From JULIANA TAIWO-OBALONYE, Abuja
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, yesterday accused political propagandists of being behind the latest accusation describing President Goodluck Jonathan as being incompetent or clueless.
In a statement, Okupe said the President’s background does not fall into the mould of incompetence or cluelessness no matter how the opposition tries to sell it to the Nigerian populace. Okupe, who went academic in defending his boss, said, “by definition, Reference Dictionary says “Incompetence is lacking qualification or ability”.
Webster Dictionary defines it as “lacking the qualities needed for effective action. “Going by the above definitions, President Jonathan is perhaps the most academically qualified Nigerian President ever. By cognate qualification, no President has had the experience, preparation and tutelage for the post of the President than Goodluck Jonathan.
“He was deputy governor, governor, vice president, Acting president and elected President, taking the Webster Dictionary definition, an incompetent person, lacks the qualities needed for effective action. We do not wish to assert the obvious fact that the President has the requisite qualification for effective action, rather, we will examine the challenges that faced the nation before his election as President and state how he has tackled them.
This will also probably disprove the Governor Fashola’s “mechanic allegory,” he said. Okupe listed key challenges facing the Jonathan administration which include power, infrastructural decay, youth unemployment, and inability to diversify the economy, economic instability, insecurity and corruption.
On power, he said major challenges in the sector were: “low generating capacity (output less than 3000 MW), abandoned NIPP, unavailability of gas to service the NIPP, transmission challenges, protracted Inability to unbundle the PHCN and the eventual privatization of the sector. According to him,” roads were in state of disrepair nation-wide, Nigerian Railway Corporation was not functional, and airports were in state of total dilapidation, most of them without any maintenance for decades.
Okupe said the administration has so far awarded the Benin-Sagamu road and presently, the commuting time had been reduced from 12 hours and above to four hours. “The Lagos-Ibadan Expressway concession was decisively dealt with and immediate rehabilitative efforts were carried out by Julius Berger and RCC, which reduced the burden on commuters on that road during the Christmas holidays. Abuja-Lokoja Expressway is progressing steadily Kano – Maiduguri road is in progress.
“The East-West Road despite the negative reports by detractors, has made significant progress with most of its concrete works and bridges nearly completed. Onitsha-Enugu-Port Harcourt dual carriageway, a distance of 1664km is due for completion in 2013. The second Niger Bridge: – N5 billion has been set aside for commencement of work.
On railway, “the Lagos-Jebba-Kano railine which had been shut down for over 20 years has commenced successful operations since December 2012. The Abuja-Kaduna modern gauge rail line is over 35% completion. Ajaokuta-Warri modern garage railline has been completed. A new modern gauge rail line from Lagos to Ibadan was awarded towards the end of last year.
The Port Harcourt-Maiduguri (Eastern Rail line) will start operation anytime from now”. On aviation, Okupe said 22 airports were earmarked for re-modeling and rehabilitation. Eleven have been completed and commissioned. Five new terminals in Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Enugu as well as six Cargo Terminals will begin this year. On youth’s unemployment, Okupe said, “incidence of youth unemployment has been a global challenge in the last few years with Europe having over 40 per cent youth unemployment.
In Nigeria, unemployment figure is put at between 26 and 30 per cent and this problem has been vigorously tackled by the Jonathan administration in the last two years. We want to assure Nigerians that with the undoubted and continued effective implementations of the Transformation Agenda, Nigeria will never ever be the same again. Achievements and competence are always not judged by noise-making, propaganda and deception which are the hallmarks of the activities of the Nigerian opposition,” Okupe said.