Goodluck Jonathan better than past heads of state

Jonathan has performed more than you and others, Presidency tells Obasanjo

on November 23, 2014 / in News 5:08 am / Comments

By Henry Umoru

ABUJA—FOR scoring the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan below average, the Presidency Sunday took a swipe at former President Olusegun Obasanjo, saying his comments at an event, weekend, where he rated Jonathan’s performance “below average” were not only untrue, but also misleading.

In a statement, last night in Abuja by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, the Presidency said former President Obasanjo’s comments do not in any way tally with the facts on ground, boasting that President Jonathan had performed more than Obasanjo and other presidents in Nigeria’s history.

President Jonathan and Gen. Obasanjo (Rtd)

Okupe, who chronicled Jonathan’s achievements in all sectors such as aviation, industrialisation, railway, power, transportation and insurgency among others, said: “Our attention has been drawn to comments made by a former President of this country, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, regarding the performance of the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. We aver that Chief Obasanjo’s comments are untrue, misleading and clearly do not tally with the facts on the ground.

No administration did as much as Jonathan

“We, therefore, wish to assert without equivocation that in terms of performance and achievements, no administration since 1960 when Nigeria gained independence from Britain, has done as much as that of President Jonathan. Every discerning and unbiased Nigerian will definitely attest to this fact as the evidence stare all of us in the face.

“Contrary to Chief Obasanjo’s position, the Federal Government under President Jonathan has performed excellently given the prevailing circumstances and resources available. An assessment of key sectors of national life under the Jonathan administration will definitely controvert Chief Obasanjo’s argument that President Jonathan has not performed well.

“While it is true that Nigeria has been faced with incidents of insurgency and terrorism especially in the last few years, it is also true the Jonathan administration has successfully contained the initial wide-spread and limitless activities of the insurgents which were prevalent in 12 states of the North including the Federal Capital, Abuja.

“While it is true that the present activities of the terrorists in the three North Eastern states have become more deadly in mindless killings, kidnappings and supposed territorial seizures, government has made giant diplomatic strides with our neighbouring countries in order to checkmate the criss-crossing of the insurgents.

“The military and other security agents which have engaged the insurgents since inception have done a great job in spite of recent challenges. The truth of the matter, which we must know and accept, is that we have an internal enemy supported by internal and external resources waging a major warfare against our nation. We want to state that the government is doing everything possible in every area of engagement of this war and will certainly, sooner than later, Nigeria will overcome and win this war.

Quality leadership

“In spite of this war, however, and in view of the other giant strides and achievements recorded in other sectors, it beats the imagination that anyone would say that President Jonathan has performed below average in office. On the contrary, he has provided quality leadership and exemplary vision in transforming the Nigerian nation and giving hope to Africa’s most populous nation.

“We assert that for a fact a lot has been done. We may not have reached the desired destination yet, but surely we are on the path to getting there. There is no doubt that by the time the Jonathan administration runs its full course, Nigeria would have moved further in its quest to join other world giants and the quality of life of Nigerians would have improved greatly. We will all have cause to continually give glory to God for bringing the Jonathan administration on board.”

Giant strides in power supply

On power, he said: “Before President Jonathan came on board as President of this country in 2010, Nigeria faced serious challenges with generation, distribution and transmission of power. Nigeria had challenges with both generation of power and the installed capacity to ensure effective power supply. As a matter of fact, the total amount of power generated nationwide stood at 2550 megawatts; today it is over 4,000 megawatts.

“In terms of installed capacity, there has been remarkable improvement. In 2011, our installed capacity to generate electricity stood at 5,900 MW. By December 2013 it had increased to 6,953 MW. This impressive achievement was due to the completion of all the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) plants, which for reasons only he can explain, Chief Obasanjo had abandoned during his tenure.

“The moribund state-run power corporation was successfully privatised by the Jonathan administration in a process highly rated and commended by the World Bank and other multilateral agencies for its high level of transparency and professionalism.

“This was a very critical programme in solving our power problems which other administrations could not achieve for decades. Today, Nigeria is a recipient of billion-dollar foreign investment in the power sector which is the much needed elixir for a stable, sufficient and efficient power system. This feat cannot be an evidence of a below-average performance as painted by Chief Obasanjo.”

Jonathan’s agricultural revolution

In Agriculture, Okupe said: “Since President Goodluck Jonathan launched his transformation agenda in the agricultural sector, this most important sector which provides employment for over 70 per cent of the population has recorded unprecedented growth resulting from a number of reforms and innovations. The revolution the Jonathan administration has engineered has not only empowered millions of farmers in the country but has equally saved Nigeria billions of naira and dollars, which in times past had been lost to fertilizer racketeers and food importation.

“Nigeria’s food production has expanded by 21 million metric tons; three million farm jobs have been created and more importantly, our import of food has declined by 38 per cent from N1.1 Trillion to N635 billion in 2013.”

“Before the Jonathan administration came on board, major agricultural produce like cotton, sorghum and groundnut, which were the bedrock of the economy of northern Nigeria, were practically extinct. Considering the fact that Nigeria imported N500 billion worth of rice in 2011, no one was in doubt that a radical approach to the problem was needed. And this is exactly what has been happening.

“In 2013 with the Federal Government providing leadership and direction, 14 new rice mills with capacity to process 240 metric tons of rice were set up by the private sector while in addition, a sum of 1.2 billion dollars was secured by the Federal Government to install 100 large scale rice processing mills to produce 2.1 million metric tons of rice annually.

Today, Nigeria has reached an unprecedented 60 per cent sufficiency in rice production, a feat, which the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) recently described as capable of raising world rice output to a record high in the next 12 next months. Nigeria is already on its way to self-sufficiency in rice production as sizeable chunk of its 167 million populations are currently feeding on rice grown and processed locally.

“This and other initiatives of the Federal Government have resulted in the creation of about two million new jobs among rural dwellers. The Federal Government has also implemented a Young Graduates Commercial Farmers Scheme, with the capacity to absorb 780,000 graduates in its first phase and provide an estimated four million jobs in the agricultural sector in the first year.

“In the same vein, the Jonathan administration has restructured and recapitalized the Nigeria Agricultural Bank to provide loans to peasant farmers at single digit interest rates. This represented the most remarkable fund injection initiative ever undertaken by any government to empower rural peasant farmers and create wealth for rural dwellers.

‘’Export of dried cassava chips began in July 2012 and this represented the first time that Nigeria would achieve commercial scale export of dried chips, which will earn $136 million annually in foreign exchange. Also, improved cotton seedlings, which have been provided free of charge to farmers especially in the Northwest and Northeast geo-political zones, will result in the resuscitation of the upstream and downstream cotton/textile subsector.

“Other impressive achievements by the Jonathan administration in the agricultural sector include:

Ending 40 years of corruption in the fertilizer sector. The Old System of Government Direct Procurement and Distribution of Fertilizer was manifestly corrupt and led to annual incidence of “fertilizer scam” where less than 11 per cent of farmers received these fertilizers. Over N776 billion ($4.8 billion) was estimated to have been lost to corruption or an average of N26 billion ($162.5million) annually. The system displaced the private sector and Nigerian farmers lost dignity. Today, things are different.

‘’The administration has built a national database of 10.5 million farmers and increased participation in farming in every state of the federation; the launching of the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) programme, which has increased farmers’ getting fertilizers from 11 per cent before the programme to 92 per cent; delivering 1.3 million metric tons of fertilizer to farmers; making available 55,000 metric tons of improved seeds to farmers; making Nigeria the first country in Africa to deliver inputs to farmers at scale through e-wallet; reaching 2.5 million women farmers through e-Wallet by 2014 up 287 per cent from 2012; making Nigeria the biggest producer of cassava in the world; Rice Paddy Production has witnessed rapid increase; number of states growing rice in dry season rose from 10 in 2012 to 24 in 2013; six million farmers reached with improved varieties and two million hectares of additional rice cultivated; and we have reduced our wheat importation and increased export of cassava chips.”

– See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/11/attack-jonathan-misleading-performed-presidency-tells-obasanjo/#sthash.CsPnNF9f.dpuf

MORALITY IN PUBLIC EXAMINATION: CURE TO EXAMINATION MAL-PRACTICE

Morality is an issue of paramount importance in Nigeria. In the past, more than in the present, parents taught their children to uphold high moral standards. But sadly enough, the story is different today. In the present, by all available evidence and statistics, the value system of the society has changed. In the last two decades, the Nigerian educational system has been infected by the ‘bogey’ of examination mal-practice popularly called ‘EXPO’. This disease or cankerworm has eaten deep into the fabrics of the faculty of academic excellence in our country. It has debased our educational standard and quality of our certificates and proved such an enigma to educators and educationists as well as to the entire society that no solution seems to be in sight.

Efforts aimed at stopping this cankerworm in our society especially among students even through legislations have all proved abortive. Every year when the all-important WASC/NECO, JAMB or POLY-JAMB is conducted, the epidemic of examination mal-practice attacks the whole society. People become anxious as to what will be the fate of the candidates. This anxiety eventually grows into sickness when it is announced that thousands of candidates’ results are either cancelled or withheld. At this stage different schools of thought begin to propound theories on how to stop examination mal-practice, but soon after the shock is over, the whole question is dropped till when next the epidemic erupts. In my humble opinion, the diagnosis into the history of examination mal-practice and its cure hang on this peg ‘Morality’

First, let me give a simple dictionary definition of morality and examination. Morality means that principles or standards of good behaviour, honest act or conduct. Examination simply means a process of evaluation. It therefore means that the set objectives or purpose of every or any examination is to evaluate the performance of candidates and place them in order of merit. It is not to determine who will pass or fail, but to streamline candidates in order of merit for labour market that requires anybody’s service. Having briefly explained what morality means and the purpose of every examination which means; the honest method of evaluation; I therefore submit that the approach to achieving this objective must be based on Morality. Hence examination mal-practice becomes a moral issue based on the dictate of conscience and therefore cannot be solved by legislations. Many intellectuals have tried to state the causes of examination mal-practice. The causes they attribute to: A- Too much emphasis on certificates, B- Scarce job opportunities available for the teeming thousands that need jobs. Therefore, the motive force behind examination mal-practice is to be admitted into tertiary institutions and subsequently job opportunity. But in my humble opinion, getting a job is one thing, and keeping a job is another thing.

This is where morality comes in. If a man gets a job on the face value of a certificate which he is not qualified to possess, the chances are that he is not likely to succeed in the job the certificate has fetched him because he has not attained the standard or level of work expected to perform the job himself, his certificate notwithstanding. If he is incapable of performing that job as expected, then the evaluation exercise through which he obtained the job has been falsified. Little wonder, today, you find graduates who cannot write and speak good English. Special centres are now the in-thing to both parents and their offspring. Nobody wants to read and pass his/her exams. Each year as the WASSCE, NECO, JAMB and POLY-JAMB draw near; candidates begin to run-about either for special centres or what they christened ”Machinery” to making sure they pass these exams. It is no longer a bad thing to bring in foreign materials into examination halls. It is no longer an ugly thing to ask somebody to help you write your exams. It is no longer a bad culture as it used to be to give your teacher/Lecturer money to make good grades in schools. Our ladies even pay in kind just to make good grades.

It is a pity that the Nigerian society has lost her bearing and has thrown morality to the winds. Yet the task of salvaging the sinking society falls squarely on the shoulders of all who are entrusted with the duty of teaching young people and more especially on principals, headmasters, teachers, lecturers, parents and guardians and religious instructors who have the task of ensuring that good conduct of examination prevails in all schools at all levels. Teachers, besides their education, are by their calling the custodians of the morals of the society. Since most young people have to pass through the teachers ‘wheel’ at certain stages in their lives, the teachers stand the best opportunity in imparting and instilling good morals to their pupils and students and thereby cure the disease of examination mal-practice in the society.

I have to warn here that the task is not an easy one especially where you have on your staff persons who have got their present employment through this immoral way. Also in a society where the craze for the naira has blocked peoples’ conscience and where parents employ all sorts of mean way to seeing their weak wards get to the top without performing at top efficiency, your efforts will be frustrated but do not be daunted. Teachers should learn to shun parents who want to buy promotion for their indolent wards. Discourage students who want maximum result from minimum effort. The lesson of morality at public examination must be taught to all from the primary school to the university level. Lecturers, teachers and parents, the school, the home, and religious organisations provide the best battle grounds. The media should also from time to time educate the people on the dangers inherent in examination mal-practice; inculcate into your pupils, students, children and religious followers good morals. Morality in public examination must be the concern for all if our education and certificate must stand the test of time and international acceptability.

It is a matter of conscience for those who have got it.

 

REVITALISING THE ATTITUDE OF READING AMONG NIGERIAN YOUTHS

 

                                      READ IF YOU MUST LEAD

Reading is one of the best hobbies everybody should cultivate, develop and sustain. The importance of a good reading culture cannot be over emphasised. The joy of good reading culture can’t be described in words- it’s something that you can understand only by actual experience. But sadly enough, it breaks my heart to know that majority of us (youths) are not introduced to the fabulous world of reading; hence this piece is targeted at instilling/reviving the culture of reading among us. Reading process requires continuous practice, development and refinement. Reading requires creativity and critical analysis.  A good reader also varies his reading pace based on the content he is reading and what he wants to get from it. The purpose of reading news articles is different from reading stories, which is different from reading the Bible or other important documents. Over a period of time, you will understand how to vary your reading pace and comprehension based on what you read and what you want from it. Also, just reading good books is not enough. The way you read it is more important. When you come across a new idea, vocabularies or a different opinion, think upon it deeply/look out for the meaning of each new word(s). Don’t accept it or reject it blindly. Try to reason with it and understand the writer’s point of view. As you continue this habit of reading and reflecting on what you read, you will start forming your own thoughts and values. It will challenge your mind and the thoughts, customs and traditions that you have grown up with. It’s easy to get so much involved in the reading process that you forget that the main purpose of reading is to make you a better person which can only happen when you act upon it. Just finishing one book after another without any real action from your side won’t help you. More so, reading articles that promote negativity, hatred and give wrong information is dangerous. It’s better to not read anything at all than read such articles that will destroy you rather than making you

Benefits of Reading

  • Reading is an active mental process
  • Reading improves your vocabulary
  • Reading gives you a glimpse into other cultures and places of the world- Intercultural literacy
  • It improves concentration and focus- It requires you concentrate and focus on what you are reading.
  • Reading builds your self-esteem- The more you read, the more knowledge you garner and the more knowledge you acquire, the more confident you become about yourself.
  • Reading improves memory- Many studies have shown if you don’t use your memory, you lose it. Reading requires remembering details, facts and figures and in literature, plotline, themes and character.
  • Reading improves your discipline- Reading books of various subjects helps builds your self-discipline e.g. – the Bible and other Christian literatures.
  • It improves creativity- reading about diversity of life and exposing yourself to new ideas and more information helps to develop the creativity side of the brain as it imbibes innovation into your thinking process.
  • When reading, you’re in full silence because reading connects directly to your brain. In silence, you seek for more; in silence, your brain is clear and focuses. Thus, you learn and grow, and therefore you feel and see from the point of view of the author about everything in life. Hence you shape a better self
  • You always have something to talk about- you are informed
  • It reduces boredom- I have been a voracious reader ever since I learned how to read. That’s why I never get bored even being alone (you can be alone but not lonely so long you have a book to read) for a long time. I have found that reading books is the best antidote to boredom.
  • It is educational -the best way to learn is to read. There are hundreds of book that will teach you anything you want to learn. Books contain so much knowledge that waits to be released. Gabriella Hunter, a senior in high school, says “With reading you can self-teach and self-discover. You can essentially educate yourself through reading.

    Purposes of Reading

  • Reading to be informed- determine what you want to learn or find out from the material
  • Reading to perform a task- determine what you want to be able to do
  • Reading for literacy experience.

NB- Make a note of what you’re reading, underline or write out the words you don’t know their meanings. Look it up in the dictionary for their meanings and also learn how to use them in verbal, written communication or for exam purposes. Remember, ‘ life is a comedy for those who think and a tragedy for those who feel’- Horace Walpole.

What happens when you don’t read?

Your imagination grows less vivid. You become unable to elevate yourself over everyday life. You stop discovering new words and new ideas about everything- you also stop leading.

     Finally, ‘’If you don’t have time to read, you’ll remain a slave to those who

    have read’’-  Bright Ihedinobi Dike

    ‘’Until you have time to read, you also won’t have time to lead’’

     -Bright Ihedinobi Dike

 

The Great ambush against President Goodluck Jonathan

 

The administration of President Goodluck Jonathan will go down in history as the most criticized  and attacked administration in the history of Nigeria- whether rightly or wrongly (history shall tell). This government has been criticized to the extent I began to wonder if there is a salary at the end of the month for doing that. The promoters of this slanderous ambush against the person of the president have sworn not to rest until he is distracted and frustrated out of office. What was his offence? The only offence he committed was coming close to the corridors of power or perhaps being a southerner and becoming the vice-president and later the president of Nigeria. His ascension to power as the acting president was very turbulent, even when the constitution was crystal clear as what should be done. The powers that be barred him from visiting his principal while he was sick. Even when President Y’ar Adua died, Jonathan was still not sure what was to be done, though the constitution was evident as what should be done. Eventually, against all odds and political permutations he was allowed to become president on acting capacity. His election was fraught with many battles as well. There was a stiff opposition and gang ups in the northern parts of this country by the northern political elites who worked tirelessly to ensure only a northern candidate is installed as president. They fine-tuned their strategies and presented a consensus candidate, yet they failed. Still very fresh in our minds how they organised themselves and their youths into an army of destruction to unleash violence and mayhem against the southerners, including serving members of the national youth corps even as the election was adjudged free and fair by both local and international communities. Between 2011 and date, Boko Haram has become prominent, sorry, ‘’notorious’’ among the nations of this world in killing people in churches, mosques, motor parts and relaxation centres, etc.

They have used their puppy- Boko Haram to embarrass and insult the sensibility of the president in providing adequate security for the lives and property of Nigerians. What else could be more treacherous, treasonably and traitorous than not allowing a man who got the mandate of his people through the ballot box to govern them to settle in office, let alone succeeding in that office. The question that pops up in my mind always is ‘’ is Nigeria a Monarchy or a fiefdom of the Northerners’’? Where only the north decides how rules this country and must be from among them. The north who has ruled this country more than any other ethnic clime has shown the southerners ingratitude worse than a traitor’s hands. They are threatening fire and brim stones should a northerner fail to emerge as the next president in 2015, forgetting there is an independent body that decides who rules- through a free and fair election. The magnitude of this ambush against Mr President has risen to the crescendo that it has started stirring up anger and resentment among the southerners who has supported previous governments led by a northerner.

The ambush continues now to political promiscuity among the political class orchestrated by sheer quest to seize power from Goodluck Jonathan, rather than promoting good governance. Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar has since moved to APC (another ambush) to rally around other political foes of Mr President to seize power from him. These politicians are not smiling into this by-forced marriage of political harlotry because of their love for democracy and good governance as they have a history of political infidelity, but because there is an ambush against the person of Mr President and the south-south people. No wonder this has generated some provocative warnings from some quarters of the south-south. Atiku Abubakar and El-rufia now belongs to the same political party- a man who emphatically described him as corrupt politician in his book titled ‘’Accidental Public Servant’’ What is going to happen now- will El-rufia go to edit his book to clear Atiku of corrupt charges or will joining APC cleanse Atiku from every corrupt antecedence as stated by El-rufia. We shall wait for the answer.

Former President Oluseugun Obasanjo however joined this rat-race of laying ambush against the President when he transmitted his yet-to-be proven 18 page letter accusing the president of sundry allegations, which the president has since responded to challenging the former to come up with proofs of his allegations. Mr former president, Nigerians are waiting for your prove. It’s only in this country that men who live in glass house throws stones forgetting that he who pelts another with pebbles ask for rocks in return. Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi(CBN Governor) was not left out in this ambush when he also wrote a letter to the president(leaking it to the public) alleging about 49 billion dollars missing from the NNPC account. When challenged to prove it, he has since rephrased his statement and brought the figure down to about 12 billion dollars. Now what happens to the Obasanjo’s letter where he categorically accused the President of misappropriating about 49 billion dollars and sheepishly, Sanusi has brought down the amount to about 12 billion dollars- Mr former president, one unverified allegation- sorry.

Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers state- another ambush promoter, in his inordinate quest to either champion the cause of the northerners against his ‘’own’’ people or eyeing the presidency by playing the second fiddle as vice president has joined, sponsored in propagating media lies against the presidency. What does he stands to benefit? Yes, no doubt among every twelve there is a Judas- Amaechi why has thou made thy self a Judas- betraying when it’s most hurting? Joining the Egyptians to fight your Israeli brother will only make you a saboteur. The latest of the ambush is now ‘bring back our girls’. On 14th April, 2014, certain girls were allegedly kidnapped from their school in Chibok, Borno State. President Goodluck Jonathan who no doubt is the chief security officer of this nation must find these girls- no two ways about it and the state Governor who also is the chief security officer of the state should fold his arms and watch as these Boko Harm ‘idiots’ unleash another mayhem to embarrass the President and the nation. The Boko Haram insurgence, the missing girls, all will come to an end once a Northerner becomes the President in 2015, but as long as a Southerner- President Goodluck still remains the President, watch out for part two of the missing girls’ episode- ‘there’s God ooooooooooo’.

Finally, to all members of the let’s -pull him -down ambush group, maybe you were not mentioned, that does not exonerate you in any way. Nigerians are already fully aware of your great ambush against the person of the president- directly or indirectly. Forming a conglomerate in the name of anything thinking Nigerians don’t know your antics and strategies and your ambush perfectionism will not distract Nigerians. We know you all- your pedigree and antecedence and they are not impeccable in any way- he who comes to equity must come with clean hands not soiled hands. In conclusion, I have this to say ‘’Mene mene tekel upharsin’’.