Jonathanism, Jonathan & The New Nigeria

By Dr. Gndaiu Ysie

Title:    The 2015 Presidential
Election [or] The Verdict
[or] Victory Before Election
Author:    David John Salihi
Genre:    Critical Essay
Pages:    214
Publisher:     Abeysteph Global Link Ltd.
Year of Publication:  2014

General Perspective
It is the celestial vocation of inspired minds to perform acts of wonders and awe. It is likewise a celestial calling of another set of inspired minds to chronicle such acts for the benefit of emerging generations and those to come. Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan stands very tall in the former category while David John Salihi belongs to the latter.
This review is in respect of perhaps the most concise and bare-faced chronicle of the amazing acts of Goodluk Jonathan as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The review provides a systematic x-ray of the template of David Salihi’s 3 titles-book – The 2015 Presidential Election, The Verdict or  Victory Before Election; it seeks to shower light on the open pages of a monumental account of one man’s commitment to emancipate his people from long-worn cloaks of suffering and socio-economic mediocrity.

Preamble to David’s book
The psyche of the Nigerian citizenry has been heavily battered by repeated years of mis-governance before the advent of President Goodluck Jonathan. Akin to the phenomenon obtainable in Pavlov’s classical experiment of conditioned reflex, even the obvious appearance of a liberator and the opening of the prison door is not enough incentive to push Nigerians out of the familiar terrains of sufferings and attachment to the sentiments that vicious past rulers have employed in keeping them in servitude.
Although the citizenry can see the country-wide achievements and the tell-tale signs that this is the leader the nation has been waiting for, many still feel more comfortable to live in the lies of the promoters of the decadent status-quo. This group will do anything, everything, to frustrate the meaningful and purposeful drive towards restoration of Nigeria to decency. Toying with the minds of the citizens using the totems of religious affiliation, ethnic affinity and such colourations; they seek to distract the innocent and unwary citizens from seeing the reality.
Fortunately, the times have changed and the majority can read between the lines; they know for a certainty their real enemies.

Jonathan & divinity
From Otueke to Oloibiri to Choba to far away Iresi and finally to Aso-Rock, David traced the divine trajectory of this human phenomenon called Jonathan. He identified in the unique track of his life those divine emblems indicative of a soul specially commissioned by divine authority for a spectacular assignment.
Right from the ‘shores of the intertwining rivers…’ where no doubt the first wave of the divine epiphany of his life’s assignment were first experienced in his conjugal affiliation with the tides and the creative force of the shore’s flora, he, Jonathan had always walked in the divine aura. His steps, every one of them as identified in David Salihi craft have been dotted by divine fingers.
After serving as substantive Governor for one and a half years and Vice-President for 3 years, Jonathan found himself thrust onto the gargantuan seat of the highest office in Nigeria. According to Salihi, the chain of events that led to this concluding episode was not the making of Goodluck Jonathan. First was the impeachment of the erstwhile Governor Alamaesiegha, second was the terminal illness that took the life of President Umaru Yaradua away.
Was there an unseen divine hand working behind the scenes?These momentous and historical events were in no way the handiwork of Goodluck Jonathan. In fact, one can deduce from the tone of David’s writing that he, Goodluck considered both of these events (the removal of then Governor of Bayelsa before him and death of President Yaradua) sad and unfortunate, tragic even. And so his ascension to power was on the wings of divine cherub and not those of personal ambition. He was ferried to power; he did not carry himself. He was divinely chosen; he did not have to seek.
In GEJ’s ascension, we find the import of his name, Goodluck – an epithet that reminds us and teaches that providence and the divine are forces which the armies of conceit cannot repress, cannot defeat. That is the message of David Salihi’s opening chapter of his elegant homily to the nation.

Sectoral consideration
Deploying a sector-by-sector analytical approach, David books in 17 chapters throws deep light to x-ray the 8 core sectors of Nigeria’s life: power, health, defence, education, transport, housing, agriculture and manufacturing. Other germane and strategic aspects of the Transformation agenda like the SURE-P were also given holistic consideration.
In chapters 2 and 3, David deployed his sharpest sectorscope to analyse the most assailed sector in Nigeria’s national life for half of a decade now – security. Without any masks or attempt at window dressing, he opens the sectoral analysis with a down-to-earth interrogation of the Boko Haram insurgency. Reeling to us 15 recent tragic incidences of the insurgents’ demonstration of wanton disregard for human lives and dignity, the book explored the origin of the insurgency as well as the ultimate motive – to undermine the integrity of Nigeria’s federal government and deface our nationalism.
Chapters 4, 5 & 6 provide in-depth analyses of the transformation agenda blueprint and achievements in the power, health and education sectors respectively. David Salihi in these triune chapters has done a great good to the chronicle of Nigeria’s governance history. It is abundantly evident from the facts laid out bare in the book by David Salihi that although the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) were conceived by President Obasanjo, the project suffered epilepsy under the short administration of President Yaradua. The revival of the project and the concluding crowning glory are all to be credited to the tireless commitment of President Goodluck Jonathan.
The achievements in the power sector is not to be trivialised in David Salihi’s book; for it is the hidden cornerstone of Nigeria’s economic revival. According to a paragraph “In the light of the foregoing, it can be said, the recent privatization of the power sector by the Jonathan-led Federal government is a giant leap in the quest to create the right infrastructure base and enabling environment for Nigerians to take the reins of their economic destinies in their own hands”.
The period of the Jonathan presidency is a watershed in the history of educational development of Nigeria. Starting with the establishment and full take-off of nine brand new Federal Universities across the country, David explored the sector in detail providing unassailable facts that corroborate the popularly held opinion that Education in Nigeria has attained its greatest heights under the Jonathan presidency.
The Transport sector is given consideration in chapters 7, 8 and 11. Of course the consideration is necessarily broken down into the ministerial categories of rail, aviation and roads not to be incongruent with the corresponding federal ministries as obtained in Nigeria. The revamped rail transport sector now moves over 100,000 passengers, cumulatively, weekly according to researched facts provided in the book. Highlighting the achievements of President Jonathan in the transport sector, therefore David Salihi made no exaggeration. In truth, the recent acclaim of Nigeria’s rail speed project as one of the outstanding 100 public infrastructure project of the year by the PriceWaterHouse is a proof of this veracity.
When taken together, the combined achievements in the rail, aviation and road sub-sectors are exceptional and is perhaps Nigeria’s greatest attempt at joining the league of super-economic players of the world; mega-linkages between Nigeria’s cities and centres of commerce, opening up of new commercial vistas, massive employment opportunities, tourist attractiveness and investment-friendly business clime.
Chapter 9 starts with an overview of the principle of fuel subsidy and its place in Nigeria’s socio-economic history. The reader is provided with an easy-to-comprehend consideration of the merits and demerits of fuel subsidy. Thereafter, David proceeded to situate fuel subsidy into the current socio-economic scenario of Nigeria and used this analytical situation to provide a template for the consideration of President GEJ’s deregulation of the petroleum industry, which according to him is ‘one of the pillars of transformation agenda of the Federal Government…’
A fall out of the deregulation is the establishment of the SURE-P; Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme. The SURE-P which was inaugurated on February 13, 2012, according to the book is a leveraging mechanism for the Federal Government to harness financial dividends from the deregulation framework in the petroleum industry to power so many infrastructural and developmental agenda of government. This programme apart from powering so many infrastructural quick win projects also has a safety net component under which hundreds of thousands of Nigerian youths have been provided with sustainable employment.
Chapters 10, 12, 13 and 14 of the book are dedicated to housing, agriculture, infrastructure and the automotive industry respectively.  Chapter 15 is a research-based reportage on the Good Governance Tour being anchored by the Federal Ministry of Information. The zenith of the Jonathan’s presidency, based on the facts provided by David Salihi is perhaps in the twin sectors of agriculture and automotive industries. With a 170% target over-shoot in food production now put at about 36millions tons since inception and millions of new jobs created across Nigeria, the transformation agenda is almost certainly responsible for Nigeria’s new status as the largest economy by GDP in Africa! The automotive industry has also pushed Nigeria on the world map. Today, brand new vehicles are being manufactured in Nigeria and the Jonathan administration is according to David Salihi, setting ‘…Nigeria on the path of being a major vehicle manufacturing hub in Africa’.

Jonathanism & The Ideology of a New Nigeria
Chapters 15 and 16 are the concluding part of this highly patriotic and nationalistic writing. Though these chapters represent a simple minority in terms of overall volume in the work, they perhaps carry the most important message of the work. In fact, it is apt to describe the concept elucidated in these concluded chapters as jonathanism.
Item 92 in President Jonathan’s declaration speech as quoted in the book poignantly reaches to the conscience of any objective reader, “Do you want to go back to the old ways?”. Who will ignore such an admonition? Who will say, ‘yes’ to such a question? Beyond the carapace of individual sentimental attachment and affiliation, David Salihi provides us all with ample facts to sit down and jettison the myopic alleys; to abandon the pudendal consideration and cling to the substantive reality of hope as typified by the Jonathan personality – the most successful president the nation has had since independence. In the end, and metaphorically so, we may find the critical objective of a book in the word which ends it; and in this work it is so.