The coordinating minister of the economy, Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala, has at different occasions characteristically reeled out mouth watering propaganda of bogus achievements of the Jonathan administration ostensibly to confuse the gullible and launder the image of the failing administration. All the achievements she gives are hanging in the air as they are nowhere to be seen, touched of felt by the governed except few.
The SURE-P project meant to impact positively on the down trodden from proceeds of last increase in fuel prices is today a replica of its self as corruption has swallowed its best part. Ngozi knows that the economic success of any progressing nation is not measured by the number of billionaires it produces through corrupt practices with privately owned jets but by the number of jobs created for the needy for a better life. “If the poor are awake because of hunger, they rich cannot sleep because the poor are awake”.
In its desperation to stabilize the banking industry, government bailed the banks from liquidation but failed to bail the less privileged from marginalization and inept leadership enmeshed indifferent styles of corrupt practices without solution at sight.
For instance, in Kano, Lagos and Kaduna alone, over five million people have lost their jobs to the collapse of the manufacturing industries they were making a living. Mega contracts awarded by government for infrastructures are awarded to foreign companies with limited local linkages. The technical, managerial and financial control of those companies, are in the hands of shylock expatriates with their Nigeria’s fronts as if there are no qualified Nigerians in every aspect of human endeavor enjoy such patronage. If those qualified Nigerians are not tested and tried here in their country, when and where will they ever get the requisite experience to prove their expertise? Can one be a capitalist without the capital? It is not surprising as the government does not give a damn.
Ngozi says the economy is growing and the most stable in Africa but is the so called wealth being created and over trumpeted not from oil and gas, banks and telecommunication? These are sectors that hardly employ reasonable number of people that is known to every person. Who is then deceiving who? After 15 years in power, PDP government has woefully failed to provide good roads in most parts of the country; electricity supply is the worst in Africa as there is no single city in Nigeria that enjoys 24/7 steady water supply. Security is now at the mercy of vigilante groups while insurgency thrives with over 200 Chibok school girls still in custody of hoodlums without convincing solution of rescue. The fresh air promised Nigerians in 2011 by President Jonathan has been polluted with insecurity, kidnappings, rape, ethno-religious conflicts, cultism and corruption. The promised fresh air has since been polluted by those that promised it to Nigerians for cheap votes. In 2015, it may be heaven on earth for those that can still be deceived.
Nigeria under Jonathan’s watch is a dumping ground for substandard and fake products, as dubious foreigners with unscrupulous Nigerians channel every fake product to our markets including fake drugs, second-hand cars, electronics, textiles, clothing, soaks and even underwear and shoes. Fortunately for those dubious merchants, only few Nigerians have the capacity to afford brand new things as majority of the people are forced by the harsh economy to patronize those substandard and fake goods.
New businesses are not created because banks interest rates are prohibitive and loans processes are frustrating. The catalyst for change for stable economy is the middle class that has been eliminated in Nigeria. The citizenry is forced to either join the wagon of the, few super-rich class or join the club of the impoverished battling the odds to eke a living.
Since independence, Nigeria has always been described as a country of potentials but when will those potentials be exploited and beneficial to all? How can we continue on that path of trial and error, experimenting with the economy and security? Did the PDP promise to remove fuel subsidy or to continue to pay its hidden financiers that enjoy the subsidy? What stops the Jonathan administration from putting the refineries back to full production for net exportation of refined products than importers of our refined product?
Fifteen years of PDP administration, manufacturing industries are dead, no meaningful progress in agriculture, no decent and affordable healthcare, no sincere employment opportunities, no security to lives and property, education has collapsed and service delivery is near absent. In fact, under Jonathan, there is no clear direction of where the nation is heading to other than the rocks. Miscreants, sycophants and crooks seem to have taken over the administration with clowns trumpeting the success of a junk transformation agenda.
What President Jonathan ought to do with the remaining days of his mandate is to strategize and face the challenges head-on. He should flush out the undesirables from his cabinet, probe their stewardship and assemble a formidable team to assist him exit honorably in 2015. He should not succumb to ridiculous issues like where he hails from and faith. Nigerians are tired and fed-up with PDP style of leadership that is full of deceit and greed. Unfortunately for Nigeria, the Jonathan administration is rated globally as very incompetent, rudderless and clueless that deserves to be changed.
Sanusi Muhammad was Editor, Bauchi based weekly, The Trumpeter/Kakaki