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You can make Nigeria great, AC tells Jonathan


PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan should start work immediately because he can help make Nigeria great despite the short time he will be at helm of affairs of the country, the Action Congress (AC) said yesterday.

In a statement issued in Lagos by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party urged the President to ignore the distractions being engineered within his own party over whether or not he would run in 2011, and squarely face the challenges of restoring hope to long-suffering Nigerians.

Saying what matters is not how long but how well the President was in office, AC reminded President Jonathan that United States (U.S. )President Barack Obama, in making his health care reform a reality, had already written his name in the history books, in just a little over a year of his four-year administration.

It also recalled that Alexander the Great built one of the largest empires in ancient history and made impacts that lasted for centuries despite having a short reign, while Nigeria’s former Head of State Abdusalami Abubakar was able to transfer power from the military to civilians in less than a year.

Paraphrasing Obama, AC said Jonathan must be willing to do what is hard, what is necessary and what is right, irrespective of whose ox is gored, in the interest of Nigeria.

“As we said earlier, President Jonathan must have a roadmap and set realistic objectives for his administration, in addition to introducing benchmarks as part of a monitoring mechanism for his ministers. While he is free to set his own priorities, key areas where he can score quick wins are electoral reform, power and the fight against corruption.

“A successful electoral reform will pave the way for Nigerians to elect their leaders on the basis of their (leaders) ability, rather than on the strength of the dirty money they can throw around, and strengthen our democracy. The minimum requirement is a fresh electoral register, the work on which must start now. Once done, Nigeria can then organise a free and fair election in 2011, to Jonathan’s eternal credit.

“As for power, President Jonathan must ensure that the missed target of 6,000 mega watts is reached as quickly as possible, as the take-off point in ensuring that Nigerians can enjoy uninterrupted power supply, which will boost industrial development and create millions of jobs.

“And the fight against corruption must be total and unambiguous. The quick wins that President Jonathan can score here include unravelling the Halliburton, Siemens and Wilbros bribery cases. You don’t need an eternity to do this. Then, of course, he must ensure non-interference in the affairs of the EFCC and the ICPC,” AC said.

The party also said the legacies of his predecessor, the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, that are worth building upon include the amnesty programme which has helped to restore some calm to the Niger Delta, and the Uwais panel report, which has become the basis for any meaningful electoral reform.

It advised President Jonathan not to squander the goodwill of Nigerians and remember always that “he is the President of all of Nigeria, not of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the ubiquitous Governors’ Forum or any other group”. The party said the President must also avoid being teleguided by those who see themselves as demi-gods, or as the imaginary fathers of a non-existent modern Nigeria.

It also urged him to avoid being hoodwinked by the type of provincial cabal that took the late President Umaru Yar’Adua hostage, despite his good intentions and much-acclaimed decency and integrity.

“Without carrying the baggage of illegitimacy; with the controversy over the ‘doctrine of necessity’ that made him Acting President now gone and his ascendancy to the country’s highest office backed by the Constitution, the stage is set for Jonathan to soar. The only obstacle between him and greatness is none other than himself. He has no reason to fail!” AC said.

Meanwhile, a group, Goodluck Nigeria Organisation, has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to run for the office of president in 2011.

According to a statement by the executive secretary of the group, Prof. Dayo Oyekole, “this is the time for Nigerians at home and abroad to prevail on President Jonathan to contest and extend his tenure of office.”

Oyekole stated that a critical look at the qualities, operational competence and other activities of the president revealed him as a committed lover of true democracy for Nigeria.

He contended that the radical changes effected by the president, even when he was acting president were very clear indications that he should forge ahead to move Nigeria forward.

The national co-ordinator of the organisation, Alhaji Lekan Yusuff noted that Nigerians, African countries and the international communities had acclaimed the president as a worthy leader. He recalled that the recent visit of Jonathan to America had yielded good dividends.

Also, former member of the House of Representatives from 2003 to 2007 Alhaji Nasiru Dantiye representing Jigawa State has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to ignore the alleged rotational Presidency clause of the PDP if he actually desired to contest for the 2011 election, saying that he had every right to vie for the position.

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