Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Jonathan marks troubled year in office

29 May 2012, 07:25

 Lagos - President Goodluck Jonathan marks one year in office on Tuesday with his tenure so far rocked by a deadly Islamist insurgency and growing anger over corruption.

The election of Jonathan, the son of a canoe maker and a so-called accidental president who initially came to office after the death of his predecessor, raised hopes for change in one of the world's most graft-ridden nations.

He is Nigeria's first president from a minority ethnic group as well as the first from the oil-producing Niger Delta region.

However, many analysts rate his time in office so far as a disappointment, calling his government's response to the insurgency which has killed hundreds befuddled and citing a lack of a true commitment in attacking corruption.

His easygoing style has frustrated those who say he lacks a sense of urgency, while Jonathan's supporters and even the president himself argue that his calmness can yield dividends.

"There is a total lack of political will to address any of the problems confronting the country," said lawyer and prominent rights activist Femi Falana.

"Whichever way you look at it, there is no cause for celebration with respect to the last one year, and to aggravate the crisis is the unprecedented level of corruption that is going on."

Jonathan, a zoologist by training rarely seen without the fedora hat common to natives of the Niger Delta, initially came to office as acting president when his predecessor Umaru Yar'Adua fell ill.

Enormous challenges

He was sworn in as president after Yar'Adua's death in May 2010, and decided to run in the following year's election despite major opposition to his candidacy in the majority Muslim north.

Jonathan, a 54-year-old southern Christian, has faced enormous challenges since his election in the vote viewed as the fairest in nearly two decades despite rioting afterwards in the north that killed some 800 people.

The list of issues to tackle has often appeared intractable, including a woeful electricity supply that leads to daily power cuts and the corruption that pervades nearly every aspect of society.

Islamist group Boko Haram's insurgency has also spread fear, with its attacks having grown increasingly sophisticated.

Suicide bombers have targeted the UN building in Abuja, police headquarters and one of the country's most prominent newspapers.

There is the widespread sense that Jonathan's intentions are good - though whether he can follow through is another matter in a country where most of the population lives on less than $2 per day despite its oil wealth.

Many have said one of his top priorities - ending a graft-ridden fuel subsidy programme - was badly mishandled. Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a respected ex-World Bank managing director, was also criticised over the move.

The bid to end subsidies abruptly and without warning on 01 January caused petrol prices to instantly double, pushing tens of thousands of people to take to the streets in protest and a week-long nationwide strike.

Tangible improvements

Jonathan was forced to compromise and partially reinstate the subsidies. A parliamentary report in April alleged Nigeria lost $6.8bn from 2009-2011 through the corrupt subsidy programme.

Some analysts say Jonathan lacks the kind of leadership skills needed in a country such as Nigeria.

Others point out that the challenges would be daunting for anyone.

"I must admit of course that it's not all been his fault," said Opeyemi Agbaje, a Nigerian economist.

"Immediately, the euphoria of the election was destroyed - almost immediately - with the violence that erupted in parts of the north, which signalled that we were going to have a challenging period in terms of the reaction to his government."

Speaking of Nigeria's challenges in general, Bishop Matthew Kukah, a respected figure who has served on various national reform committees, said changes will follow if citizens see tangible improvements.

He named adequate electricity and building a rail network as two of the most important.

"All the conversation about 'let's do this,' all the moral exhortations, will come to nothing if Nigerians do not see a very practical change in their life," he told an audience in Lagos at the weekend.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...