Opinion: 40 reasons why you should re-elect GEJ in 2015

by Chinedu Nnawetanma

The Goodluck Jonathan administration no doubt has had its good and bad times just like any other administration charged with the leadership of a large and diverse entity such as Nigeria. In the 4 years that he has been the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, there have been flaws which are all well documented in the local and international media. Over the course of those four years there have also been successes and giant leaps which often receive little or no media coverage and public attention. This may not be unconnected with the notion that “bad news is good for business” in journalism. The simple fact that bad news catches the attention of the public more than a good news may be the reason for the Nigerian press’ myopic and indifferent reportage of the great feats of the current administration.

President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan has often challenged Nigerians to compare his administration’s achievements with those of his predecessors before they judge him, but getting a comprehensive list of those achievements is usually a daunting task due to the paucity of information and Nigeria’s poor reputation when it comes to record-keeping. Below is a list of some of the ways in which the Goodluck Jonathan presidency has silently transformed Nigeria from its dark ages of underdevelopment to a 21st century economic and political force. The list, however, is not complete and it may be missing out on some key developments.

1. Promotion and practice of true democracy by creating an enabling environment where people from diverse backgrounds and with divergent views and opinions can be accommodated. Under his watch, the APC was registered by INEC as a mega opposition party big enough to challenge the PDP at both state and national levels. This would have been unthinkable some years back.

2. Conduct of free and fair elections in the country, including the 2011 poll which was adjudged to be the most credible election of its magnitude that has ever been conducted in the country, though it was not without its flaws. Unlike in other administrations, the Goodluck Jonathan presidency has given a free hand to the country’s electoral umpire, INEC, to perform its statutory duties.

3. Relative non-interference with electoral and judicial matters as evident in the number of governorship elections that have been won both at the polls and in the court by opposition parties in Anambra, Imo, Osun, among others.

4. Liberalization of the press and guaranteeing the freedom of speech in a country where the stifling of the press and suppression of the citizens’ right to freedom of speech used to be the norm; a legacy of over 30 years of military rule. The existence of vocal anti-government media houses and critics would have culminated in some high profile assassinations some years back, but today citizens are free to air their views whenever and wherever they like just like any other sane country.

5. Opening up of Nigeria to the global business community and becoming Africa’s number one destination of foreign investors. In the first six months of 2014, a total of US$9.70 billion or N1.51 trillion flowed into the national economy as foreign direct investments (FDI).

6. Under the Jonathan administration, Nigeria re-based it’s GDP for the first time in over a decade to become the largest economy in Africa, overtaking South Africa and Egypt in the process.

7. Nigeria now has one of the fastest growing large economies in the world with an annual GDP growth rate of over 7.3. Nigeria is on course to break into the 20 largest economies of the world by 2020.

 Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote’s net worth increased from US$2.1 billion at the start of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s administration to US$23 billion in 2014, making him Forbes’ richest black person in the world and the overall 26th richest in the world. He attributed this mammoth increase in his monetary worth to Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s favourable economic policies.

8. The Nigerian foreign exchange reserve reached an all-time high of US$38.1 billion in January 2014.

9. Proceeds from Nigeria’s non-oil exports rose to $2.97 billion by the end of 2013, up from $2.3 billion in 2010.

10. Establishment of the sovereign wealth fund of Nigeria in 2012; the first time Nigeria has done so since independence in 1960. It currently stands at US$1.3 billion. According to an entry on Wikipedia about sovereign wealth funds, “SWFs are typically created when governments have budgetary surpluses and have little or no international debt. This excess liquidity is not always possible or desirable to hold as money or to channel into immediate consumption. This is especially the case when a nation depends on raw material exports like oil, copper or diamonds. In such countries, the main reason for creating a SWF is because of the properties of resource revenue: high volatility of resource prices, unpredictability of extraction, and exhaustibility of resources.”

11. Initiation of the YOUWIN program in 2011. The Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YOUWIN) program aims to generate over 100,000 jobs for innovative unemployed youths across the country in the course of three years. It is currently in its third year.

12. Nigerians are now a step closer to being fully integrated into the international e-commerce community with the approval and reinclusion of Nigeria as one of the Paypal-compliant countries after being banned from using the service at the peak of the advanced fee fraud (419 scams). With Paypal, Nigerians can now pay for goods and services online from anywhere in the world.

13. Establishment of the Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) in 2010 to stabilize Nigeria’s banking and corporate sector.

14. Revival of the dead automotive industry in Nigeria, by making the country the top destination for investments in automobile manufacturing. Global auto giants like Peugeot, Nissan and Hyundai now either assemble or wholly manufacture small cars, Sport Utility Vehicles, trucks and buses at various locations in Nigeria. In addition to that, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company (IVM), Nigeria’s flagship indigenous automaker, began the sale of their first made-in-Nigeria cars and SUVs in August.

15. Nigeria became the first country in West Africa to host the World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2014. It was also the most successful World Economic Forum for Africa (WEFA) in history, boasting of a global reach of 2.1 billion people according to estimates.

16. Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote’s net worth increased from US$2.1 billion at the start of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s administration to US$23 billion in 2014, making him Forbes’ richest black person in the world and the overall 26th richest in the world. He attributed this mammoth increase in his monetary worth to Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s favourable economic policies.

17. Construction and beautification of many federal roads in the country, including the Lagos-Benin expressway, Abuja-Lokoja expressway, Enugu-Abakiliki expressway, Onitsha-Owerri highway and most parts of the Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway.

18. Construction of the second Niger Bridge between Onitsha and Asaba to relieve the pressure on the old Niger Bridge which was completed in December 1965.

19. Revival of the comatose railway system of transportation in the country.

20. Remodelling, beautification and standardization of airports across the country. In addition to that, aircraft from Nigeria are now allowed to fly directly to the United States of America instead of going through many stopovers in Amsterdam and some other European cities along/in the route.

21. Upgrading the Akanu Ibiam Airport in Enugu into an international airport, directly connecting the South-East region of the country to the outside world for the first time since independence.

22. Dredging of the lower Niger River and increasing the accessibility of inland ports such as Onitsha and Lokoja.

23. Establishment of 9 federal universities across the country in states which previously had no federal degree awarding institution.

24. Computerizing education in the country with the introduction of the computer-based test (CBT) which will be mandatory for all UTME candidates from 2015.

25. Introduction of the Almajiri system of education in the academically disadvantage northern parts of the country.

26. Totally eradicating or bringing to the barest minimum once-endemic diseases like poliomyelitis and guinea worm in the country.

27. Arresting the outbreak of the deadly and highly contagious Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in record time, though it unfortunately claimed some lives at the onset.

28. Transformation of the agricultural sector so that, in the words of Agriculture minister Akinwumi Adesina, “Nigerians will stop thinking of agriculture just as a means of livelihood, but more as a business.”

29. Nigeria has reduced its food imports by over 40% as of 2013, moving the country closer to self sufficiency in agriculture.

30. Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of cassava with an output of over 45 million metric tonnes in 2014 according to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

31. Due to favourable economic policies, internet penetration in Nigeria has now increased from about 45 million in 2011 to 63 million in 2014, overtaking countries such as the United Kingdom and France in the process. What this means is that more people now use the internet in Nigeria than in the UK and France.

32. As of the second quarter of 2014, the number of registered active telephone lines in Nigeria stood at 130 million out of a total of over 170 million telephone lines.

33. Introduction of the Nigerian electronic identity card (e-ID card), one of the most secure in the world and the largest in Africa. The e-ID card serves as both an international identification module and an electronic payment solution.

34. Introduction of the cash-less system which aims to encourage the use of e-payment systems in the country and reduce the volume of physical cash in circulation.

35. Unbundling of the dysfunctional Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) into about 18 profit-driven successor companies.

36. In October 2013, Nigeria was elected into the United Nation’s Security Council as a non-permanent, non-veto member. It is currently in its two-year tenure of 2014-15. It is the second time Nigeria will be a member of the exclusive club in Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency having been part of the Security Council in 2011-12. Nigeria previously served on the Security Council from 1966-67, 1978-79, 1994-95 and 2011-12.

37. The Nigeria national under-17 football team won an unprecedented 4th world title in 2013, making Nigeria the most successful country in the tournament’s history with four titles and three runner ups.

38. Under the watch of President Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria won the African Cup of Nations for the first time in 19 years in South Africa in February, 2013.

39. Nigeria ended up with 11 gold , 11 silver and 14 bronze medals at the recently concluded 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, finishing 8th in the overall ranking.

40. Women in politics have been given more prominent roles in the current administration. A large number of the federal appointees of the Goodluck Jonathan administration are women. They include, but are not limited to, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Miriam Aloma Mukhtar, Nigeria’s first female Chief Justice; Diezani Alison-Madueke; ex-aviation minister Stella Oduah, Joy Ogwu, Nigeria’s representatives at the United Nations; Sarah Jibril; and Viola Onwuliri.

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Chinedu George Nnawetanma is a social commentator, he wrote in via [email protected]

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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