In the age of social media, distance is not much a challenge. So it was on Wednesday when top Nigerian political figures gathered in the Federal Capital Territory for the 54th Independence Anniversary.
Before many Nigerians were out of their bedrooms, they had read the speech of President Goodluck Jonathan, which was circulated by his media aides via social media platforms. For instance, the Special Assistant to President Jonathan on Media Affairs, Dr. Reuben Abati, reached many people via the email.
After condemning the recent gale of violence, Jonathan pledged the country’s readiness to listen to members of the Boko Haram group with “genuine grievances” if they come to the dialogue table. The promise was laced with pledges of commitment to sustain the ongoing battle against unrepentant insurgents.
While he noted that Boko Haram did not mean well for any group or individual, the President said the government had embarked on notable measures to re-establish those who had been significantly affected by terrorism just as efforts were being taken to salvage the battered northeast economy.
He described the recently-convened National Conference as a promise kept, urging Nigerians to appreciate the project as the greatest centenary gift.
On the same social media, however, most Nigerians think differently in their assessment of the performance of the Jonathan administration.
Yemi Adewuyi of Yemoade Communications said on Facebook that the President wasted the opportunity to lambast the opposition party instead of listing efforts taken to tackle corruption.
According to him, terrorist activities are fuelled by alarming corruption, which needs to be addressed with dispatch. He also attributed the unstable economy and other ills in the country to corruption, which the present administration is yet to address.
Fadare Adewumi, a student of a federal university, also said on the same platform that there was no basis for celebration, as a larger proportion of the citizens were yet encumbered. He said Nigeria could not be described as a free society when most Nigerians were not economically liberated.
While the country is self-governed, he noted, selfishness had taken over the place of selfless leadership that is required to effect true change.
Also, Obinna Nwaleke, a businessman, said the anniversary should have been used to reflect on where the country went wrong instead of merry- making. He said the President could not justify the essence of celebration if he were an honest leader.
According to Paul Bernard, the Jonathan administration has more questions that should keep it busy instead of fooling Nigerians. He tasked the President to rest his self-assessment while he deals with different cases of corruption leveled against some serving ministers and other individuals, which he has been shielding.
He noted that Nigerians would have found explanation on how the missing oil money was explained more consoling at the crucial anniversary.
But Agbo Marcel of the Institute of Technology and Management, Enugu, urged calm and patience. He enjoined Nigerians to patiently support Jonathan and give him more time to complete the Transformation Agenda.
Marcel noted that the President, being a man of vision, would not fail on his promise. He also called on fellow citizens to be positive about the fate of the country.
Ezeh Edwin also observed modest improvement in the economy in the past few years. He noted that Jonathan had painstakingly added strides to the country.
Source: THE PUNCH