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Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Will Jonathan win a second term?


by Bayo Olupohunda
jonathan 2015The handwriting is on the wall. The bold imprints are seen in the failings of this administration. Now the dashed expectations of the Jonathan’s presidency all seem to be leading to one predictable end — he may not be re-elected in 2015. There are strong reasons to believe that his fairy tale journey to the Presidency may end in his first term. Apart from the unfolding infighting threatening to tear his party apart, President Goodluck Jonathan appears to have squandered the goodwill that ensured his becoming Nigeria’s first minority president. There is a depressing sense in which one cannot just imagine that this country would endure another term of this administration for another four years in office ending in 2019. This will be suicidal. Even now, 2015 looks too distant into the future in the eyes of ordinary Nigerians. In 2011, the president won the election by playing the underdog card.
The 2011 presidential election was won because ordinary Nigerians insisted on voting en masse for the country’s first minority president — the man who said he walked barefooted as a child; the man who also became the symbol of an end to the North’s bragging right to power since Nigeria’s independence from British rule. In 2015, Jonathan will not have the luxury of leveraging on the sentiments that swept him to power in his first term. Now, he will have to look for other reasons. Except that this time, he will not be able to whip up emotions based on his poverty as a child. His ethnic background will also not matter. If he does, no one will believe him again. Rather in 2015, the President will be confronted with the record of his performance. He will have to answer hard questions about his first term in office. And if truth be told, if the present situation in the polity is anything to go by, President Jonathan will be heading back to his hometown in Otuoke come May 29, 2015.
The President will not stand a chance against a formidable opposition with the right candidate in a free and fair election. But even at that, it still does not matter because it appears any type of candidate will still beat this President. His performance so far makes him vulnerable to defeat in a free and fair election. He just has not lived up to the expectations of Nigerians. And I suspect the President and his party are in for a surprise. Perhaps, for the first time, Nigerians will witness the power of their votes. The incumbency factor will not matter in 2015 because the President is poised to lose the election. But President Jonathan should not blame anybody for his predicament if he loses. He has so far been the architect of his own misfortune as a President. He had no excuse not to perform. Let’s face it, the President has fallen short of expectations that Nigerians had of his presidency.
There is no better expression to measure his performance since 2011. For a President that came into office to have squandered the enormous goodwill and support from Nigerians is evidence of opportunities gone awry; of hopes deferred. The only people who will support the President are the army of praise singers from his ethnic group who have been singing his praises to no end. And this brings me to the attitude of the so-called Niger Deltan activists and leaders. The leaders of the region have been so disappointing to say the least. This attitude of it-is-either-Jonathan-for-a-second term-or-we-will-all-perish does their ethnic group no good. It is even an embarrassment to the office of the President. Why do they act as if Jonathan is the President of only the Niger Delta? Why are they threatening to bring Nigeria down if Jonathan does not get a second term? Did the President emerge in his first term only by the region’s votes? Can threats make a non-performing President stay in office in perpetuity? The culture of entitlement that pervades the region is the reason why the Niger Delta might still be backward even if Jonathan gets a second term. They should know that it was the support of Nigerians that got the President a first term. Nigerians thus have the right to demand performance from him. And right now, the situation in our country today does not look good. In 2015, President Jonathan will have to present his scorecard.
Nigerians will ask him why corruption which he promised to tackle in his inaugural address has become a hydra-headed monster in his administration. He will have to explain why his administration has not so secured a single conviction in spite of massive corruption in the land. Nigerians will in 2015 ask this President why all the cases of corruption involving individuals in his government have all died a natural death. The President will explain why all the anti-corruption agencies have all become toothless bulldogs. It has become glaring that President Jonathan has lost the trust and goodwill of Nigerians. The dominant view of Nigerians is that this government has failed. The impunity that has become a culture in the country today is because the president has not been decisive in the fight against corruption.
That is why all the agencies of government have been left to their own devices. The culture of impunity has been so pervasive. Take the power sector for example. The President has not arrested the unending conundrum that has dogged the unbundling of the sector. This should not continue beyond 2015. Meanwhile, the power situation continues to get worse. The 2015 elections should be about performance and the President has a lot of questions to answer about his stewardship unless something drastic happens between now and the election date.
The President also has to explain why million of Nigerian youths cannot find jobs. All we hear from this government is how the economy is growing at an unbelievable rate. Pray, how can the economy grow while millions are unemployed? What kind of voodoo economy is that? Didn’t the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy say the last time that the unemployment figures give her sleepless night? What further evidence do Nigerians need that this government is not providing an enabling environment for job creation? The millions of youths who had hoped in this government will ask hard questions in 2015. The security situation in the country is a cause for grave concern. The other day, about 40 pupils were murdered by suspected terrorists in Yobe State. As I write, nobody has been apprehended for perpetrating the dastardly act.
The Jos crisis continues to claim more lives. In many parts of the country, lives and property are not secure. Yet, the government blames everybody else except itself. How can a government whose primary duty is to safeguard lives and property fail woefully in performing the same duty? Meanwhile, the country also lags behind in all development indexes. The argument advanced by the supporters of this government is that our problems are not created by President Jonathan. But has the administration demonstrated the political will to tackle the problems head on? Does government not exist to solve problems no matter how old they have existed?
However, there has been some good news lately. The President recently inaugurated the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. Let’s just hope the project will not become abandoned like the previous attempts. The federal roads across the country are also said to be getting the attention they deserve. This is not forgetting the ongoing rehabilitation in the nation’s airports. But all this will pale into insignificance when compared to the dashed expectations of this government. It is for these reasons that Jonathan may lose in 2015. All things being equal, anyway.

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