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By Habu Dauda Fika

Recent events and a cursory layman’s review have underlined the inextricable need for reducing poverty, increasing security, combating unemployment, providing health care and spreading the foundations for a democratic ‘rights-based’ society. We all agree that Nigeria needs a sincere, capable, competent, and focused leadership. Many have said that the President has neglected his ‘selected’ mandate to govern and be a leader for all Nigerians. He is mostly viewed as the leader of the PDP and the Niger Delta. The tendencies of a ‘worst-than-military’ dictatorial proclivities and brazen authoritarian behaviour are fingerprinted all over the actions of the president and his obsequious cabinet.

Many decisions taken by the federal government, or its principal partner the PDP, are suspect after careful examination. Common sense is deeply lacking for those who assume we will accept the motivations of this government as honest; especially since it is the innocent citizens of Nigeria that continue to pay the very high price of a government that has failed to understand its role from day one. If Mr. Jonathan is serious, then his starting point must be to saddle up and lead ALL Nigerians! Most importantly he should be willing to ask and encourage all Nigerians to make substantial inputs. And I mean ALL NIGERIANS! Advice and criticism must be sought and welcomed at all times.

Most of the things that Nigerians want are easier to accomplish if the president behaves like a true Leader.

No doubt the resources to meet our development goals are abundantly available and sufficient. From common aims in the fight against poverty, from concerted action on the decaying educational system, and from the provision of security to protect life and property, to the gigantic issue of providing gainful employment for all those who want to work; there is ample opportunity for this government to provide true leadership. Instead, the past two years have provided many examples of conceited and misdirected guidance from Aso Rock.

In Nigeria today, the belief that the democratic experiment needs a radical overhaul is commonplace among our people. But the current drive for a constitutional amendment is a joke and outright dishonest.

The principal actors are engaged just for themselves. No one is seriously doing it for the good of Nigeria.

The rights and privileges of Nigerians are not even being debated. No guarantees of civil liberties are being strengthened. The checks and balances inherent in a democracy are not being reviewed. All they talk about is how to divide the MONEY, how to deny the weakest tier, and how to create more states!

The most independent office in the world is the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

No one except God can question what the president does today! Nothing else is independent in Nigeria today. The constitution amenders must busy themselves with how to make the presidency dependent and pervious to advice. It is a mistake for our constitution to put the President next to God!! I agree with another writer who stated that “the gesture to have a truly people’s constitution is commendable, and even though a few Nigerians have been given the chance to have a say, they would not be present on the floor of the National Assembly when the final decision is made! And having a say will not amount to the people’s constitution; there wishes must be entrenched in it for it to be a truly “we the people of Nigeria” constitution.”

Nigeria as a federation has too many states! But to satisfy our selfish ends, it is likely that unless we have 774 states, there will be no way to make everyone happy. I submit that the best administrative boundaries of the old 19 states are probably the best structure that unites enough of us to have a common destiny where no tribe can really feel cheated. But who can tell us what is good and right?

While Jonathan is busy making a fool of himself on CNN and other international news channels, and sounding like the ostrich with his head in the sand, the world is carefully examining the record of this government and other events in Nigeria. It is safe to say that Jonathan is not perceived as a capable leader around the globe. His friends in the US and elsewhere are now saying so in the open. In Nigeria’s media channels, we are reminded by the November 18, 2012 media chat where “the president treated us to a disappointing episode of self-confessions, incompetence and helplessness. His answers were evasive, rambling most times and full of presidential lamentations”. He assigned blame to everyone else but himself regarding the blatant and endemic levels of corruption in Nigeria today.

Now Mrs Oby Ezekwesili has shut the dirty mouths of Mr Doyin Okupe and Mr Reuben Abati! All she is asking for is a “full disclosure and accountability by the federal government on the issues of poor management of oil revenues- especially the Excess Crude Account and the Foreign Reserve Account; a total of over $67 billion.” Instead the government retorted by declaring they gave Mrs Ezekwesili N458 billion (1.9%) for education without justification. Wow! These fools forget that while the government can hold a minister accountable, it does not vitiate a citizen’s right to question his/her government. The former Minister is within her rights to ask and most Nigerians support her.

Very cloudy is the prism through which the rest of the world views Nigeria today. The need for us to effectively change many of these legitimate and some mistaken perception rest with us all, but the greatest duty is on the current leadership to ‘man up’! The situation is really calamitous and unpredictable for us and for Nigeria. It is therefore delusional for any leader (including Jonathan) to think he or she can take Nigeria and Nigerians for granted. We are too big for that impertinence.

Unfortunately, majority of our ‘accidental’ leaders have failed to foretaste this big-picture in their constant vindictive posture over power at all cost; thus confirming to us that no one, has a clear conscience or clean hands. As for the arrogance we are witnessing from our ‘selected’ office holders of the day and the ‘anointed’ office holders of tomorrow, time suffers no fools.

Habu F Dauda writes from Gwarimpa, Abuja February 20, 2013