Tag Archives: GEJ


What are the measurements for progress in a nation? Clearly every student told to mark his own essay will cheat somehow. President Jonathan challenged his opponents when he said in his speech recently that those that seek to mark his government’s performance should present their marking scheme. Well, I have decided to respond to his challenge. But rather than devise a new marking scheme that can be questioned; I decided to use a reputable, GEJglobally acknowledged scheme that also provide comparative analysis with other countries in Africa and beyond. Nigeria Finance minister at the same event organized to mark the midway in the administration spouted out several statistics and data; that is far from representing the realities of most Nigerians. The progress of any nation is beyond just GDP growth and national success and prosperity is about more than just fancy figures. The question is, how do ordinary Nigerians feel about their personal wellbeing and economic standing?

To capture my sentiment exactly; let me allow a progressive African leader to speak. Dr Joyce Banda , President Republic of Malawi said recently as follows:

“As for me, growth is not merely about GDP growth. Growth is about wealth and prosperity for all, opportunity for all, happiness for all, political and economic freedom for all. Growth is about growing and improving access to education for our children, and creating jobs for our youths. Growth is about growing the number of mothers who give safe birth in a hospital.  As women leaders, we should not allow children to suffer from malnutrion. We should refuse to allow our children to learn under trees rather than proper classrooms. We should refuse to allow mothers to die while giving birth because the nearest health centre is far away .Whenever these challenges are prevalent, our economies cannot meaningfully achieve the sustainable economic growth we all aspire for”.

I could not have said it any better. So the marking scheme I will use to score the Jonathan administration is the recognized measure used by the OECD and other global outfits called The Prosperity Index (developed by the Legatum Institute). This is the only global measurement of national success based on both income and wellbeing. Their econometric analysis has identified 89 variables, which are spread across eight sub-indices. By measuring prosperity holistically they are able to identify and analyse the specific factors that contribute to the success of a country beyond just GDP statistics or other banal statistical measure that does not impact on the true economic realities of a nation’s citizenry. These Eight Prosperity indices are: Economy, Entrepreneurship & Opportunity, Education, Health, Safety & Security, Governance, Personal Freedom and Social Capital.

According to the Institute’s survey of Entrepreneurship in Nigeria; the raw GDP statistics masks major weaknesses in indices of national prosperity and economic wellbeing. In its report last year it noted that economically, Nigeria paints a mixed picture. GDP growth is recorded at an impressive 7.9%, however a high inflation rate of over 7%, high levels of unemployment, and poor internal infrastructure stifle long-term, sustained growth it said. Nigeria it stated has significant oil reserves but its reliance on revenue from oil has been described as “damaging”, while the risks of relying on oil reserves as a one-pronged economic strategy is well documented across Africa. They concluded that “Factoring in the current instability of the global economy as a whole, we may reasonably conclude that a diversified, entrepreneur-led economy is crucial to Nigeria’s long term success and stability”.

The Legatum Institute produced last year its annual National Prosperity Index for 142 countries in the world. Nigeria ranked a dreadful 123 out of 142 countries in 2012, that is a relegation from our already bad rank of 104 in 2011 and 106 in 2010. That means by an holistic measure of national prosperity and wellbeing as measured globally; Nigeria has slipped backwards and performed worse between 2010 and 2012. South Africa was ranked 74, Tunisia 78, Namibia 83, Ghana 87, even Mali was did better than us at 104.

Looking behind the overall poor ranking of Nigeria; we performed worst between 2010 and 2012 in the following indices: Economy (drop of 31 point), Safety & Security (27 point drop) and Education (17 point drop). We however improved in Personal Freedom (gain of 10points) and Social Capital (gain of 3points) measures.

So while I praise the Jonathan government for some of its high level macro economic achievements; attention now needs to be paid to the wellbeing of Nigerians in a holistic way. It is a known economic fact that there are more business opportunities in any economy than job opportunities. The engine for growth in Nigeria therefore will not be just more jobs for the unemployed (although that is needed by many) but an entrepreneurial explosion. Government should encourage and promote new businesses and our universities should emphasize entrepreneurship more rather than the current focus on getting a degree and going to apply for jobs that are not always available.

There exists today a multitude of objective data about entrepreneurship in Nigeria. For example, the Index report states that the average time it takes to start a business in Nigeria (31 days), the total tax rates, as a percentage of commercial profits, faced by Nigerian entrepreneurs is 32.2%. The growth of any economy is based on the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises. A concerted and unified strategy is needed to make a success of this vision. So rather than trumpeting pure statistics that means little to average Nigerians, the government should put more effort in productive activities and strategy that impacts on the day to day living of the people.  Of the eight indices measured, Nigeria improved in only two of them under this government. Given that we have slipped backward in six of the Prosperity Index in two years since the President was elected; I will give him a presidential performance score of 25%. So Student number 001, Goodluck Jonathan, if you repeat this core by the end of the school term; you will be expelled for poor performance.  So work harder and improve on your score. That is the conclusion of the Headteacher.

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Abati: The Jonathan they don’t know – A REJOINDER

I read today’s piece in the Sun Newspaper by Reuben Abati titled: THE JONATHAN THEY DON’T KNOW.  (Link is: http://sunnewsonline.com/new/opinion/abati-the-jonathan-they-dont-know). As official spokesmen go; Abati has done a bland job of promoting his boss and his administration. But clearly what is good for GEJ is not necessarily good for Nigeria. I am surprised at the naivety or deliberate misdirection of Abati in his article. In the world of real politics; Presidents wins or loses elections not because of what they do right per se; but the significance of what they do wrong or don’t do at all.

That is why the famous Clinton cliché comes to mind with regards to American politics. He said: It’s the Economy stupid. What that simply means is that if the nation’s economy is bad and people are in pain; it does not matter how many wars you won as president; how many women you appoint into your cabinet or how many hours a day you work; you will NOT win an election and you will not be popular with the electorate.  So rather than Abati telling us all this good things about his boss; why does he not tell us what he has done on the salient issues to Nigerians; Unemployment; Collapsing Infrastructure, Corruption, Government waste; Inefficient public services and so on.

I agree that sometimes the critics of Jonathan’s administration try to portray him as a man that has never done any good at all for the nation. That will not be true and I am not in that category. Nobody can be a hundred per cent bad; we all have some good in us. Also nobody has a monopoly of knowledge.  Hence the issue is not whether GEJ has done some good for the nation since his assent into office; but the vital consideration is what has he done on the Major issues affecting Nigerians and is the country heading in the right direction.

So this administration will be judged by how well it performs on the main issues affecting ordinary Nigerians and not by many of the banal statistics and credits that Abati seek to amplify. We care less how many times the President eats if he creates an economy that allows Nigerians to put food on their own family table. Nigerians don’t care about how many megawatts of power you generate; they will only judge by how regular their power supply is. And if this administration has fixed the power sector; Abati will not need to say so; Nigerians will know for themselves in their daily living.

There is a Presidential election in the USA in November this year and despite many of the excellent things Obama administration has done for the USA; he risks losing that election simply because of the bad economic climate in the country. So Obama is not being judged by the many good things he has done; but by his perceived inability to fix the American Economy. This is the real politics Dr Abati. Your boss will not be evaluated by Nigerians based on many of those things you stated; but by the basic human need for economic progress, survival and advancement. So, based on the major issues topmost on the problem list for Nigerians; GEJ administration is not performing; although he may be performing well in other subsidiary areas.

Some of the things Abati stated in his article are laughable if not ridiculous. Abati stated for instance that: He (the President) knows Nigerians want infrastructure. That is why he is telling Bi-Courtney to fix Lagos-Ibadan Expressway or get out”. What a joke. This is the President of the Republic we are talking about. He is “Telling” a Bi-Courtney….. after many years of inactivity. A better leader would have sacked the buggers and allow new people to get on with it. After all, Bi-Courtney has breached their contractual timeline by many years. Abati makes his boss sound like an adviser rather an the all-powerful Executive President.  Abati further stated; “That is why he has directed the relevant agencies to get corrupt persons to answer for their misdeeds”.

So where is the proof or outcome of these directives?  How many have been arrested? How many cases has prosecution started? It’s all talk, talk and talk. We know the president can talk, but can he act? That is what Abati failed woefully to demonstrate in his piece. Showing us a president that can talk is not good enough; we need one that can act. Abati defended his boss by saying he does not eat much and does not get drunk. But what did GEJ need feeding allocation of almost N1Billion for in his 2012 budget. I know this was latter cut to over N700Million after many outcries. So the facts do not support Abati’s assertions.

But for all of us; Nigeria is what matters. Not GEJ or anybody else. So it is in our interest to help the nation succeed and not be blinded by partisan curtains. I believe the best way Abati can represent his boss is for him to do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats) analysis of this administration.  An opposition will be more credible if it credits the government with some of the things they have got right; while still criticising them for what they have not done or got wrong. In the same way, a Spokesman for the President will be more credible if he does not insult our intelligence by making GEJ sound like the best thing since slice bread; but admit his mistakes, errors, corrective measures and of course successes as well. This will create more credibility for his views.

Finally, from my analysis, Abati and company are not using the right strategy to convey the message of their government in a vertically and horizontally complex media and communication landscape like Nigeria. It has already been said that politicians campaign in Poetry but govern in Prose. In an attempt to win the last election, GEJ promised the earth to everybody; now he is in power his performance is not meeting the expectations he helped to create. There are clear strategies to fix this imbalance and I will write about this in a future article. Not because I am a particular fan of GEJ; but I am a lover of Nigeria and will like to see this nation move forward for all our sakes. But in the meantime the spin-doctor should avoid spinning himself out of relevance.


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