by Joe Igbokwe
All the history books I have read tell me that when a Nation is in crisis a great leader must emerge to reposition and restructure the system for the better. I recall the great depression in the 1930s in the United States and how Mr. Franklin D. Roosevelt had a turning point in his political career when he was elected the President of the United States in 1932. The 1929/30 great depression provided an opportunity for him to emerge. America was in deep economic crisis. Millions lost their jobs as factories closed down. The banking system collapsed. There was total loss of faith in America. They needed a great and strong President. They voted in Roosevelt. He gave Americans the NEW DEAL.
All things considered, Nigeria is today at cross roads and something needs to give way. From all indications, from all angles and from all calculations it is obvious now that if we continue with PDP and President Jonathan, the Titanic called Nigeria may hit an iceberg. President Jonathan’s ambition to continue to seek reelection after completing the late President Yar’Adua 8years portends grave danger for Nigeria. That ambition if it becomes a reality means that Southern Nigeria would have ruled Nigeria for 18years by 2019. This is not what we struggled for from 1984 to 1999. This is threat to national stability and national cohesion, and a distortion of Nigeria’s political equation and equilibrium. It will at once bring to the fore the North and South divide and political dichotomy. The explosive North/South religious tensions will rise. Consequently, this inordinate ambition will put a knife on things that have held us together as one political entity.
Nigerians who are worried by the level of corruption and open stealing in Nigeria may not want President Jonathan to continue for another four years. Corruption is threatening our political, economic and social life. Investment funds are in private pockets, the system is not working and people who deserve nothing are pocketing billions and are asking us to go to hell. They abuse us on a daily basis, threatening our lives and dare us to challenge them. Great countries all over the world have been built through discipline and hard work but corruption has torn great nations down.
Another great reason why President GEJ cannot continue in 2015 is the inability of his government to stop impunity, and political brigandage. Public Servants and ordinary citizens have caused colossal damage to project Nigeria and asked us to do our worst. Wanted criminals and Drug Barons use our law enforcement agents to oppress, repress and suppress the poor and steal our votes, and challenges to dire them.
As I write this, insecurity has become the greatest problem facing Nigeria. Boko Haram has killed nearly 12,000 Nigerians, young and old in the past six years, and yet the end is not in sight. The insurgents have made our security Agencies including our once highly rated standing Army to look like a rag tagged Army. Our soldiers now run away from these insurgents. Today we hear of mutinies, we hear of our soldiers being captured and disarmed and we hear of recruits disobeying Generals in the Army. This nonsense must stop. This national drift must stop now or Nigeria goes under.
In 1999, PDP led Federal Government met more than Three Thousand Megawatts of electricity and after almost sixteen years Nigeria has gone under three thousand Mega Watts despite the obvious and painful truth that we have invested billions of dollars in the power sector. Compare this with Governor Fashola’s Lagos which has built its five Power Stations; Akute IPP, Alausa IPP, Mainland IPP, Island IPP, AND Lekki IPP in a very short time, with a minimum amount of money to power critical sectors like Courts, Hospitals, Schools, Government offices etc. we need new competent and strong hands to run Nigeria now before it is too late.
Again, never in the history of this country has a sitting Head of State played up ethnic and religious politics the way President Jonathan has done. He has completely divided Nigeria along religious and ethnic lines, pitching Christianity against Islam, leaders against leaders, youths against youths, fathers against fathers and mothers against mothers. He hardly visits the Northern part of Nigeria as Commander-In-Chief. He goes about with corrupt Bishops and ethnic chauvinists and display hate to other religions. His body language suggests that he is telling the world that Nigeria is no longer a secular State. This dangerous drift must stop.
Crude oil theft under President Jonathan has assumed a frightening dimension. Reports have it that never in the history of this country have we had it so bad. This year alone this country lost huge crude oil to oil thieves, more than what we have lost in the five-years. We heard it from reliable sources that the President seems to pretend to be looking the other way while people mainly from his ethnic stock steal the country dry with reckless abandon. He seems to be telling them that “this is your time, go and take as much as you can before I go. If I go you may not have this opportunity again in your lifetime”
Abuse of power and privileges is another tangible reason why Nigerians must reject Jonathan as President beyond 2015. We saw this in Ekiti State, we saw it in Ondo State. We saw it in Anambra State, Adamawa, Osun, Nasarawa, Niger States etc. These are States where PDP has interest and they are ready to sink the boat to get what they want. The Speaker House of Reps just moved from PDP to APC and IGP has ordered the withdrawal of his Security details. Now, did IGP withdraw Security details from Mimiko, Peter Obi and the National Legislators from Anambra State who moved to PDP? This is double standards! This is executive lawlessness and at best, executive desperation.
We have seen Asari Dokubo and Chief Edwin Clark abusing and threatening and cursing other Nigerians because they criticized their President, and yet President Jonathan looks the other way. Now the President must know that he is the President of 160million Nigerians and not President of Ijaw people alone.
I can just continue but time and space will not permit me. I suggest that elder statesman, Council of States and stakeholders must look for a strong President in 2015 if they still believe in the project Nigeria. President Jonathan cannot just continue. We want a strong, disciplined and committed leadership in 2015.
Joe Igbokwe is the publicity secretary of Nigeria’s main opposition party the All Progressives Congress, APC. He writes from Lagos.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.