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Published On: Thu, Nov 27th, 2014

Can Jonathan revive Nigeria’s economy?

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President Goodluck JonathanOchiaka Ugwu writes on Nigeria’s 2015 election and if President Goodluck Jonathan, who is contesting to win another term, will be able to revitalize the economy if voted in

Nigerian’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with the incumbent President Jonathan likely to be its candidate for the presidential contest is planning to prolong its almost 16 year hold on power as it is doing anything humanly possible to retain control even in the face of total rejection by majority of Nigerians.

The ruling party will have to contend with a formidable opposition, All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February next year’s contest. The main challenger is Mohammed Buhari who stands every chance of winning the APC ticket and the general election in a free and fair contest. The PDP is set to retain support even as a corruption scandal taints the party especially those in the cabinet of President Jonathan. President Jonathan’s image, pledging to create 3 million “job opportunities,” build millions of homes for the poor and improve education and healthcare over the next four years if reelected have been dismissed with a wave of hand.

All indications are that loyalty to the APC and belief in the party’s ability to rejuvenate the dying economy will trump sympathy to the opposition as many Nigerians have sworn to kick out PDP like the way Nigerians kick out Ebola virus as a result of nonperformance. Political analysts are quick to point out that it will be useless for Jonathan to be promising Nigerians heaven on earth as Nigerians are wiser now and will never fall for any of the PDP’s deceit. They even went on to say that Jonathan’s presidency has brought nothing for Nigerians except misery and untold hardship.

Speaking recently on the state of the economy, former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo who took a swipe on the economic situation in the country under President Jonathan-led administration, declared that Nigerians are back to the late dictator, General Sani Abacha where the middle class was non-existent. Obasanjo noted the prevailing economic situation in the country has shown clearly that the middle-class had been destroyed.

Obasanjo who disclosed that he received a text message which he said shocked him, saying that a middle class Nigerian was requesting for financial assistance from him. It shows that the economy is heading to a rock and needed a good shepherd to navigate it to better place.

Although, President Jonathan, recently, made the observation that Nigeria’s current economic policies and indices show that Nigerian is a favorable investments destination, despite the terrorists’ threat to the survival of the nation. The report carried in the dailies said the president represented by Vice-President Namadi Sambo, made the observation in his address during the opening ceremony of the Honorary International Investors’ Council (HIIC) meeting which held at the Presidential Villa. The HIIC is coordinated by Baroness Lynda Chalker of Wallasey, United Kingdom. Which policies and indices is the president referring to? What special roles do capital investment and foreign investors play in transforming an agricultural/artisan economy like Nigeria’s? From all indications, it shows that President Jonathan’s economic team is being economical with the truth on the true state of the economy and has not been honest enough to tell him that his

administration has missed the mark. They should be sincere enough to tell him the bitter truth and on what he must do to achieve rapid technological growth with a view to also achieving programmed industrialization.

It is a well known fact that Nigeria’s economy have been retrogressing, though the Nigerian government has shamelessly been announcing high GDP-growth (or growth without any positive impact on the economy or small growth) since 1999. Jonathan should not announce this self-deluding type of growth anymore. It is very sad that President Jonathan, one saddled with the responsibility of reshaping the economy to put food on the tables of ordinary Nigerians has been announcing this type of growth for years and now claims that it is a great achievement in spite of the threat of Boko Haram to the existence of Nigeria. It makes one to wonder whether the President is not a Nigerian or at most in Nigeria but has lost touch with realities. Many even went on to ask on the value of growth without development. Citizens want that growth that will create jobs for the teaming unemployed youth or improve productivity to enhance people’s economic wellbeing. Is the

announcement of high GDP-growth a political gain for the president or another campaign tool meant to use and deceive Nigerians again? As the question in everybody’s lips was whether they will eat GDP. President Jonathan should realize that the threat of poor economic management to the existence of Nigeria is by far higher than Boko Haram. Indeed it can be argued that the poor management of the Nigerian economy since 1999 produced MEND, OPC, Boko Haram of the type that is unleashing it’s terror on innocent Nigerians.

Another shocking news yesterday was a story that emanated from the presidential villa after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting where the federal government without due regard to local content policy which has been given wide publicity approved a whopping N9.2billion for the purchase of clean cook stoves and wonder bags for rural women under the National Clean Cooking Scheme.

According them, the wonder bag is a non-electric slow cooker invented by Sarah Collins, a South African eco-entrepreneur, who came up with the idea six years ago during a power cut, when she decided to keep her dinner cooking by surrounding the pan with cushions.

Supervising Minister of Information, Dr. Nurudeen Muhammed; Minister of Environment, Mrs. Lawrecia Mallam; and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Muhammed, while briefed State House correspondents at the end of the meeting presided over by Vice President Namadi Sambo said the N9.2billion inclusive of Value Added Tax was approved for the procurement of 750,000 units of clean cook stove and 18,000 wonder bags. It was said the stoves are expected to be delivered by Messrs Integra Renewable Energy Services Limited within a period of 12 weeks.

Mohammed noted that the stoves which will be assembled locally will provide jobs to Nigerians among other benefits. The minister said, “The National Clean Cooking Scheme is an aggressive drive to engender clean cooking culture amongst the poor rural women, to reduce and possibly eliminate cooking with solid fossil which is detrimental to health.

This action depicts a consuming economy which is being encouraged by the same government that is claiming to create jobs for the jobless through encouraging manufacturing that will make the nation a producing economy. If Nigerian government could go all the way to South Africa to just to import cooking stoves, it means that President Jonathan’s mantra to encourage and promote indigenous companies and small businesses was just a gimmick and a ploy to trick Nigerians into voting a government that will export wealthy and import poverty into the country. We want that government that will put people before any of its programme, create opportunities and spread prosperity. From the look of things and given its past performance which is dismal in all ramifications, I doubt if this government will be able to rescue the economy if given another mandate of four more years.

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