The problems facing Nigeria are huge. They are also many.
The solutions are not easy to define because for over 50 years the country has been neglected as successive governments looted and stole just the way they liked.
Both military and civilian administrations in Nigeria neglected the people and plundered the country like emperors and tropical gangsters.
There is no federal government in Nigeria that has successfully planned for the future or made long-term plans to ensure national growth and development.
In 2011 Nigerians followed their minds while neglecting the power of deep cerebral thinking as they voted massively for Mr. Jonathan. The votes-Nigerians claimed-was not for the PDP.
Unless something is done in the days ahead the next 4 years may add to the previous 12 as the worst years that Nigerians alive have ever seen.
Security is at its lowest ebb since the end of the civil war. Terrorism is fully established and Boko Haram can take Borno, Kaduna and even Niger States if it so desired.
Food has never been so expensive in the history of Nigeria. The prices are increasing daily and the purchasing power of the Naira remains low as its value continues to tumble.
The worst express roads and highways in the world are still in Nigeria. One Minister cried at Benin-Ore road but she could not repair 0.1km of the stretch. One former Minister of Works and Housing is from Benin and his cerebrum could not connect to his nerves to get the simple messages: repair, build, restore, maintain.
The chronicle of Nigeria as a failed country is also very evident in the education sector, health department and area of infrastructure.
Lack of housing schemes and absence of water for majority of the population joined with the high cost of food in making Nigeria a country inhabited by more than 90m impoverished citizens. This, though hardly spoken about widely, is probably the worst man-made tragedy of our time.
With the near complete absence of state-supplied electricity Nigeria is among the worst places on earth inhabited by humans. We near Somalia, so precariously!
In addition to a President, Nigeria has Ministers, (including the unnecessary, wasteful and redundant Ministers of States), Lawmakers, Governors, Commissioners and even Councilors. For all the PDP dominated years, very little has been done to touch the people’s lives.
Nigeria has been left in the hands of Special Advisers, Special Assistants, Expert Facebookers and PR Consultants. Nigeria probably runs the most expensive government in the world and nothing is in the pipeline to change the status quo. Looting continua..! It is also not a joke that a governor in Nigeria appointed a special assistant for Lagos Matter and another special assistant for Lagos Affairs.
The ordinary citizens and people of Nigeria are suffering like mad as billions of Naira are wasted daily on side attractions including one useless talk of tenure elongation.
A 3-month genuine anticorruption program to arrest and prosecute all corrupt people in and out of government will avail more than the senseless debate about tenure elongation. Such a genuine adventure will settle for all time the question of accountability and probity. It will make elections less adventurous.
But all the governments in Nigeria including the government of Jonathan have been dominated by corrupt people many of whom have been recycled. This cycle of idiocy makes it impossible to fight corruption but relatively easier to distract with irrelevant issues like duration of looting tenures.
But in any case the government of Jonathan has promised to do wonders. It promised a lot during the election campaigns in 2010 and early 2011.
The office of the Nigerian president is too powerful. It’s like what the Yorubas called Kabiyesi (no one can question you?). The Nigerian presidency offers room for both laziness and lackadaisical attitude.
At this stage of post-election 2011 what should Mr. Jonathan be doing?
His schedule should be taking him round all the Federal Ministries in Nigeria and probably all the states of the Federation for the fulfillments of electoral promises.
In the Ministry of Transport he should be commissioning several kilometers and stretches of federal roads and rail lines all around Nigeria. It is very important that such projects are everlasting projects with regular maintenance included in the contracts.
In the Ministry of Education he should be restoring all the Federal schools including the Federal Universities. The competition will be to ensure that all Government Universities are more efficient than Private Universities that have been established with looted funds or collections from congregations.
In the Ministry of Water Resources Jonathan should be using his knowledge of science to work together with the Minister he has appointed. Millions of Nigerians are living without access to pipe-borne water. Water-borne diseases and malaria are giant killers of Nigerian children and adults too.
I remember that in Yar Adua’s village women fetched dirty water from deep wells and they sold the water. They are still probably doing that while Sambo is likely drinking imported water.
There are quite a number of natural sources of water in Nigeria and the south coast is lineated by the Atlantic Ocean. Clean and affordable water should flow in every home in Nigeria and 4 years is good enough to accomplish that.
In Ogoniland gradual poisoning of the population commenced since 1959 or so through polluted water and soil and when the full effects will become manifested, extremely poor Nigerians from the extremely rich oil fields of the Niger-Delta will face one of the worst human-induced health crises the world has seen.
Jonathan is asking the UN to help rid his region (Niger-Delta Ogoniland) of the devastation of oil spillage. A report stated that it will take about 3 decades to clear the mess. It has taken more than 5 decades to create it.
Why ask the UN? What about our EIA specialists in Nigeria? They should be on the next flight to Abuja and then the next one to Ogoniland to start working. Sincerity of purpose is the keyword. UN will not clean Nigeria. Nigerians will cleanup Nigeria when people like Jonathan start putting square pegs in square holes rather than buying 3 presidential jets for one person in a nation where poverty wage is negotiated.
What has Jonathan thought about concerning providing houses and flats for Nigerians? What is the function of the Federal Ministry of Housing? When was the last time that the Federal Government of Nigeria embarked on aggressive and rapid housing programs?
What is wrong with the Federal Government working together with private construction companies and well established banks to ensure that decent flats and apartments become affordable and accessible by 2014 or 2015 as Jonathan’s parting gifts to Nigerians?
The number of Nigerian politicians and public figures dying in foreign hospitals is increasing. This is a disgrace I am so ashame. The Babangidas and the Yar Aduas of this world know better by now that health is wealth and that having quick access to quality health services is very important. But they were so daft and myopic not to make such services available to themselves at home in Nigeria.
One hopes that the sad omen will not hit the Jonathans. It is now time to do something once and for all about our health institutions from the community levels to the highest spot. Our University Hospitals must also be revived immediately. We can’t wait for the next state-sponsored treatment abroad before we open this discussion again.
All the things that take Nigerians abroad for treatment including the twisted ankle of Mr. Atiku should be highlighted and corrected in the next 24 calendar months at most. Even the children with holes in the heart should have corrective surgeries in Nigeria and not in India. How long shall we express inferior intelligence by the things we do wrong? Just how long?
I can go on with what Mr. Jonathan should be doing. It is not the least that he must work together with the Minister of Youth, Labour and Productivity to ensure that the problems of employment and national productivity are tackled and solved. It will be recklessness not to re-introduced government-organised farm settlement schemes across Nigeria under the control of states or regions. Cocoa, groundnut, oil-palm and cassava must hit the export again.
The Minister of Natural resources under Jonathan must have his or her hands full with the type of promises that Jonathan made. Has anything progressive been done in the last 2-3 months in the coal and steel industry for example?
Most of the things above will not work in the absence of electricity. Kaduna State Governor Patrick Yakowa said that power will be constant by 2015. We have heard that before. Mr. Jonathan must make electric power supply a priority and ensure that we light up Nigeria by the end of his first year in office. If this means destroying the generator importers cartel, so be it!
Mr. Jonathan has a moral obligation to keep permanent tabs on all the ministries under his rank. Nigeria must move away from the textbook-forms of administration where Ministers read out their plans every 4 years from what they have read in books or on Google and do nothing after the recitations.
Mr. Jonathan took a record time to appoint his cabinet. After wasting our time he cannot place people into positions and let them do what they like. What Nigerian politicians like is to do nothing. They love to steal and loot.
We cannot afford that carelessness any more. Mr. Jonathan should not oversee another 4 years of wanton looting and he must not orchestrate one. He must put his house and office in order.
Mr. Jonathan should get out of the comfort of Aso Rock. He can’t spend 4 years meeting people and holding endless discussions. When is he going to hit the roads? Four years is such a long time in human existence. Some people’s lives were changed in 4 seconds, some in 4 minutes.
Nigerians said they voted for Mr. Jonathan and not for the PDP. I’m still laughing. It is left for Mr. Jonathan to prove Nigerians right or wrong. 1999-2007 was a complete waste of our lives. We became a GSM society. And so what? The world has since moved on. Our debts were cancelled. Where does that leave us now? Abacha’s loots were partially recovered. But the Nigerian bookkeepers under Obasanjo stated that the money was spent on projects executed a few years before the loots were recovered. The chief bookkeeper is back. A country of abracadabra..!
Even if Mr. Jonathan is a new magician he will never achieve half of the lies he promised during his nationwide campaigns. Those are elections jives and they are full of deceits and thoughtless moments. The greatest legacy Jonathan can leave behind as his single tenure runs a countdown is to ensure that as much as possible is done out of his debts of promises.
He must get somewhere commendable in the race and targets he set for himself. The task before and after The Jonathan Era are huge. Nigeria definitely needs a transformation borne out of honesty and patriotism.
I cannot end this essay without stating my support for regional governments. Instead of tenure elongation what we should be seeking on the long-term are constitutional changes tied to eradication of corruption, devolution of power, regional productivity, growth and development.