By Femi Aribisala
I WALKED into the east wing of The Palms shopping center in Lekki, Lagos (popularly known as Shoprite); solely to be buttoned-holed by a person making an attempt to promote me a Honda Civic parked contained in the corridor. His gross sales pitch was that it was the primary completely assembled Honda in Nigeria; constructed utterly to Nigerian specs. For instance, in contrast to the classical Honda, the Nigeria mannequin has a excessive clearance, being aware of the potholes in Nigerian roads.
President Goodluck Jonathan speaks throughout his go to to the Nigerian Inventory Change (NSE) in Lagos, on March 12, 2015. President Jonathan visited the Nigerian Inventory Change (NSE) on March 12, and launched a brand new on-line cellular platform, X-Gen, designed to extend native funding. The platform is targetted at growing the variety of native buyers within the nation and to allow about 30 tens of millions home buyers have entry to the market. AFP PHOTO
I had no intention of shopping for a brand new automotive, least of all a Honda Accord. However, I couldn’t fail to recognise that what he was touting is likely one of the many achievements of the Jonathan administration. Regardless of the Buhari administration’s day by day vilification of Jonathan, the achievements of his authorities proceed to talk for themselves.
Jonathan put in place a coverage that offered zero import-obligation for utterly knocked down automobiles; whereas discouraging the importation of already assembled automobiles; previous or model new, by the imposition of heavy import-duties. This propelled automotive producers to arrange meeting-crops in Nigeria that present jobs for craftsmen, technicians, technologists, engineers, and different professionals throughout the worth chain. The federal government additionally made it a coverage to patronize regionally-made and assembled automobiles.
The result is that native automotive-meeting is again in Nigeria; actually risen from the lifeless. Huge auto giants, together with Peugeot, Nissan, Volkswagen, Kia, Hyundai and apparently Honda, now both assemble, or totally manufacture, their automobiles, SUVs, vans and buses at numerous places in Nigeria. As well as, Nigeria now has an indigenous automotive-manufacturing firm, Innoson, which isn’t solely promoting regionally however already dabbling in exports.
Limits of denigration
Nowadays, probably the most discernible coverage of the brand new APC authorities is to assault all the things Jonathan. Nevertheless, propaganda can solely masks the reality within the brief-time period. It can’t destroy the reality within the medium to lengthy-time period. It doesn’t matter what APC traducers say, the very fact stays that Goodluck Jonathan was an exceptional president by Nigerian requirements.
Now’s the time to re-affirm this and to ask a extra dispassionate reappraisal of the details, away from the lies and fabrications of the election marketing campaign. It could actually not be argued right now that anybody defending Jonathan is a PDP contractor; a favorite line of defence of Buharimaniacs. Neither can Jonathan defenders be accused any longer of wanting to switch Reuben Abati because the president’s spokesman. “You are able to do nothing towards the reality however for the reality.” It doesn’t matter what the APC continues to broadcast concerning the Jonathan administration, the reality can’t be silenced.
Fashola’s gaffe: After six months of stasis, Buhari lastly unfurled his ministers in probably the most anti-climatic trend. These lengthy-awaited saints and angels turned out to be principally Santa Claus.
Babatunde Fashola, former governor of Lagos State, is now the minister of Energy, Works and Housing. At his maiden information convention, tagged grandiloquently: “Setting the Agenda for Delivering Change,” the identical Fashola who spent the election marketing campaign operating down the Jonathan administration shocked his viewers by revealing that, quite than embark on new street development tasks in 2016, he would solely endeavour to construct on Jonathan’s achievements.
Wittingly or unwittingly, Fashola gave the mislead APC propaganda that Jonathan’s years have been wasted years? If Jonathan was as incompetent because the APC would have us consider, why might the social gathering not launch its personal superior nationwide street-constructing plan, as Buhari had promised within the heady days of the 2015 election marketing campaign? Why depend on allegedly sub-commonplace PDP foundations?
Equally, moderately than jettison Jonathan’s energy-sector reforms that APC derided volubly in the course of the marketing campaign, Fashola revealed that the federal government might be persevering with with them. Jonathan accomplished 10 energy-crops in Nigeria inside three years; the primary and highest of such document by any Nigerian president dwelling or lifeless. The APC had accused Jonathan of awarding the facility tasks to PDP cronies and financiers who’re incompetent and poor. However relatively than revoke these contracts, Fashola preached continuity. He additionally admitted that Jonathan‘s transformation within the energy sector is above 50%, and that his job can be to construct on this achievement.
Jonathan’s transformation agenda
Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, additionally had the identical evaluation of Jonathan’s achievements with regard to rail transportation. He pledged to finish all ongoing rail-restoration tasks across the nation began by Jonathan; in addition to prolong them to all elements of the nation.
Jonathan inaugurated the Lagos-Kano rail line and the Port Harcourt-Enugu mass transit practice. He additionally launched into the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line. Moreover, Jonathan’s tasks embrace the Abuja-Kaduna quick practice line; the 322km Lagos-Benin Metropolis line, 500km Benin-Abakiliki line, 673km Benin-Obudu Cattle Ranch line, 615km Lagos-Abuja excessive velocity line, 520km Zaria-Birnin- Koni line, 533km Ega nyi-Otukpo and the Ega nyi-Abuja line.
Because of Jonathan, 5 million Nigerians at the moment are carried by rail, relative to the a million earlier than he got here. An estimated seven hundred,000 passengers are projected to experience the Abuja Mild Rail (ALR) each day. Solely just lately, KPMG listed Nigeria’s excessive velocity rail undertaking proposed by the Jonathan administration as one of many international prime one hundred world-class infrastructures. The rail is predicted to attach Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Warri, Bauchi, Abuja and Port Harcourt; at a price of $thirteen billion.
For his half, Audu Ogbeh, the brand new Minister of Agriculture and Rural Improvement, didn’t even fake to have an various to Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda. Talking on the launching of the Anchor Debtors Programme in Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State, Ogbe recommended Jonathan’s achievements in agriculture, whereas additionally praising his ministerial predecessor for the improvements he launched.
Because of Jonathan, agriculture now accounts for 22 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP, greater than oil and fuel which solely account for 15.9 per cent. Beneath Jonathan, Nigeria recorded a greater than 50 per cent discount in meals imports; from an import invoice of N1.four trillion to lower than N700 billion. With the innovation of dry season rice-farming, Nigeria reached 60% self-sufficiency in rice manufacturing and have become, in line with the Meals and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the most important producer of cassava on the earth.
Somewhat than hit the bottom operating, the in-coming Buhari administration has spent the final six months on a marketing campaign towards Jonathan and his males, as whether it is nonetheless looking for Nigerian votes. This marketing campaign has turn out to be an alternative to coverage, resulting in the conclusion that the APC by no means actually anticipated to win the election and subsequently doesn’t know what to do now it has been declared the winner. What the celebration did through the election marketing campaign was current pie-in-the-sky insurance policies that have been by no means meant to be carried out however have been primarily designed to reap votes.
This accounts for the federal government’s present embarrassment with its personal social gathering manifesto and the denial of its marketing campaign guarantees. It has even led to APC legislators being constrained to vote towards their very own coverage; the cost of N5000 month-to-month to the 25 million poorest Nigerians. In six months, the a lot-touted change of the APC has turned out to be counterfeit. What we have now as an alternative is a continuing barrage of media trials pertaining to the alleged corruption of the Jonathan administration.
This anti-corruption campaign is clearly not addressed at curbing corruption. Its main goal is to kill and bury the PDP. Not even probably the most ardent supporters of Jonathan would insist that there was not rampant corruption underneath the PDP. What’s unacceptable is the current authorities’s pretence that corruption in Nigeria is restricted to the PDP when, as a matter of reality, the APC is simply as corrupt, if not much more due to its blatant hypocrisy.
The federal government’s anti-corruption campaign is already with out legitimacy as a result of it’s unashamedly partial and selective. Allegations made towards APC workplace-holders are procedurally ignored by the federal government’s anti-corruption watchdogs. A number of the APC chieftains accused of corruption have even been rewarded with main ministerial portfolios. Others have been nominated as APC candidates in governorship elections.
PDP members are labelled corrupt till they declare for the APC; then they mechanically grow to be saints. We are supposed to consider that whereas the PDP used authorities funds to purchase favours and votes in the course of the election marketing campaign, APC managed to spend massively to dislodge the PDP from energy with out doing the identical. The reality of the matter is that corruption shouldn’t be the unique protect of any celebration or individuals. Corruption is endemic to the Nigerian political system.
Selective maligning of the members of the previous authorities won’t rid Nigeria of corruption. Neither will allegations of corruption hurriedly put collectively for the sake of public consumption, that are then thrown out by the courts. Corruption needs to be addressed systemically and structurally. However thus far, there’s little proof that the federal government’s anti-corruption intentions transcend the witch-searching of the Jonathan administration.
To the extent that the current administration might be stated to have any insurance policies after six months in workplace, they’re all legacies of the Jonathan administration. The TSA is from Jonathan. The flip-round upkeep of our refineries is from Jonathan. The re-equipping of our army is from Jonathan. The development in electrical energy is a Jonathan legacy. However, the key insurance policies enunciated within the APC election manifesto stay primarily pipe-goals.
Regardless of APC propaganda, Jonathan’s males maintain matching on. Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, Jonathan’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Improvement is now President of the Africa Improvement Financial institution (AfDB). Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Jonathan’s Minister of Finance, and Coordinating Minister of the Financial system, is now a Senior Adviser at Lazzard; a prestigious 167 yr-previous international funding agency. Arunma Otteh, Jonathan’s Director-Basic of the Securities and Change Commission (SEC), is now a Vice-President of the World Financial institution.
To paraphrase Marc Antony of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: “The evil that males do lives after them; the great is oft interrèd with their bones. So let it’s with Jonathan. The noble APC hath informed you Jonathan was clueless. If it have been so, it was a grievous fault, and grievously hath Jonathan answered it.”
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