Reading from Jonathan’s Book of Vows By Azubuike Ishiekwene
The headline took me to another place. Not the title of this piece. In one of the front-page stories of this newspaper yesterday, President Goodluck Jonathan was quoted to have said, “I cannot perform magic.” A number of things immediately came to mind. It’s either the president thinks we expect too much of him or he is genuinely overwhelmed by the burden of office. But leadership is a choice. He became president by default in 2010. But he put himself forward for the office in 2011 and obviously wants to be reelected in 2015. If voters needed a magician, they would have invoked Professor Peller.
The president does not need to worry about his magical impotence. What should worry him, instead, is that, nearly two years after Sonala Olumhense compiled a two-year list of the president’s broken promises, nothing seems to have changed. A similar effort by the International Press Centre, Lagos, in partnership with the Institute for War and Peace Reporting produced 91 broken presidential vows in 2011, less than two years after Jonathan became president (www.ipcng.org). This week, I invite you to re-read Olumhense’s piece, first published on May 6, 2012, and judge whether the problem is a magic wand – or competence:
Jonathan Vows to Contain Jos Crisis (AllAfrica, Jan 19, 2010)
Jonathan vows to consolidate the gains of the (Niger Delta) amnesty (CNIELTS, February 15, 2010)
New Nigerian President Vows Electoral Reform Before Next Year’s Vote (Voice of America, May 07, 2010) “…Our total commitment to good governance, electoral reform, and the fight against corruption will be pursued with greater vigor.”
Jonathan Vows to Tackle Erosion in South-East (AllAfrica, 24 February 2011)
Jonathan Vows to Prosecute Those Behind Violence (AllAfrica, Apr 15, 2011)
Jonathan vows to end Boko Haram menace (AFP, April 19, 2012)
Jonathan vows ‘major changes’ for Nigeria (Dailymotion, April 20, 2011.
Jonathan Vows to Return Nation to Order (Vanguard, 21 April 2011.
Nigeria: President Jonathan vows to address falling education standard (West African Democracy Radio, May 18, 2011)
Nigerian President Vows to Strengthen Democratic Rule (Voice of America, May 30, 2011)
Corruption: No more sacred cows, Jonathan vows (Vanguard, July 26, 2011); would rid the nation’s procurement process of all forms of corruption, he said at the Fourth National Procurement Forum.
Nigerian president vows to bring terrorism under control, go after group that bombed U.N. building (Associated Press, August 27, 2011)
Jonathan Vows To Crush Terror Groups, says sponsors of terror groups now unveiled (Nigeria Tribune, September 23, 2011)
Jonathan vows to fix public institutions, says strong institutions recipe for Nigeria’s greatness (The Sun, Sep 28, 2011)
President Jonathan vows war on crime, saying he had put in place a new national security strategy, (Africa Review, October 2, 2011)
Jonathan vows war on crime as Nigeria turns 51 (Africa Review, October 3, 2011)
As Boko Haram changes gear, mars Eid-El-Kabir celebrations in North, Jonathan vows to protect Nigerians (National Daily newspaper, November 6, 2011)
President Jonathan Vows To Exterminate Boko Haram (blanknewsonline, December 26, 2011)
Jonathan vows to “crush terrorists” (Reuters, Dec 31, 2011)who set off a series of bombs across Nigeria on Christmas Day. “We assure Nigerians that we will protect them…We will crush the terrorists. If there are institutions … which are harbouring terrorists, we will deal with them.”
Jonathan vows to protect Nigerians (National Daily, November 6, 2011)
…it’s fight to the finish, Jonathan vows (The Punch, January 1, 2012)… he would not spare any effort aimed at fighting the sect, which he described as a “group of evil-minded people,” to the end.
Jonathan vows to work for the welfare and wellbeing of all Nigerians (Newsdiary, January 16, 2012)
Jonathan Vows to Check Destabilisation Plot (ThisDay, January 17, 2012)
We’ll wipe out Boko Haram – Jonathan (The Punch, January 23, 2012); vowed in Kano the federal government would soon wipe out the dreaded Boko Haram
Jonathan vows to increase petrol refining capacity (The Moment, February 3, 2012)
Jonathan vows to sack appointees over 2015 campaign (ThisDay, Feb 21, 2012)
Jonathan vows justice (The Nation, January 23, 2012)
Jonathan vows to replicate Asian Tiger feat in Nigeria (Channels TV, March 26, 2012)
Jonathan vows to fast-track power master plan (News Diary Online, March 26, 2012).
Jonathan Vows To End Boko Haram Menace In June (March 28, 2012, Yonhap News Agency, South Korea)
Jonathan vows to end culture of favouritism (Premium Times, April 12, 2012): “You don’t have to know somebody who knows somebody before you can be given any high office to serve in the new direction we want to chart for the country.”
I will deal with Boko Haram, Jonathan vows (Apr 13, 2012)
Jonathan vows “to sack heads of departments and parastatals indicted for lobbying members of the National Assembly for upward review of their budget (The Nation, April 14, 2012)
Jonathan vows to correct structural defects in education (Vanguard, April 15, 2012 ), lamenting that the defects in the system were responsible for the failure of children.
Jonathan vows to end Boko Haram menace (AFP News, April 19, 2012)… “security situation in Nigeria is not as gloomy as it is painted and the government ‘is working very hard’ and that we’ll bring this under control…”
Jonathan vows to eradicate polio by 2015 (Channels Television, April 24, 2012): “One thing I promise the Nigerian child, and also the Nigerian father and mother is that if we cannot solve all the health problems in this country now, one thing this present administration is committed to is to eradicate polio by 2015.”
Fuel subsidy report: Presidency vows to bring culprits to book (The Punch, April 26, 2012)…would punish all those found culpable in the N1.07tn fuel subsidy scam.
Jonathan Vows To Punish Oil Thieves (Nigerian Pilot, April 26, 2012)
“President Goodluck Jonathan has vowed that his administration will not shield any corrupt person from investigation or prosecution by the anti-graft agencies in the country (NewsDiary, May 4 2012).”
The only thing worse than incompetence is government by vows.
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