Nigeria: Team Jonathan

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Nigeria is currently facing a lot of challenges. This explains the present anxiety among citizens about the performance direction of the present administration. Nigerians are indeed full of expectations about what the administration has to offer in view of the enormous challenges confronting the nation. There are economic and security issues. And what everyone wants is a practical solution. One thing that is clear is that Nigerians do not doubt the ability of President Goodluck Jonathan to fix this country once and for all. This was what informed the choice of many , particularly the youths in the last presidential election. What this implies is that the administration has to perform. Over the years, Nigerians have suffered bad leadership with economic promises that never saw the light of the day. Trillions of Naira were budgeted for projects that if executed could change lives. But in most cases, it was all failure or haphazard delivery. The reasons for failure cannot be far fetched. Most of the nation’s leaders have been enmeshed in corruption that what goes into private pockets has been the attraction to public office other than genuine commitment to development. That is why many who have tested public office have suddenly become super rich as a result of corruption. This is at a time when the citizens are walloping in abject poverty. What could be so worrisome is that anti-corruption war of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission of the government appears to be nothing much to write home about. And this is because the picture being painted is that of political trial with the issue of plea-bargain arrangement in which offenders simply agree to their crime unofficially and are allowed to refund part of their loot and go free. This has rubbished the essence of the war as many will continue to loot the economy at will. The result is that in many parts of the country, there is infrastructural decay that has made life miserable for many Nigerians, especially the lower class. In many places, federal roads are death traps, yet billions of Naira are budgeted every year for road projects. The chaotic traffic congestion on Oshodi/Apapa Expressway is a clear example. It takes between 3-4 hours for workers coming from Mile 2 area of Lagos to arrive Apapa. For workers who are expected to spend 8-10 hours in the office, they end up spending most of the working hours on the road. This is for a journey that should not take more than 10 minutes if there is no hold up. Because of this scenrio, some transporters returning empty containers to the Seaport spend days on the road to be able to deliver. There are other places like Apapa-Oshodi road. Every year, one notices the presence of road contractors, but the problem has remained. Ore -Benin road is also a nightmare for travelers. This is equally the same for Onitsha -Enugu road. It takes passengers traveling from Lagos to the East at least 14-16 hours to arrive their destinations in what should not have been more than 7 hours. There are other places like that in other parts of the country.

Nigeria as major oil producer has over a decade been importing refined petroleum products, because the refineries have hardly worked. Efforts made by successive governments to fix the refineries failed. As a crude oil producer, indications are that what is stolen by the mafia in the industry is close or more than what is sold on daily basis. Records have it that Nigeria currently loses about 600,000 barrels of crude oil daily. This amounts to $14.5bn, and estimated as more than 10 per cent of Nigeria’s annual GDP. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had in 2009 disclosed that Nigeria lost about 1.7million barrels of crude oil in two months. And between 2005 and 2008, 236 vessels were reported to have been arrested for illegal bunkering.

Till date, illegal bunkering has remained, and so the nation continues to lose so much revenue to few individuals, some foreigners, in what can best be described as economic tragedy that Nigerians are going through. Nigerians are definitely expecting that the present administration will address all these problems. This was among the reasons for voting in Jonathan. Already, some hold the view that Nigeria is a failed state based on these problems. Those who hold this view seem to be saying the obvious, considering the wealth of the nation all these decades, yet nothing much to show for it in terms of infrastructure. President Goodluck Jonathan has already debunked this view. But it is not enough. Nigerians expect to be proved wrong, and this means that the President and his team have to work hard to fix the country.

Nigerians are equally expectant that the issue of epileptic power will be addressed once and for all. Addressing the power issue holds a lot of keys to job openings, and will definitely make the economy buoyant. Many businesses have collapsed as a result of poor power supply, and the huge cost involved in using private power generation. Right now, Nigeria generates about 3,000 mw, in what has become almost nothing compared with the electricity needs of Nigerians. Expectations are that in the next four years of this administration, the country should be able to generate at least 20,000mw of electricity. This will promote economic growth and lighten the country. This is part of the challenges of this administration.

There are other issues, like decades of flawed elections. The recent general election has been described as a step in the right direction. Expectations are that it will even be better in 2015.

Perhaps, what is more worrisome now is the current security crisis in some parts of the North. The crises and killings in the North after each election are condemnable and a big threat to the unity of this country.

Similarly, the Boko Haram phenomenon has become a major issue that is threatening peace in the country. It is expected that this will be addressed with all the wisdom of government. Nothing less is expected considering the resultant effect of failure of government to end these security issues.

The Team:


President Jonathan recently announced his team who will drive the economy to achieve desired results. Members of the team are men and women of integrity, professionals of high standard expected to change the ways things have been over the decades. They are expected to introduce measures that will boost the economy in all ramifications. Such measures will address infrastructural decay, power sector quagmire, bad roads, corruption and now threatening issue of Boko Haram and other sect or religious upheavals.

Dr. Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Finance Minister:

Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a woman of esteemed vision. She is a technocrat and a woman of strong will. Those who worked with her in the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo can tell better. At 52, she is leaving World Bank as Managing Director to come and offer her contributions to her fatherland. She is expected now with all her experience to come and drive economic development. With the dwindling world economy that has affected all countries, including Nigeria, she is indeed a good choice for the ministry. She holds Doctorate Degree in Economics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in United States. She is equally a product of Havard University. Her father was a renowned economist and professor.

She is expected to join in the war against economic indiscipline among ministries and states, including corruption among public officers who collect allocations for job execution and end up diverting them to private pockets. She is expected to introduce fiscal measures that will boost the economy, check inflation, and boost the economies of the finance industry. Okonjo-Iweala who has received many awards, spent three years in Obasanjo’s administration during which she left an indelible mark. She negotiated with the Paris Club to secure a debt relief of $18billion for Nigeria. Many believe that her second coming as Minister is a big boost to Jonathan’s administration considering her transparency in all economic issues. Among the challenges is for her to enforce reduction in recurrent spending and deficit budgeting.

Senator Idris Umar; Transport Minister

Umar, former member of the House of Representatives for two terms, senator from 2007 to 2011, is a lawyer from Gombe State. He is coming at a time when the Transport industry is facing a lot of challenges. He is expected to champion the establishment of National Transport Commission, as a regulator in the transport sector. The commission is expected to perform roles that will checkmate all operators in the ports industry, including concessionaires and shipping companies who are being accused of imposing illegal charges on importers. Born December 28,1959, Umar is also expected to continue with the rail projects, to such an extent that major cities are linked. All the ports in the country are expected to be linked with rails to ease the congestion in the roads leading to the seaports. The current nightmare being suffered by workers and business men in Apapa is also a challenge to the Minister. Among others, he is expected to influence an end to this nightmare through the completion of the ongoing road project on roads leading to and out of the Apapa port. The development of the nation’s shipping industry is also a challenge to the minister in terms of ensuring that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) performs this statutory role. NIMASA was established specifically to drive indigenous shipping development in the country. Seen as a grassroot politician, many believe that he will introduce policies that will lift the transport industry.


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