CRITICISM, according to late British Prime Minister and author, Sir Winston Churchill, is necessary because “like a pain in human body, it calls our attention to an unhealthy state”. In other words, the sole purpose of criticism is to enable the person that is being criticized to make amends where necessary.
But in a situation where the object of criticism is helpless because his accusers are not only to be blame for the status quo, but are also motivated by less than altruistic reasons, criticism loses its raison de’tre.
We make bold to say most of those accusing President Goodluck Jonathan of incompetence are doing so in bad faith. Any discerning mind will agree with this writer that they did n’t meant well for our beloved country, Nigeria.
Our reasons for taking this position are not far to seek. We do believe it should be the collective duty and the desire of all patriotic Nigerians, irrespective of political affiliation, to support President Jonathan to succeed in a manner that will foreclose any thought of going back to the dark days of military dictatorship.
“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official,” says Theodore Roosevelt.
It is the view of this writer that unless we hold up new departures for emulation, we forfeit the moral high ground to criticize errant and irrelevant steps on the part of our leaders. Too often, many of us behave like the automatic critic that criticizes any steps taking by those in authority whether good or bad for selfish motives. Opposition or criticism is, of course, often constructive and creative, especially in a system such as ours with a pronounced moral deficit.
What is far less edifying is oppositionalism, which makes a carrier out of constant criticism often voiced in ignorance or deliberate mischief.
One of the tell-tale signs of a system in moral disrepair is that it suffers a surfeit of criticism not based on sincere examination of issues. In such a system, criticism lacks integrity because it is only a game played so that the critic can gain political relevance or alternatively reflects a nay-saying mindset in which the critic would rather bring the entire roof down.
I do not subscribe to the demonology of the Obasanjo years in which the former president is presented as an ostentatious failure or an evil scheming tyrant with no redeeming features.
The jury is still out on the balance sheet of those years but a careful appraisal will grant some achievements, even though there are several policy failures. When the doctrine of necessity was invoked by the National Assembly to give Acting President Goodluck Jonathan the nod to assume full control of the Presidency, many cried blue murder that former President Olusegun Obasanjo was back in power.
As far as they are concerned, Jonathan’s Presidency translates to the continuation of Obasanjo’s rule. Jonathan, they argued, is Obasanjo’s puppet since the former president is his political benefactor. Neutral observers of political events in Nigeria will agree with this writer that Jonathan has sufficiently demonstrated he is going to be his own man. Since he assumed full presidential powers, Jonathan has left no one in doubt he is now in charge.
The first strong message he sent that he is going to be his own man is the appointment of a sworn enemy of Obasanjo, Theophilus Danjuma as the Chairman of Presidential Advisory Council, PAC, immediately he was sworn in as Acting President.
We judge the performance of any government, either positively or negatively by what that government has been able to achieve. I think it is a piece of ignorance when one refuses to acknowledge anything good one’s enemy has done well.
The future of Nigeria cannot be great unless she can reward her sons and daughters who are doing well with thanks. It is the height of mischief for any rational mind to say Jonathan administration has no record of achievement to showcase since he came on board over a year ago.
The best form of propaganda is performance. Even though one year is too short to assess any administration, there is no iota of doubt that President Jonathan-led administration is laying a solid, irreversible foundation for the transformation, if not greatness, of Nigeria.
The greatest achievement of the Jonathan- led administration is its effort to institute a strict culture of respect for the rule of law, which is a sine qua non to good governance and the survival of democracy.
Record of his modest achievements are there: It is on record that inspite of the pressure put on him by members of his party, President Jonathan refused to interfere with the Tribunal rulings involving members of his party, especially Ekiti and Osun governorship election debacle.
It is unfortunate that many who believe we practice democracy still betray a military mindset of arbitrariness. It is unfortunate that one of the greatest “sins” committed by Jonathan today, for which his traducers want him crucifyied (impeached), is his stance to adhere strictly to the rule of law in confronting the challenges of insecurity.
His critics are asking Jonathan to resign because he refused to heed their unwise counsel of crushing Boko Haram insurgency the way Obasanjo did in Odi. These same set of people were the most vociferous critics of Obasanjo then. The lawful and civilized manner in which Jonathan is tackling headlong the menace of Boko Haram in order to put an end to it should be commended by all right-thinking persons.
It is also on record that President Jonathan restored integrity into the electoral system by conducting a free, fair and credible election in 2011. This explains why the number of electoral disputes in the court today, compared to 2003 and 2007 is very minimal.
Revolution in the oil sector: Many will agree with this writer that the era of short-changing the masses by the oil cabal is gone for good.
Jonathan’s stance to remove oil subsidy, despite strong opposition to it, opened a can of worms that made it known to the whole world that for decades, millions of dollars that would have been spent on live-enhancing projects in all sectors, which would have had direct bearing on the lives of the masses, was going into private pockets of fat cats.
Many will also agree with this writer that the President deserves commendation for mustering the political will to separate politics from governance by appointing opposition candidate, Nuhu Ribadu as the Chairman of the Petroleum Revenue Task Special Task Force. What further evidence of transparency and accountability did any rational mind need?