by Tolu Orekoya
In his first ever Democracy Day speech, President Goodluck Jonathan unveiled his new co-dependent agricultural-population plan. By promoting the consumption of cassava bread by a nation with “30 to 40 percent” of the population being diabetics, the president plans to boost cassava consumption and deal with the diabetes epidemic currently plaguing the nation. (Statistical data on diabetes is COMPLETELY factual and provided by the Mr. Peter Edeh [PDP] House of Representative member from Edo State.)
Carbohydrates (carbs for all you toush diet people), are usually a no-no for diabetics, whether it be the fancy sugar-laden white bread, your sugar-laden agege bread, or your starchy garri. By encouraging everyone to eat cassava bread he is hoping to boost natural fertilizer available and simultaneously reduce the population by 30 to 40 percent. Well done, Mr. President.
The president also announced that we are to pick up the United States of America’s “space race” slack. Thirteen years ago as former president Olusegun Obasanjo was making his inaugural speech, The U.S. was experiencing an economic high, Monica Lewinsky was appearing on SNL, and the Y2K bug was fueling the bunker-building industry. The Americans were also monitoring the first historical steps of the first space-walk to do their part in building the international space station. Things have changed since then: America went broke, couldn’t handle the stress and has gone on a space diet, packing up its manned space-flights, and deciding to invest more in scientific innovation here on Earth.
Investing in science? That won’t do for this great nation.
Instead, Nigeria will pick up the baton dropped by America and which other (richer) nations kinda-sorta ignored. Our space race (with whom?) is truly a vision, hearkening back to U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s space race declaration in 1961. When JFK made the speech in 1961 and gave himself nine years to accomplish the deed, (which they did in 1968, a year ahead of schedule) he was not aggressive enough in setting a deadline. GEJ aims to get it done in three years, in what will probably be a no-holds barred, free for all spending-spree, boosting the economy (of whichever country will fling us into space, probably Russia).
Achievements like electricity 24 hours a day, better healthcare, and a world-class educational system will have to wait.
The president also hopes to build a Presidential museum with $4,000 silver toilet seats (the gold ones are too expensive) and portraits painted by Leonardo da Vinci himself. Or at least that is what the price tag will tell us.
Finally, students at University of Lagos (UNILAG) showed unrestrained joy at the president’s pronouncement that the name of their institution be changed to honour Chief MKO Abiola (see picture). They took to the streets in the pouring rain to make their opinion heard – loud and long and clear. If there is one thing this president has been able to do, it has been to carry the nation along with his well-researched, well thought out ideas by truly understanding the people.
Here’s to three more years, Mr. President. Hail to the Chief!