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Sunday, 28 July 2013

Mid-term report: Jonathan has failed, Nigerians say

President Goodluck Jonathan
Over 60 per cent of Nigerians say the president has failed in his first two years as elected president.
A vast majority of Nigerians have rejected the claims contained in President Goodluck Jonathan’s mid-term performance report that he has out-performed his predecessors and has superintended over a vast improvement in Nigeria’s fortunes.
Perhaps distraught by growing unemployment, insecurity, worsening corruption, and poor provision of electricity, many Nigerians have scored the president’s performance abysmally low.
In a PREMIUM TIMES poll to gauge people’s opinions on Mr. Jonathan’s performance after two years as Nigeria’s elected president, a total of 1544 people participated in the poll that lasted a month.
How would you grade President Goodluck Jonathan's mid-term performance
  • F ( Failure < 40%) (61%, 943 Votes)
  • D (40 - 50%) (15%, 234 Votes)
  • C (50-60 %) (9%, 142 Votes)
  • A (70% and above) (8%, 131 Votes)
  • B (60- 70%) (7%, 94 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,544

A total of 61 per cent of the participants (three in five) said Mr. Jonathan has failed in his job as the leader of the country. The remaining 39 per cent (two in five) say the president has not failed, and gave the president a pass with various scores.
Fifteen per cent of the respondents gave the president a “D” – a score of between 40 and 50 per cent performance appraisal. Nine per cent rated his performance as a “C” – a score between 50-60 per cent while 7 per cent said he has done well enough to be given a “B” – a score of between 60 and 70 per cent.
Eight per cent of the respondents (about 1 in 10) said he has performed excellently and gave him an “A”, which is a score of between 70 per cent and above.
Not a unique poll
The PREMIUM TIMES poll is not unique in showing that the president, who prior to and during the 2011 presidential election enjoyed an overwhelming support of Nigerians, is fast losing his popularity rating; the NOI Polls had also recorded a steady drop in the president’s approval rating.
In March, According to NOI, the president’s approval rating dropped by 8 points to be followed by a further 4 point drop in April. However, his rating marginally improved by 2 points in May and remained unchanged in June.
Corruption
While trying to explain his administration’s effort in combating corruption, a menace majority of Nigerians identify as a major hindrance to the country’s development, Mr. Jonathan said in his mid-term report that his “administration is addressing and containing the challenge of corruption with the required urgency and commitment. The government is determined to make Nigeria a key global economic power, and therefore recognizes that it cannot tolerate any degree of corruption.”
This appears contrary to the reality expressed by Nigerians and observers of the country. Last December, global corruption watchdog, Transparency International (TI), ranked Nigeria as the 35th most corrupt country in the world. Also, in early July, TI, in its “Global Corruption Barometer 2013”, said to be the biggest-ever public opinion survey on corruption, noted that 75 per cent of Nigerians say the government’s effort at fighting corruption is ineffective.
Some decisions taken by Mr. Jonathan have, unfortunately, helped to strengthen this perception. Last March, the president granted state pardon to the former Governor of Bayelsa State, and a convicted money launderer, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, who stole billions of Naira of public funds. The pardon sparked both local and international condemnations while the presidency has also refused to honour a request by the U.K. that Mr. Alamieyeseigha be extradited to face money laundering charges there. The former Bayelsa governor jumped bail in the U.K. in 2005 after he was arrested for money laundering.
It is also believed that the president has shielded members of his kitchen cabinet who have been accused of corruption. Prominent among them is Diezani Alison-Madueke, the petroleum minister. Mrs. Alison-Madueke has several allegations of financial malfeasance against her as well as supervising one of the largest multi-participant heist: in the 2011 petrol subsidy scam; but still retains her position.
Also in August 2011, the Jonathan administration facilitated the transfer of almost $1.1 billion to convicted felon and former petroleum minister, Dan Etete, for the murky Malabu Oil deal. The deal is already a major item of investigation both in Nigeria and the U.K.
Worsening Security
Another major concern to majority of Nigerians is the worsening security situation across Nigeria.
In the 2012 and 2013 budgets, nearly N1 trillion was budgeted for national security respectively. In spite of these huge allocations, ethnic militias have been on the rise. Armed robbery and kidnapping are at an epidemic level, while crude oil theft has also risen to an unprecedented level in the Niger Delta. A 2012 U.S. government report on terrorism ranks Boko Haram as the second deadliest terrorist group in the world. With over 1, 800 people killed in 525 attacks.
Until the declaration of a State of Emergence in some North Eastern states, Boko Haram more or less operated unrestrained in several local governments. The insurgents constituted themselves into law in three local governments replacing the national flag with and chasing out symbol of state authority such as the police.
Some of the atrocities of the sect and other armed groups have continued unrestrained despite the emergency rule. The army has also been accused of carrying out extra-judicial killings as well as destroying the belongings of civilians in its operations in the north east. What is now referred to as the Baga Massacre is a bloody reminder of abuse perpetrated by the military. On April 16, the army, in a border town of Baga, allegedly killed about 200 people and destroyed around 4000 houses. The army has denied it was involved in any extra-judicial killings.
Economic crisis
“Poverty rates remain high in Nigeria, particularly in the rural areas,” the 2013 World Bank’s Nigeria Economic report stated.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) puts the rate of unemployment in Nigeria at 24 per cent. With about 1.8 million young Nigerians joining the labour market annually, youth unemployment is believed to be far worse. Some analyst puts it at close to 50 per cent.
Early this month, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, expressed her frustration at the seeming intractable problem of unemployment when she confessed of having sleepless nights over the issue.
“In fact, some people ask, ‘What keeps you awake at night, with regard to this economy?’ I say it is the issue of job creation. And I know this is what keeps Mr. President awake at night as well,” she said.
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