The clear danger to public affairs commentary is that we have a lot of unintelligent people repeating silly clichés and too many intelligent persons wasting their talents lending relevance to thoughtless conclusions.
“THEY” in this piece refers to all the cynics, the pestle-wielding critics, the unrelenting, self-appointed activists, the idle and idling, twittering, collective children of anger, the distracted crowd of Facebook addicts, the BBM-pinging soap opera gossips of Nigeria, who seem to be in competition among themselves to pull down President Goodluck Jonathan. This army of sponsored and self-appointed anarchists is so diverse; many of them don’t even know why or how they should attack the president.
The clear danger to public affairs commentary is that we have a lot of unintelligent people repeating silly clichés and too many intelligent persons wasting their talents lending relevance to thoughtless conclusions. Hold on. I don’t want to be misunderstood. I am not saying nobody should criticize the Nigerian president. I spent some time learning that legal maxim: “volenti non fit injuria”. Public position comes with its own share of risks and exposure. But the twittering, pinging, Facebook crowd of the new age must be guided by facts.
Hold your stone. Don’t haul it yet. Shhh. Wait, Mr. Alaseju! I have spent the last 14 months working with President Jonathan. I have followed him everywhere. I can write a whole book on his Presidency so far, but you won’t get to read that until much later. I have heard that some people are protesting that they will not buy the book if it gets written. Well, your choice. What I can report, for now is that he is a grossly misunderstood President. Too many people are unfair to him. They criticise him out of ignorance. They abuse him out of mischief. And the opposition doesn’t make things easy at all. Can we look at a number of issues?
You say he is a clueless President. You are wrong. He is not clueless. Nobody is more committed to the Nigerian Project than President Jonathan. In spite of unforeseen challenges, which his administration has had to contend with, President Jonathan is doing his utmost best to positively transform Nigeria. Ordinary Nigerians know and appreciate this. Those parading themselves as leaders of the opposition, who claim that the President has lost the support of Nigerians, represent only themselves and their selfish interests.
President Jonathan is a clever, methodical and intelligent man, who is very adept at wrong footing all the persons who make an effort to second-guess or under-estimate him. He understands the complexity of Nigeria. He is acutely conscious of the historicity of his emergence as Nigeria’s No. 1. He knows that he is here as the leader of all Nigerians. He knows that he is a representative of all common persons, particularly the children of all blue collar workers who never wore shoes or got a chance to eat three-square meals, and whose mothers and aunties could never be part of policy-making processes.
When he spoke about not wearing shoes as a child, he meant that as a metaphor for the disparities in the Nigerian system, and the urgent need to redress inequalities. But I have heard some persons responding literally that Nigerians should never vote for a man who never wore shoes. How simplistic. Attention needs to be drawn to the fact that a rooted, people-sourced President, who seeks to transform Nigeria, and who campaigns on a platform of transformation, will necessarily be opposed by those who consider themselves the children of Empire builders, those who think that their ancestors built Nigeria. Wrong.
The Ijaws, the fourth largest ethnic nationality in Nigeria, have as much right to have their son as President as every other Nigerian group. But Jonathan doesn’t even dwell on this. I have never heard him utter an ethnic statement. He sees himself as the President of all Nigerians. He is at home with every group. He is focused on the challenges of nation-building. He wants to transform Nigeria. He wants to unite the country. He is determined to promote the country. And he is doing so already. He knows Nigerians want regular power supply. He is working at it. That is why we have crossed 4,400 MW.
He knows Nigerians want infrastructure. That is why he is telling Bi-Courtney to fix Lagos-Ibadan Expressway or get out. That is why he is telling a particular Minister to fix the East-West road and get it fixed quickly. That is why he has directed the relevant agencies to get corrupt persons to answer for their misdeeds. That is why he is strengthening Nigeria’s foreign relations. That is why he is transforming the agriculture sector, from a contract-awarding, fertilizer distribution enterprise into big business. And more… The reason President Jonathan does not go into a song and dance routine is because he knows that true rebranding of a nation is a projection of positive things that are already happening.
They say he is “tribalistic”. Not true. How many Ijaws are in President Jonathan’s inner circle? Very few, I can tell you. There are, of course, all kinds of persons who go about telling people that they have the President’s ears and eyes. They would even tell you that they think for the President! I used to have nightmares whenever I heard that, but it no longer bothers me. I have since learnt that some Nigerians consider it fashionable to wear false garments.
The Presidency qua Presidency is staffed by key officials from all parts of the country. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation is from Ebonyi State. The Chief of Staff and the Head of the President’s Secretariat are both from Edo; the Protocol Liaison Officer and Principal Private Secretary are from Adamawa; the Chief Detail is from Borno; the Aide De Camp (ADC) is from Kogi; the Perm Sec, State House is from Benue; the State Chief of Protocol is from Kwara; the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity is from Ogun; the Chief Physician to the President is from Rivers. Only the Chief Security Officer, the Special Assistant, Domestic and the Special Adviser, Research and Strategy are from Bayelsa.
When he is in the office, and he gets there early every day, and works till very late, he is exposed to all categories of Nigerians. He runs a modern and open Presidency. He is on Facebook, Twitter, email, SMS, BB, and he reads. And he writes. This is not a provincial President. The intelligentsia, his immediate community, should support him to do his work.
President Jonathan was the first Nigerian leader to appoint a woman as his Chief Economic Adviser as well as the Nigerian leader who opened up the Nigerian Defence Academy to women. And he took affirmative action in political appointments to a higher level by reserving 35 per cent of all appointive positions in government for our women folk.
The facts in this regard are incontrovertible. Under President Jonathan, women occupy very strategic positions (Petroleum Resources, Education, Co-ordinating Minister/Minister of Finance, Water Resources, Minister of State, FCT, Minister of State, Defence, Minister of State, Foreign Affairs 1, Minister of State, Niger Delta, and the headship of many of the MDAs. The President’s commitment to Nigeria is total. All his children school in Nigeria. Even his dress code promotes Nigeria.
They say Mr. President drinks. My friend and colleague, Etim Etim, called the other day to say that whatever may be the challenges on this job, he could affirm that I am at least enjoying. “What with all the choice drinks on every trip,” he said. I told him, “No, we don’t drink.” He protested. He thought I was lying. He had heard that kain-kain is a staple fare on presidential flights. I told him No. We are not allowed to touch alcohol. Alcohol is not served during official duties. Yes, when there is an international function, wine is served, but nobody gets drunk around here. That will amount to an act of indiscipline. The President himself does not allow alcohol to be served at his table. But when you go to social media, they tell you something else. Lies. Lies. Lies.
I have even heard that the President spends billions on feeding. Well, I have enjoyed the privilege of eating at the President’s table. What does he eat? Fish pepper soup. Cassava Bread. Slices of yam. Rice. Boiled plantain. Fruits and vegetables. He fasts when he chooses, and fasts all month during Ramadan and Lent. And because he takes his exercises and keep fit regime seriously, he eats very little. Okay, he drinks coffee. And yet there are people out there who keep claiming that there is a feast in the Villa every day. They say at every meal, the table is decorated with roasted turkey, and every delicacy under the sun. Lies. Lies. This President is not a glutton. We have a disciplined, hardworking President who enjoys his privacy, and the company of intelligent people.
Here is a man who is an epitome of loyalty and simplicity. The thing about the President’s critics is that they just cannot accept that someone with his simplicity can be their President. This is the Saul Complex. Saul could not accept the fact that somebody as simple as David could be favoured by God. And just like Saul threw the spear at David out of uncontrollable jealousy, these critics are out to throw any kind of spear to see which hits the target, hence all their lies about the President.
Let me end by saying that the President is a simple man but simplicity is not naivety. If simplicity were to be naivety, then the world would not be where it is today because it is simple men like Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Kwame Nkrumah, who have shaped the world that we live in by simplifying what others have complicated.
Reuben Abati is Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to President Jonathan
After several days of deliberations, the ECOWAS summit on Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo concluded this evening in Abuja .
The communique issued was thus
"(ECOWAS) requests the U.N. Security Council to strengthen the mandate of the U.N. operation in Ivory Coast enabling the mission to use all necessary means to protect life and property and to facilitate the immediate transfer of power to Mr Alassane Ouattara," it said in a communique.
"(It) also requests the U.N. Security Council to adopt more stringent international targeted sanctions against Mr Laurent Gbagbo and his associates." Ouattara was the U.N.-certified winner of a November presidential election. Incumbent Gbagbo refused to recognise that result, saying it was rigged, and the West African country has lurched towards civil war.
President Goodluck Jonathan's tenure as chairman was renewed .
President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria today officially has 500,078 people who like him on face book, could 1million be the next milestone?
I noticed an interview on TV the other day and heard a Central Bank Governor defend his position on the issue of Naira devaluation, I was impressed, that person could have been a leader in any country, that person is Sanusi Lamido Sanusi , Central bank governor for Nigeria.
Sanusi was born on July 31, 1961. His father was a Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the 1960s and his grandfather was Emir of Kano and Islamic Scholar, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi.
Sanusi graduated from King’s College, Lagos in 1977 and studied at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria earning a BSc in Economics in 1981. He obtained an MSc in Economics in 1983, and then taught economics at ABU from 1983 to 1985.--wikipedia
He started his banking career in 1985 and in 2009 got the appointment as Central Bank Governor of Nigeria.
He recently won the award of the Global Central Bank Governor of the Year 2011 from The Banker Magazine in London.
Dedicated the award to President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who appointed him on June 4, 2009,offered to share the award with staff of the CBN and acknowledged the support of President Goodluck Jonathan.
He has won many awards so far and will continue to do so .
Definitely a Leo and definitely a role model, someone who will continue to make us proud,please continue the good work.
We need your official facebook and twitter Sir, thats now the standard :-)
Our Social media savvy President is at it again, that aspect makes me proud because i know many leaders in Africa have started adopting this trend. read his latest FB posting below
My facebook friends and fellow Nigerians,
1. We all know that Nigeria faces certain challenges - from increasing the quality and accessibility of our education, to strengthening basic infrastructure. On the updated website, http://goodluck.org.ng/ and here on facebook, I ask that you participate in the conversation on how to address these most important issues. There is only one month until we all must put our vote forward for One Nigeria. We must act now, and together. I am here to listen and help guide all of us.
2. Together, today, we must build the roadmap to create jobs for our youths, to develop this great nation through education and power sector reform. We must commit to creating sustainable, lasting peace. The only people who can ensure a peaceful nation are US - As I said in Uyo just yesterday my ambition is important to me but is not worth the blood of even one Nigerian. Come to goodluck.org.ng and continue the conversation we began here.
3. All Nigerians - in Bauchi, Jos, Ilorin, Minna, Port Harcourt, Owerri, Ibadan, Kaduna, Lafia and everywhere in this great indivisible nation - must come together to contribute ideas on how we can create jobs for our youths, ensure that no Nigerian child goes to bed hungry, develop our country together and build a greater union. I will listen carefully to your ideas for how to bring Nigeria to a more secure and prosperous future specifically at http://goodluck.org.ng/issues. Tell me what you think the government should be doing to make your life easier. I need your feedback. I need you to move from being an onlooker in the Nigerian project to being a stakeholder. Share your ideas now. Thank you. GEJ
The Core of Who Am I
As I go about Nigeria campaigning, I am telling Nigerians my detailed plans for Nigeria. However, today I want to talk to you about the core of why I am in public service.
Public office to me is not a means to adding value to the holder of the office. Publc office is the vehicle through which social harmony, happiness and inspirational communal existence is promoted and enhanced. I personally do not believe that you become a 'big man' by simply holding a public office. No! People with that type of mentality are only borrowing moral authority from the office they occupy and as soon as they leave that office that authority leaves them.
I believe that public office is a pedestal for you to use your strength of character to add value to the office by serving the people you are meant to serve and giving glory to our Creator.
Some people accuse me of being humble to the point of servility. They do not understand that the whole purpose of public office is to serve. This is why our late great leader, Umaru Musa Yar'adua said that we were servant leaders. We have not come to demand service from Nigeria but to give service.
This is the principal reason why I opened this page to communicate with Nigerians. I am acutely aware that I do not hold this position of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by the wishes of any power other than the freely given mandate of the Nigerian people and the grace of God. And that is why I communicate with you because next to the Almighty God, the Nigerian people are my power source and just as an electrical appliance will not work when not connected to it's power source so also can I not work effectively if I am not connected with you the good people of Nigeria.
And while there are politicians who have substantial commitment to Nigeria and others who may have partial commitment to Nigeria, my commitment to Nigeria is total and there is evidence to back it up.
It is believed that a man's greatest treasures are his children and immediate family and the proverb goes that where a man's treasures are there his heart also will be. All my children, every last one of them school in Nigeria and of course my wife and I are fully on the ground. Some might describe other treasures a man has as his real estate property. And again every property I have in life is in Nigeria. Some might consider money as another treasure and again all my accounts every last one of them is domiciled in Nigeria. In everything I do I make a conscious decision to put Nigeria first whether it is in my dressing or the food I eat, or even the music I listen to. I am totally sold out on Nigeria.
What does this tell you? My commitment to Nigeria is not partial, neither is it substantial, but it is total. You can trust me to take good decisions on behalf of Nigeria because I am a stakeholder whose progress is tied to the progress of Nigeria.
This is the core of who Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is. I have made myself an open book, completely transparent to Nigerians because I want to earn your trust. I do not want to demand trust, but I want to inspire it by the way I live my life and with your help and God's favour I shall continue to do this. GEJ
To those with friends and family in Libya please let the news that I have instructed the minister of foreign affairs to immediately embark on the evacuation of Nigerian citizens from Libya just as was successfully done in the case of Egypt calm your fears. I really want to communicate this truth to Nigerians that the life of EVERY Nigerian has value in my sight. GEJ
UPDATE 27th February 2011
In furtherance to my directive that Nigerians stranded in Libya be immediately evacuated, I want family and friends of the victims to know that 500 of the 2000 stranded victims have landed in Abuja while the rescue operation will go on until everyone willing to return is brought back safely. Under my watch there will be no Nigerian left behind in troubled zones. GEJ
A new Mobile app has just been launched by the Goodluck Nigeria campaign highligting one more avenue where the president can interact with the younger generation in Nigeria. Definately a first.
President Goodluck Jonathan represents a generation of Nigerians that identify with the youths as well as the older population. He believes in interacting broadly with the youth as he brings the much needed transformation in Nigeria. Now with the GOODLUCK NIGERIA 2011 App, for Blackberry, iPad, iPhone and other Mobile Phones, you become a part of the transformation movement. Send a direct message to Goodluck Jonathan (one that he will read), get the latest news, read his agenda, enjoy videos and music, join the movement. Remember to check back frequently since we update you with the latest national news through out the day. Most importantly pass it on and stay involved.
7 pm January 13th 2010, the presence of security personnel all over the city can still be felt. Some major streets in the city have been blocked off all day as Nigeria awaits the outcome of the PDP presidential primaries and nominee for the April 2011 elections.
The impasse is between incumbent president, Goodluck Jonathan and former VP, Abubakar Atiku. Party delegates all over Nigeria arrived last night to Abuja to partake in the primaries. Overall, 5000 delegates are expected to participate in today's primaries.