• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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Seeking a winning strategy against terrorism

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On January 1, 2014, President Goodluck Jona¬than addressed his compatriots through a New Year message he sent out to the media.

He enumerated the achieve¬ments of his administration in the preceding year, saying: “We have diligently carried forward the purposeful and focused implementation of our agenda for national transfor¬mation in priority areas such as power, the rehabilitation and expansion of national infrastructure, agricultural development, education and employment generation.”

The President said in line with the theme of 2013 Budget: “Fiscal Consolidation with Inclusive Growth”, his admin¬istration had “stayed focused on this goal.”

But it is noteworthy that the 2013 budget has been a bone of contention between the execu¬tive arm of government and the legislature. While the later said the budget had not per¬formed, the former insisted the entire budget had performed as projected.

The President also claimed that about 1.6 million jobs were created last year as a result of government’s actions and inac¬tions. This claim is contestable going by the hues and cries over increasing rate of unem¬ployment in the country.

According to him, “I am hap¬py to report that, so far, over 26,000 direct jobs have been created across our six geopo¬litical zones in various sectors of the economy. This includes 22,000 from YouWiN 1 and nearly 5,000 from YouWiN 2 (YouWiN Women) which com¬menced disbursement just in September.”

In the area of agriculture, President Jonathan said there have been lots of improve¬ments, particularly in the areas of fertilizer and seeds distri¬bution, directly to 4.2 million farmers through an e-wallet system. Indeed, for once, the coun¬try has got someone who could articulate some programmes, but investors in the sector said much needed to be done.

While the central govern¬ment deserves commendation on its efforts in improving food production in the country, and reduction in food import bill, it is germane to advise that sup¬ply companies who enhance this feat must be encouraged to keep on with their good works of supplying necessary seeds.

Those who spoke with Busi¬nessDay alleged that seed busi¬ness had become an all-comers affair. They also expressed fears that the country risked food shortage this year oc¬casioned by shortage of seed. According to them, unless government settles about N8 billion it owes companies that supplied seeds last year, such firms would not be buoyant enough to supply more.

Although the President also beat his chest on education funding which he said had al¬most tripled between 2007 and 2013 from N224 billion to N634 billion, much is still needed to be done. In fact, Jonathan administration disappointed many citizens on Education in the out gone year. The rating of the administration further plunged when he allowed the closure of the nation’s universities for six months as the disagreement between government and members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) lingered. Pundits said for the first presi¬dent of Nigeria with a PhD certificate to have allowed education to suffer so much in his tenure, it was a terrible misplacement of priority and smacks of insensitivity.

The President must be a dreamer, who dreams out good inventions and progress. He is not in office to build road. At a recent forum, Pat Utomi, a professor, and former presi¬dential candidate, said this much when he noted that the best legacy any government can give to the people was education.

Utomi recalled that a time was in the country when most of the major roads were motorable, but that the condi¬tion of such roads today had become deplorable. He said the only lasting investment of any administration was education.

Recently, a group of media executives were discussing the Jonathan government and noted that although gov-ernment was doing its best, especially in seeing to it that the power problem is solved, the chief actor in the present administration would have written his name in gold had he made education develop¬ment his priority.

One of them said: “We are lingering so much on power; the power problem will be solved. What the President should do is to declare a revo¬lution in education system. If he came up and said, ‘we are going to saturate Africa with trained manpower (gradu¬ates in all fields). This is the amount of foreign currencies we shall be expecting from the countries where the man¬power will be deployed. In the next so, so and so years, all the countries in Africa will be having qualified personnel in all fields of endeavour from Nigeria. We are going to satu¬rate Africa with a number of PhD holders every year. And this policy is beyond political leaning.’ If the President as an educated person had taken this route, the world would have taken us more seriously. Don’t forget that Nigeria was there before, when some of our citizens wrote the consti¬tutions of some countries. We can still reclaim that position if our government is pro-active.” Boko Haram is just one of these radical groups that went a little fur¬ther with its ban on western educa¬tion and ultimately became a jihadist group