It has become customary of President Goodluck Jonathan to reel out promises almost at the drop of the hat. There is nothing wrong with making promises. But the urgent burden of national expectations demands that any promise made should be well thought through.
Leadership is about responsibility and being responsive to the expectations of the people. However, delivering on promises made is what counts. It should not be based on the delusion of wishful thinking. That, it appears, has become the Achilles heel of the Jonathan administration. In what looks like optimism for 2013, Jonathan recently assured of a better performance in public infrastructure.
This, he said, would include the power sector, security, education and transportation (roads construction, railways and airports development) among other critical sectors of the economy. The president dropped these promises during his Christmas message to the nation. His words: “let me assure all Nigerians that 2013 will be better for us than 2012 in all aspects of the nation’s history. The new year will be better in terms of job and wealth creation and improved security, among others”.
He however acknowledged the doubts being expressed about his government’s ability to translate the promises into reality because of what he termed the “tedious processes” involved in those challenges. All the same, it must be said that as lofty, ambitious and desirable the president’s promises appear on paper, there is no clarity of purpose, no genuine commitment, in fact, no concrete evidence on ground that these promises stand a good chance of being actualized.
What, for instance, is the evidence that the intractable conundrum of the power sector will improve any time soon, or the insecurity in the land will be contained or the transportation system, especially our roads that have become death-traps will be tackled? The standard of education has continued to fall. Indeed, there is little or nothing on ground to justify the President’s optimism.
Talk is cheap. Walking the talk is the cutting edge that determines the success or failure of any agenda or programme. So far, President Jonathan has dwelt too long on the realm of promises and has squandered public trust and national expectation. Two years in office is sufficient time to articulate a comprehensive programme of action that can lift the country out of the present doldrums and malaise. Rather, what the government is giving Nigerians remains a harvest of promises. It is more like one step forward, several steps backward, often drawing lines in the sand. Nigerians deserve more than they are currently getting from the Jonathan administration. Government needs reminding that things are moving thick and fast and therefore must prove that it can match its promises with concrete action that the people can see and touch. The power sector remains the catalyst that can galvanize other sectors of the economy.
Yet, despite huge investment in the sector, government is far from generating its targeted mega watts for 2012. Also, contrary to the president’s wish, small-scale businesses such as barbing salons continue to run on generating sets and their owners are not breaking even while many big commercial concerns are operating 24 hours on generators. The toll on the economy has been enormous. We wonder how the president expects to meet his transformation agenda on these woeful indices and transform himself from the “most criticized president in the world, to the most praised president in 2013”.
If he is not deluding himself by that wishful thinking, he must quickly come to the stark realities on ground that promises are fantasies and mere slogans until and unless they become tangible things that can impact positively on the lives of the people. We advise him to muster enough political will in addressing urgent national issues. Nothing less will do.