The Worth Of Transformation In Naira And Crude By Emeka Jerome
The world has been awash by insults and propaganda that attended the campaigns for the forthcoming general election. The two main political parties in the election; the PDP and APC, the former promising to continue the TRANSFORMATION Agenda if re-elected, the later promising a total overhaul of the system #CHANGE if elected. Lies, blackmails, ethnic and religious instigations were at the peak as outright prophetic doom was deployed.
In this contest, the fate of the ruling party is in her own hands. What was more a party that has been in power at the centre for almost sixteen (16) years and had boosted to remain in power for 50 years? That the ruling party is jittery means one of two things. It is either she has performed below the gauge thus, cannot return on merit or the gods are against her wishes. In any case descending to lies, blackmail, insults, ethnic and religious instigation is definitely out of it.
On May 29, 2011 having completed the tenor of his late boss, President Jonathan was sworn in for a fresh start. His election heralded hope and good life. Top in the list of challenges to tackle: Corruption, unemployment, insecurity and power, were captured as TRANSFORMATION AGENDA. For a man who was catapulted to the exalted office by shear providence sentiments swelled by his side but mixed with expectations. Four years down the drain, the word “Transformation” is naked. It has since vanished from the echo hall. If a little is heard, it is from the mega speaker.
The nation was near standstill owing to the activities of militias (Boko Haram) in most part of the North especially in the North East. Instead of nipping the menace in the bud, the news round town was that the terror group is an Islamic movement against Christians. Attacks after attacks, the news gained fresh falsehood that Boko Haram is a Northern political agenda to destabilize the government of President Jonathan and return power to the North. In all these, one was worried that government folded her arms but merely condemned the attacks as if it’s no man’s business.
The presidency and PDP pointed accusing fingers at the opposition. The main opposition presidential candidate was to blame. It took the courage of general Azazi (May his soul rest in peace) the then National Security Adviser (NSA) to the president to stop the blame game that has become a total distraction in the face of an urgent national matter. If anyone was in doubt of general Azazi’s allegation the president was on hand to dispel such doubt. He told the world that Boko Haram members are in his cabinet. But the president refused to mention names and was comfortable with them serving in his cabinet. The attack continued as every hit left dozens of deaths and fresh wounds to bear not to mention the kidnap of over 200 Chibok girls, most of them are yet to return home. Trillions of Naira has been squandered on security without relative success. That the election was postponed on security reasons is an admission of failure by the government. What a TRANSFORMATION!
Corruption is decorated with higher rank. If it was a captain in the past it has now become a colonel. Those stealing the nation’s resources have the full blessings of the president. Corrupt public servants jailed by previous governments were not only pardoned but decorated with party tickets to run for various elective positions. Those whose cases were pending in court were either let out of the hook or case undecided till date.
For the first time, the Nigeria Immigration Service NIS perfected a scam. Almost a million jobless youths fell for it. The scam has left a record as the only exams ever conducted in stadiums.Some people died in the stampede while other sustained various degree of injury. Apart from the families of those that died, no one received employment or refund till date. The pension scam, subsidy scam, NNPC scam and many more. The key actors in the scams live like lords. What was more, the president has continued to massage corruption with his words “stealing is not corruption”. What a TRANSFORMATION!
Unemployment rate is alarming in the rich Nigeria economy plundered by the political elites and their cronies. In the minds of the elites, Nigeria resources belong to them as such they swim in affluence while millions of Nigerians live from joblessness to endless struggle for their daily bread. One does not need fabricated figures by government to know that unemployment rate is in the rise. Today the rate is 24.2% as against 11.8% when President Jonathan came on board. In case you are in doubt, make a public announcement for a job of 30k and you will be shock at the number of graduates that will turn up. Or let the government take stock by calling on job seekers to register by number in the local governments across the country. Some dubious employers have added to the frustration as they do not pay their employees at when due.
The power sector is something more serious. This is a sector President Jonathan had boasted to breathe a fresh air in 2011. The DISCOs are finding it increasingly difficult to meet the demands of electric consumers. Allocations upon allocations have not yielded the desired result. In a smart move to further catch the attention of the public the president was in Ogun state recently to recommission some power projects. The bills are in the rise without significant improvement in power supply. With trillions of naira already spent, power generation goes up in the raining season and drop below 4000mw thereafter. What a Transformation!
Those on the threshold of corruption and sentiment have gone ahead making a mockery of the mirage called Transformation. Top in the list of achievements of President Jonathan are the building of 140 Almajiri schools, 9 universities, Commissioning of the yet to be constructed 2nd Niger bridge, resuscitated rail lines that have brought locomotive trains to business (which is likened to a night bus, the type referred to as akpuruka) and other achievements that can be viewed on television. One of President Jonathan’s media aides, Mr Doyin Okupe was quoted in one of his chats that Nigerians don’t deserve modern trains because “Nigeria is not America”. One hopes the nine universities can boast of modern infrastructure in a good academic atmosphere. The existing schools are suffering from infrastructural decay. ASUU was on strike for over six months. ASUP strike went on for over 10 months before it was called off. As I write ASUP is threatening to begin strike over agreement gone sour. Under President Jonathan’s government the rating of our universities has slipped further down the ladder. No Nigeria University is among the Top 20 universities in Africa. Most Nigeria students now go on academic pilgrimage abroad. What a Transformation!
Some have suddenly forgotten how President Jonathan’s New Year gift in his first year in office left most families stranded in their villages while their businesses rot away in the cities. His New Year gift was packaged to humiliate those who had travelled home for CHRISTMAS celebration. The official pump price of fuel jumped from N65 to N145. It took the mass protests to force the pump price to N97.
The global price of crude oil has dropped below $55 per barrel and as expected the government announced a dubious reduction of pump price of PMS to float the corruption in the subsidy regime. Most filling stations sell above N100 per liter as those selling at N87 have since adjusted their meters to suit their greed. The question in the minds of many is why the price of diesel and kerosene in the free market refused to drop.
With the price of crude selling at $54 per barrel the nation’s economy is threatened. The external reserve is skinny as the government didn’t deem it wise to save for the raining days. For a government that was basking in the euphoria of surplus on the benchmark its obvious the word “Transformation” is in much deep trouble. The worth of TRANSFORMATION is the exchange rate that has jumped from N142 to N223 per a dollar in the black market. The nation’s economy is shaking as the price of crude in the international market has dropped below the benchmark proposed in the budget. We have reached the stage where austerity has reared its ugly head. A stage when we no longer talk of excess crude account but deficit.
That the presidency has descended to employing all manners of derogatory propaganda and bigotry to get hold of the public is the extent desperation. Tax payers’ money is used to sell President Jonathan’s achievements in print, electronic and social media. But they are deceiving themselves. The world can’t be deceived (in the words of the president “America will know”). Some sections of the foreign media have described President Jonathan as a failed president.
Above sentiments, the worth of Transformation is N223 per a dollar and $54 per a barrel of crude without a robust external reserve for the raining days.
Opinion expressed on this page is solely that of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Abusidiqu.com and/or its associates.