/population
19. First to promise Almajiri school, promise kept
20. First to follow due process/rule of law in government conduct
21. First president to be thought of, by the average Nigerian, as his/her COUNCILLOR, LGA CHAIRMAN, ASSEMBLYMAN, GOVERNOR, REP OR SENATOR and CHIEF JUSTICE in one fell swoop, not minding the fact that everyone has his/her job cut out in a democracy as this is not a MILITARY DICTATORSHIP- that the buck does not stop at his desk in matters involving states, LGAs and the Judiciary or Legislature; that their jobs are complementary and they are allocated funds every month from FAAC, not to ‘chop’, but to work!
23.FIGHTING FOR FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS
24.PROSECUTION OF FUEL SUBSIDY THIEVES
25.FIGHT AGAINST BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION
26.FIRST FEMALE CHIEF JUSTICE OF NIGERIA
27.SUSTENANCE OF AMNESTY PROGRAMME
28.PERMANENTLY FLOW OF PETROLUEM PRODUCTS EVER IN NIGERIA
29.INCREASE OF OUR DAILY OIL PRODUCTION OUTPUT TO THE HIGEST EVER
30.PROMISE TO REVIEW IMMUNITY LAWS
31.ENTRY OF IMPORTED GOODS INTO NIGERIA IN 48 HOURS
SO MANY GREAT AND RESPONSIVE GOVERNMENT STRIDES ACHIEVED ON A DAILY BASIS