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Published On: Wed, Sep 10th, 2014

Transformation Agenda: Is it really effective?

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President Goodluck JonathanBy Ochiaka Ugwu

Not long ago, a legal luminary, Prof. Ben Nwabueze (SAN), took a swipe at the transformation agenda of the President Goodluck Jonathan administration, describing it as weak. He said there was nothing in the agenda to suggest the transformation of the country from the moral decadence into which it had sunk.

Nwabueze, who spoke on the theme: “Roadmap to Political Stability, Progress and Unity in Nigeria” at a National Political Summit in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, said: “It is, therefore, a misconception to call Jonathan’s agenda a transformation agenda.”

Also, Nwabueze, who is the coordinator of Project Nigeria, Nigeria Consensus Group and Citizens Advocacy Group, stressed that Nigeria was a wobbly state in part because it stood on a weak foundation with the current administration.

“The transformation agenda is inadequate for another, more fundamental reason. It has absolutely nothing to do with, not a word to say about, the transformation of our society from the moral decadence into which it has sunk.

“No agenda, in the context of Nigeria, is worth being called a transformation agenda which does not aim at the moral and ethical transformation of our society. It focus must embrace the entire society or nation, not the economy alone.

“What this country desperately needs is national or social transformation, not just economic transformation.

“I can think of nothing more disastrous for this country than an enhanced economic growth and development built or superimposed upon a morally and ethnically decadent society, a society bereft of a sense of justice, probity, integrity, accountability, civic virtues and nobles values,” he said.

This brings one to the activities on the build up to 2015 election. It is crystal clear that President Goodluck Jonathan’s men have jumped gun in the 2015 race. Although the President is yet to speak on his political future, his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has held some “unity rallies”. Such rallies were held in Bauchi, Kano and Enugu before they were suspended, following criticisms. After a brief lull, the campaigns have reopened, with new groups like, Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN) which has been preaching the gospel of Jonathan’s re-election bid. Ironically another pro-Jonathan group, GEJITES without regard to the suffering of the abducted Chibok Girls are busy displaying customised vehicles and giant electronic billboards at the Unity Fountain in Abuja, where the #BringBackOurGirls campaigners have been meeting to demand the quick release of the abductees.

These expensive billboards are believed to be meant to cast a shadow on the protest. It makes one to conclude that these people lack human feelings and conscience making one to conclude that if the travails of these girls suffering in the hands of their abductors for no fault of theirs don’t move them nothing else will ever do no matter how heinous the act may be. Their action has been viewed as an attempt by the pro-Jonathan groups to take the shine off the protests.

As far as Nigerians are concerned, the Unity Fountain is a public place and it should be open to everybody that wants to make use for the good of humanity.

Nigerians watching the event have chided the Jonathan campaigners for their action and Mr. President as well for looking the other way. They are even wondering if they are aware of the position of the electoral law on the processes. An act, the former Governor of old Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa described as flouting the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) rules which says that nobody should start campaign until the electoral body says so.

Although, PDP in defence of Mr. President said it had nothing to do with the campaign by the group. But it makes one to wonder why Mr. President has not stopped them as he can’t pretend not seeing the billboards anytime he goes to Transcorp Hilton Hotel for function which is the beacon of activities in the capital city. Most of these groups have been linked to presidency which suggests official corruption.

Similarly, how can the presidency seek to make Nigerians believe that corruption is not a culture that has become an everyday life today? How can these desperate agents attempt to trivialize the monumental unemployment situation in the country by painting a bloomy picture of it? How can these groups fail to see that the people are being annihilated by criminals in the garb of insurgents or militants? Why do these paid praise-singers want Nigerians to believe that the power situation has improved? Yes, from no light to darkness at best! Even the privatization of PHCN touted by the present administration as the elixir and cure-all solution to the epileptic power supply situation in the country has failed to yield expected results. It was also revealed that less than 10 percent of privatized institutions in Nigeria are working while others have gone through asset stripping. Ridiculously, the government is, at the moment, raising loans to assist the investors in the power sector to run their businesses. Yet there is no let-up in payment for darkness across the country in the name of increased electricity tariffs and fixed charge.

After 148 days, school girls are still in captivity. All they at the Presidency have continued to do is spread the gospel of “BringBackJonathan” to continue with the so called transformation agenda. They tell Nigerians that all is well when Nigeria is virtually under attack from insurgency to poverty and corruption.

However, if the pace of economic growth and infrastructural development of Nigeria in the past is anything to go by, then one will conclude that the administration has lost focus.  In the past, it would seem that Nigerians saw all kinds of economic and ethical policies and visions aimed at putting their country on the right footing as a real economic and regional power in the world, from National Development Plans to the Indigenization Policies and now the Transformation Agenda. We also heard of huge capital mapped out for the establishment and provision of national railway lines, shipping lines, power supply, Inland Waterways, Road networks, refineries, Iron and Steel Industries, educational and health schemes, etc.

But unfortunately, the more we industrialize the less industrialize we become; the more we try to localize our businesses, the more foreign companies take firm hold of our local markets; we started importing more food than before the days of Operation Feed the Nation in contrast to the claims by Agric Minister, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina that Nigeria will soon become food self sufficient. We are spending more in public service than before the days of Austerity Measures; ethics and moral decadence have taken hold of our national life more than before; we are more indiscipline now; we are a thousand times more corrupt today than before the days of EFCC and ICPC. In effect, therefore, our policy formulation and implementation have woefully failed us – the more we enunciate them the more we achieve their exact opposite. What a transformation! Today, in spite of these policies, Nigeria is still a non-industrialized nation, the country can still not feed its populace and is a huge food importer, its domestic market is still dominated by foreigners, its technology still rudimentary, the country is the eight most corrupt nation in the world, the country is still yearning for foreign investment and not investing abroad, and the poverty rate is at 67% height.

In addition, today Nigeria has no national Air Carrier, no national Shipping line, no functional railway line, no power supply, no functional refineries, no Iron and Steel Industries, no good road network and no Inland Waterways. All of these have been attempted by this government with colossal amounts of billions of dollars expended. It would seem that virtually all the transformation agenda policies are today monumental failures. Hence, over four years of this administration, Nigeria is still stagnantly underdeveloped, with all the attendant traits, illiteracy and ignorance, poverty and deprivation, famine and starvation, epidemics and health crises, child mortality and low life expectancy, corruption and dishonesty in public service, weak institutions and bad leadership, decaying infrastructure and moral decadence, crime and violence, civil unrest and electoral fraud, or simply outright threat of state failure. We are no longer living but just existing.

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