OP-ED | Azuka Onwuka: Yes, This President Is A Failure
For example, I just came back from the South-East through the Sagamu-Benin Expressway. This was a road that was as smooth and beautiful as the German autobahn all through the eight years of President Olusegun Obasanjo and the two and half years of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. The Ore portion of this road was such a delight then that people spent just two minutes there instead of two days. When Yar’Adua became president in 2007, that portion of the expressway was so beautiful that his Minister of Transport, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, visited it but did not weep. Rather, she sang the Halleluya Chorus in ecstasy because of the beauty of the road. But Jonathan came in and destroyed that road and all other roads.
When I passed through Ore this Christmas/New Year season, I was surprised at the havoc Jonathan had done to that road through the SURE-P programme. It took me six days to travel from Lagos to Onitsha and five and half days on my return trip! Last year, Jonathan inaugurated the destruction of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, with Julius Berger handling the Lagos to Sagamu part and RCC handling the Sagamu to Ibadan part. When I visited Ibadan/Osogbo two months ago, I noticed that some portions of the road had already been destroyed. If the companies keep to the four-year destruction plan, by 2017, that road would have been fully destroyed. The Apapa-Oshodi Expressway that used to be loved by drivers of heavy-duty trucks because of its smoothness has now been destroyed by Jonathan. He has done the same thing to other wonderful roads in other parts of the country. What a man!
Before 2010, farmers were being begged to collect as many bags of fertiliser as they liked. There was no iota of bribery and racketeering in fertiliser distribution. If you were passing by a bus stop, you would be begged to collect as many bags as you wanted. Consequently, Nigerian farmers produced so much food that Nigeria was able to feed itself and the entire Africa. But since Jonathan took over, fertiliser has become as scarce as elephant tusk. Bribery has taken over the distribution. We have not produced even a bag of rice since he came in.
Who says that Jonathan is not a failure? When he came in, our aviation industry was the best in the world. Aeroplanes were not dropping from the Nigerian skies: EAS Airlines (May 4, 2002); Bellview Airlines (October 22, 2005), Sosoliso Airlines (December 10, 2005), ADC Airlines (October 29, 2006). Our airports were world class. In fact, the air conditioning system worked so well that the airport lounges were freezing to the point that snow formed inside them! Under Jonathan’s tenure, contracts were awarded to simultaneously destroy all the airports. In addition, Nigeria did not attain the prestigious Category 1 Certification in aviation.
What about health? In 2014, the World Health Organsiation did not certify Nigeria free of the guinea worm disease. In 2014, it did not declare us Ebola-free. Bill Gates did not tweet in December 2014 – “One of my favourite stories of 2014: In just one year, Nigeria went from 50 polio cases to six”. Maternal mortality did not drop from 545/100,000 to 350/100,000 in four years under Jonathan.
The one that pained me most about this Jonathan was the automotive policy. Before him, Nigeria was the number one exporter of cars. Cars were even being produced in the backyard of every Nigerian house. But since he came up with the new auto policy, auto companies have been running away from our country.
What about electoral reforms? This President has destroyed our exceptional electoral system that was planted by former president Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999. In 2003, Obasanjo gave us one of the best elections. Peter Obi was not rigged out in Anambra. In 2007, while we were still jubilating about the magic of 2003, Obasanjo blessed us with the 2007 electoral miracle. All local and international observers endorsed the elections as the best in world history. Candidates did not protest. Chibuike Amaechi’s candidacy in Rivers State did not have any “K-leg”. Olusegun Mimiko was not rigged out in Ondo. In Edo, Osun and Ekiti governorship candidates of the opposition party were not rigged out.
The 2007 presidential election was so good that Yar’Adua, who benefitted from the electoral artistry, praised the election to high heavens. Even the United States and the European countries flew in to beg Obasanjo and Prof Maurice Iwu of INEC to teach them how to organise exceptional elections. Nigerians felt tall.
But when Jonathan supervised the 2011 elections, he gave us the worst ever. The Peoples Democratic Party bigwigs like Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala, Speaker Dimeji Bankole, Obasanjo’s daughter, Senator Iyabo Obasanjo, won by a landslide. The PDP won all the 36 states.
Just last month, some ministers appointed by Jonathan resigned to contest governorship primaries in their states. This same Jonathan influenced the primaries and made them governorship candidates of the PDP in all the states for the February 2015 elections: Mr Musuliu Obanikoro (Lagos), Mr Labaran Maku (Nasarawa); Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu (Ebonyi), Mr Emeka Worgu (Abia), Dr Samuel Ortom (Benue), and Elder Godsday Orubebe (Delta). If it was Obasanjo, Senator Bola Tinubu, Maj. Gen Muhammadu Buhari or Amaechi – who hate interfering in states – they would not influence the primaries for their associates to win. But this Jonathan is just too overbearing! Haba!
Before now, other past presidents supported local production which resulted in Nigeria producing every single product it needed. Then, we were even exporting cement to the US and Europe. All the cement used for construction was bought from Nigeria. Immediately he came in, for the first time in history, we began to import cement. From 30 years ago to five years ago, we were exporting rice to Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the rest of the world. Our cocoa production was the highest in the world. Palm oil flowed like River Niger everywhere in the nation. Cotton was like saw dust. Groundnut pyramids filled every part of the North and even the South. Agriculture boomed. Other presidents supported agriculture massively. But today Jonathan has completely destroyed agriculture! This President needs to be whipped.
What about the railway system? Before Jonathan came in, other presidents had so much supported the railway system that we had the best rail system in the world. Rail lines and modern trains traversed every state and local government area. But since he came in, he had given instructions that the rail tracks across the nation be excavated and that the rail system be killed forthwith. What a leader!
This is a man who hates equity. He noticed that all states had federal institutions of higher learning. He went to nine states and closed down their federal universities: six in the North and three in the South. These states are Nasarawa, Taraba, Katsina, Jigawa, Gombe, Kogi, Bayelsa, Ekiti and Ebonyi. How can these states ever forgive this unjust man?
Which one should I talk about and which one should I leave? This Jonathan has not done anything. He met a land flowing with milk and honey, a land where the infrastructure was the envy of even the US, a land that had the best economy in the world, a land with the best democratic ideals, a land of justice and fairness, but what did he do? He just destroyed everything and added no value.
Let’s shave his head with a bottle shard, sentence him to 300 years in jail at the Eagles Square, and stick a message on him which reads: “Behold the father of failure!” After that, we then grab the guys at Oxford Dictionaries by the neck and force them to change the meaning of the word “failure.”
Azuka Onwuka is a journalist. He tweets from @BrandAzuka.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.