Having read the ACN and Mr. Lai Mohammed's predictable statement stating that Nigerians need no marking scheme to score the current administration as a failure, let me say that in no way can the duo of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) compare with the People's Democratic Party (PDP) neither can their leaders compare to President Jonathan and this is a factual statement.
For one, it is grammatically incorrect to even refer to a group centered around individuals as a party. The ACN and the CPC are centered around individuals and it is quite clear that without these so called 'National Leaders' of these parties, they would collapse. At best both organizations are personality cults not parties.
I call on Nigerians to recall that only the People's Democratic Party Presidential candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan, emerged by a function of internal democracy in the form of a highly contested party primary. The presidential candidates of the ACN and the CPC did not so emerge. Rather, they were imposed on those parties by their so called National Leaders without the benefit of primaries. It is therefore not surprising that both parties were too ashamed to include the word 'Democratic' or 'Democracy' in their party's names as there is nothing democratic about both parties.
I further call on Nigerians to recall that not only was President Jonathan the only Presidential candidate that went round the nooks and crannies of Nigeria, visiting EVERY state, he is also the only candidate that told Nigerians of his plans and codified those plans in a Document called the Transformation Agenda which was released publicly in the website of the National Planning Commission (npc.gov.ng) and has on every anniversary of his swearing given Nigerians an update on the fulfillment of that agenda with time lines and specifics. If the ACN or the CPC have a party manifesto, Nigerians are yet to see it.
If Mr. Lai Mohammed of the ACN now accuses the President of increasing the rate of unemployment in Nigeria, perhaps Mr. Mohammed may also want to accuse the President of bribing the World Bank to release its statement released this month indicating that poverty has reduced in Nigeria from 64.2% to 62.6%. Perhaps the ACN can explain why according to the United Nations Human Development Index report Life Expectancy in Nigeria increased from 47 years to 51 years after the first year of President Jonathan's ascension to power.
Obviously, Nigeria's population has benefited from the micro and macro economic policies of this administration which includes stabilizing the Naira at an exchange rate of 155-160 Naira to the U.S. dollar for the last 2 years, reducing inflation to a single digit rate of 9% and growing our Foreign Exchange to the $48 billion it stands at today.
Farmers who constitute a majority of our work force are now able to access fertilizers directly from source with the voucher system of fertilizer procurement which cuts out the middle man. They are also able to get their goods to the market faster than ever before, courtesy of the revived intra city Rail Transit that exists throughout the Southwest where the ACN hold sway all the way to Kano.
Under President Jonathan, all federal employees now benefit from the New Minimum Wage Bill he signed into law with all staff getting their wages in a timely and efficient manner. Can the ACN controlled states boast of the same? Of course it is public knowledge that many ACN governors have come out publicly to say they cannot pay the Minimum Wage, despite receiving much more money from the Federation Account under President Jonathan than at any time in their history. This however does not stop them from sending their state legislators and their wives on visits to London and other exotic destinations to 'learn' about legislative functions.
President Jonathan in his efforts to bid farewell to poverty also increased the allowances of members of the National Youth Service Corp many of whom are serving in the ACN controlled states with a higher morale courtesy of the vision of Mr. President.
Lai Mohammed asks how Nigeria's 6.5% GDP growth rate under President Jonathan benefits Nigerians when graduates are taking up employment as bus drivers. This question itself betrays Mr. Mohammed and the ACN's lack of understanding of basic economic issues. Mr. Mohammed should note that there is dignity in labour rather than shame and that the fact that graduates are now being employed is better than the past when they sat at home doing nothing. Mr. Mohammed may also note that it was precisely because of the steady GDP growth rate that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) promoted Nigeria from a Low Income nation to a Middle Income nation and both Fitch International ratings and Standard and Poor's increased Nigeria's rating to BB and Positive, which paved the way for states (particularly ACN states) to access loans internationally at better rates.
Finally, Mr. Mohammed and the ACN may want take President Jonathan's advise and develop a Marking Scheme to use in gauging this administration's performance. If Lai Mohammed had done that, he would have been comparing what exists today with what existed before. Instead, he is comparing what exists today with what never existed before.
Today, our railways are back and functioning and it is now possible to travel between Lagos and Kano for only 1500 Naira. Yesterday, there were no railways. Today, the Life Expectancy of the average Nigerian is 51 years. Yesterday it was 47 year. Today poverty in Nigeria is at 62.6%. Yesterday it was at 64.2%. Today, 93% of all Nigerians have access to mobile phones. Yesterday it was less than 70%. Today, Nigeria generates almost 4500MWs of electricity. Yesterday we generated 2800MWs. Today, it takes 4 hours to drive from Lagos to Benin. Yesterday it took 9 hours. Today, Nigerian workers are earning the New Minimum wage. Yesterday, they were not earning it. Today Nigeria's crude production is at an all time high of almost 2.5 Million Barrels Per Day. Yesterday it had fallen to only seven hundred thousand. Today, our domestic refining capacity has peaked at over 10 million liters per day which is our highest level in decades. Yesterday we were importing almost all our domestically consumed fuel. Today, Nigerians now have access to information courtesy of the Freedom of Information Bill signed by President Jonathan. Yesterday they did not have that liberty.
These are verifiable facts that Mr. Mohammed and his co travelers can use to score President Jonathan. And so, I repeat Mr. President's words to Mr. Lai Mohammed; develop your own marking scheme and don't access this administration using "your heartbeat".
Obviously, knowing that they cannot compete with the President on the level of ideas, the ACN is desperate to direct the narrative away from the verifiable achievements the President and his team listed during the Mid-Term report so that the focus may be on gutter-sniping, an area where they have an undue advantage.
Reno Omokri, Special Assistant to the President on New Media