HOUSE NUMBER 13.......PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN AND HIS STERLING LEADERSHIP QUALITIES! By Kunle Rotimi

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I have carefully and objectively studied the personality of Dr Goodluck Jonathan from his debut into party politics. Between 1999 and this time, he started as Deputy Governor in his home Bayelsa State, later as Governor in the same state. He rose to become Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, subsequently as acting President while his equally amiable boss, the late President Umaru Yar’Adua was terminally ill. And Dr Jonathan eventually assumed the office of President when unfortunately Yar’Adua died in harness, in May 2010. After completing the joint-term in 2011, President Jonathan contested presidential election and won convincingly. Considering his successive bouts of civilian leadership from 1999 to date, President Jonathan has had unprecedented and meteoric elevations along the success-ladder of civil governance. Within 15 years of Nigeria’s return to democracy, after a long span of military rule, President Jonathan has had the most cognate experience in leadership roles, in quick succession. These leadership-rung indicators have contributed in no small measure to his enviable qualities, relevant experience, expansive capacity, resource capabilities and suitability for a second term as substantive President in Nigeria. If we draw up a check-list of person-specification criteria for any eligible Nigerian today, for presidency, it will only be rational to objectively consider the following; cognate presidential experience, good and verifiable academic qualifications, calm and honest disposition, personal integrity and emotional intelligence, self-control in public utterances, benevolence and non-incendiary comments, cross-cultural values, good managerial skills, patriotic spirit, loyalty to and respect for constituted authority, no record of subduing the Constitution of Nigeria, humility, trustworthiness, listening ear and pre-senility age, matrimonial chastity(not parading multiple spouses), intestinal tolerance of bitter criticisms, consistence in party membership and discipline; President Jonathan possesses all these qualities, more than any other contenders for presidency since 1999 to date! At 57 years, President Jonathan’s jolly ascension to all the high leadership positions from 1999 to date has never been by morbid ambition, force or violence. By his simple pedigrees, he is not a wicked, haughty or desperate person and does not have delight in bloodshed to get to power. As deputy governor, Jonathan did not antagonize his boss; neither did he plan his ouster. Mother Nature just made Jonathan Governor, Vice President, acting President and President in row, when time came, almost effortlessly! As vice president, he was very loyal to his boss till the end, even after President Yar’Adua died; Jonathan is still loyal to Umaru’s family and people! And it took the legislative doctrine of necessity and national rallies by eminent personalities like Prof Soyinka and Tunde Bakare’s SNG before President Jonathan accepted to act for his sick boss. He did not strive to assume the acting capacity! The societal opportunities and privileges bestowed on President Jonathan have prepared him amply for leadership maturity. He is a cool-headed natural leader, not a bully, as he does not have running battle with his Vice President, Namadi Sambo! This has kept the presidency united and cordial, and the polity is not overheated, in the past 4 years! Unlike the former President Obasanjo versus frmer VP Atiku’s feud and power-show, occasioned by the inordinate ambition of both, from 2003-2007! Jonathan’s managerial skills avail him good knowledge to distinguish between normal & abnormal situations; through which he has been able to keep this very big country united and manage some crises since he assumed presidency. Through his managerial skills, he has astutely built tangible mechanisms to expose abnormalities as soon as they are identified. This is the case with the controversial fuel subsidy removal in January 2012, which exposed some oil thieves and their scams, practised long before his assumption of office! President Jonathan, in sincerity of purpose, inaugurated the most successful National Conference which has just submitted its report after six months of sitting. The 2014 National Confab, headed by retired Justice Idris Kutigi, with other distinguished Nigerians, labour leaders and civil society groups, is the most credible of all the previous confabs orchestrated by past administrations. President Jonathan has also signed into law Freedom of Information Act, since 2011. The Act has given every citizen unprecedented privileges and statutory right to get information about any official conduct or secrets. This has brought about the willingness of good Nigerians and press to report problems without hesitation and comment freely without being gagged or imprisoned. No Nigerian journalists have been jailed by President Jonathan, for reporting any story. No insulting rats on social media have been prosecuted by him, unlike what some governors did to those who insulted them! It is reported that President Jonathan has no foreign bank accounts and his children attend Nigerian schools! Under his administration, Nigeria has become the largest economy in Africa and the 26th in the world, with increased GDP. Agriculture has had the largest boost ever and foreign direct investments have been honed, especially in automotive industry. All these have potentials to create more jobs for the citizens! The mature manner with which President Jonathan, a Christian, has managed the spates of insecurity in parts of Nigeria, especially in the north, is very remarkable. The ethno-religious violence in Muslims-dominated north, which has snowballed into full-scale terrorism and warfare against Nigeria, has been carefully managed in such a way that the scourge does not aggravate to internecine war as in Somali or spread largely beyond a pliant geo-political zone, out of six major ones. This has made 85% of Nigerian population relatively peaceful and terror-free! Despite the seeming battle-pressure mounted by the boko harams on the military and security personnel in the course of curbing the insurgency, a sudden ray of success has begun to show, with steady victory being reported over the terrorists, in recent time by Nigerian gallant troops. This is also remarkable! When the deadly Ebola virus was imported into Nigeria by an accursed American-Liberian on 20 July 2014 through Lagos State; with the full cooperation of the dynamic Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola SAN, the President swiftly swung into action, and within 2 months, the EVD has been effectively contained. President Jonathan carried along all Nigerians and public functionaries to fight the Ebola epidemic, to a standstill. The way Nigeria combated the Ebola disease greatly impresses the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the global community. It is logical to conclude that, if all the Governors and public functionaries in terror-stricken states in the north can fully cooperate with President Jonathan, in the same way Lagos and Rivers States’ government genuinely cooperated to fight the EVD, terrorism will not be as severe in the northeast. It is fair to admit that terrorism is not peculiar to Nigeria, it is an ugly global phenomenon from which Nigeria has had unfair share; and President Jonathan is not resting on his oars, as he is not the founder of boko harams’ activities. If today, the Islamic insurgents and their bloody sponsors bring back their lost patriotic senses, by stopping the needless killings, abduction and bombings in their enclaves, there will be peace and faster progress in Nigeria. The funds being expended by Jonathan administration to fight terrorism will have been used for developmental needs and infrastructural growth in the country. It is unfair to blame Goodluck Jonathan for the act of the insurgents targeted directly at his presidency! Notwithstanding the menace of the hoodlums and those who do not wish Nigeria well, since 2010 to date, it is fair to admit that some remarkable achievements have been recorded in Nigeria. We can objectively notice these in the aviation sector, with improvements in airports’ facilities as against what they were before President Jonathan! The dead railways have witnessed some revitalization, expansion and modernisation, some major federal roads are reconstructed, dualized, expanded and resurfaced, additional 12 federal universities, many schools for the long-abandoned street urchins (‘’almanjiri’s’’) in the north, regular supply of fuel at all petrol stations, honing of electricity megawatts beyond pre-2010 through steady reforms in power sector, increasing employment opportunities through YOUWIN/agriculture/FDI, establishment of jobs creation board to provide more employment, especially in agro-allied and MSME’s development, construction of second Niger Bridge, strengthening of the 3rd Mainland Bridge in Lagos, upgrading of Enugu Airport to international class, and so on. These are verifiable transformative achievements! Yes, President Jonathan has not exceeded the expectations of most well-meaning Nigerians, but, under the difficult circumstances in which he has governed, the records of his achievements outweigh those of his predecessors, (even those with longer tenures) in some ways! What every citizen owes Nigeria is to support the steps of progress being made, in our own little ways, in national interest. If no one vandalizes power transformers, cables, gas or fuel pipelines, if no one steals Nigerian oil, if no one terrorizes innocent citizens, if no one sponsors political thugs, violence and terrorism, if no one kidnaps, if no one embezzles public or pension funds, if no one corruptly enriches oneself, if no one defaults in paying taxes and electricity bills, Nigeria will be better than it is. The task of nation-building is collective, not presidential alone! President Jonathan is the Commander-in-Chief, yes, but he needs every citizen to patriotically queue up behind the single file of progressive match-pasts! President Jonathan can do better if all of us make positive contributions in our respective spheres of influence, as responsible citizens with good patriotic spirit. Let us avoid the pull-him-down syndrome that keeps perpetrators perpetually behind the wheel of progress. The barren complaints or jeremiads being reeled off by some criticasters against President Jonathan will not be necessary if we all do what is needful and meaningful towards a better Nigeria. Let us be the agents of the positive change we want in Nigeria. Let our genuine concerns and complaints be channelled into well-articulated problems- recognition, with proffered solutions, recommendations or suggestions, which may be found useful for national growth and development. It is not only when any acrimonious and selfish persons get into elective or appointive public offices, that they can ‘’serve the nation’’ or make useful contributions. Every Nigerian, irrespective of tribe or religion is entitled to any national office!

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