Olu Adekunle Snr on the mid term report and the role of responsible citizens
“…he who molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions. He makes statutes and decisions possible or impossible to be executed.”
— Abraham Lincoln, from his First Debate with Stephen Douglas at Ottawa, Illinois, August 21, 1858.
The debate still rages on a fortnight after his May, 29th address to the nation marking fourteen years of uninterrupted democratic rule and the second anniversary of his assumption of office as President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. His Mid-Term Report presented at the occasion has been made available for all Nigerians to appraise along the lines of their chosen criteria.
As expected, the Mid Term Report has generated keen reviews from a cross section of the Nigerian populace with each group and individual, whether lay or learned, expressing divergent views on the performance of the Jonathan administration so far. Despite the diverse opinions expressed by Nigerians on the issue, there has been a relatively general agreement on the fact that President Goodluck Jonathan has exhibited rare courage and confidence in presenting a score sheet of his administration’s performance just half way into his tenure.
Unfortunate but expected were the vituperations of the opposition and self styled defenders of the interests of the people. In the past week, they have shouted themselves hoarse on the platform of various media in an attempt to downplay the very obvious achievements of the Jonathan administration and referring to the Mid Term Report in very uncomplimentary terms. Divided into various schools of thought, they sought to skew the perceptions of the citizenry towards aligning with their faulty analysis which included amongst others the claim that Jonathan merely inherited already ongoing projects which he has come to identify as his initiatives. Others were aggressive in their analysis and pointedly labeled the Mid Term Report a political gimmick aimed at deceiving the citizenry.
Which ever way one looks at it, our democracy and our quest for sustainable development is in danger of being hijacked by those who are bent on using every national issue as a weapon to score cheap political goals for nothing but selfish reasons. They not only thrive on heating up the polity through mundane actions, they also fervently misinform the citizenry and subsequently care less when we all take to the streets in protest of government action or inaction. For them, its all politics and the goal is not the enhancement of our wellbeing as the less discerning amongst us tend to believe, rather it is all part of a grand design to serve their selfish agendas.
It was the respected American Economist and former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration; Paul Craig Roberts who said “A country in which 42% of the population is totally misinformed is not a country where democracy is safe.”
What this means is that if we continue to allow the excesses of our so called political leaders and opinion molders to affect our individual and collective judgments, our democracy will constantly be under threat. Most of those who have made it a mission to rundown the efforts of a government which is proactively inclined do so not out of love for country but out of frustration and a desperate quest for relevance. The sooner we begin to see through their motives, the better for all of us.
The blame must however not be left at the doorstep of our political class alone. We too as law abiding and responsible citizens have a role to play in ensuring our survival and ultimately the development of our dear country. We must start at the point of genuine interest in the workings of government, the formulation and implementation of policy and of course a strong show of support for those initiatives that impact positively on our lives, Jane Anne Morris, renowned author, corporate anthropologist and activist once advised that “if you don’t know what your government is doing, you don’t live in a democracy.”
It is time to ask ourselves if we do or not. If indeed we do, then we will appreciate President Jonathan’s Mid Term Report which chronicles the achievements and general thrust of his administration. If indeed we do know what our government is doing then we are all ultimately agents of the great transformation that is taking place across the country.
The Mid Term Report is out. It not only elaborates on what has been done but also avails us a peek into the plans of government in the years to come. It is every citizen’s duty to take a stand on the issue of national development. Ours is not a mission to promote dissention rather our quest is simply to provide a platform for citizen expression on matters of national importance and participation in the arduous task of nation building.
According to Martin Luther King Jr., “The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. . . The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.” Let’s all play our part.
We invite you to express your views and reasons on the performance of the Jonathan administration in the past two years. Our views no matter how diverse, will afford us a better understanding of each other.
Its time for our voices to be heard.
Olu Adekunle Snr.