For a good while, I have only made terse references and comments on the GEJ administration and the expectations of Nigerians from the man from Otuoke. Deliberately so!
When Nigerians, largely the Southerners and others who were tired of the Northern political hegemony in the country, trooped out to vote the "shoeless man" into power, they knew that they were not supporting the best qualified of the aspirants to the Aso Rock throne. Rather, they were quite comfortable for voting "for GEJ and not PDP" or simply cutting their own noses to spite their own faces. Of course, there were others who genuinely believed in the ability of the man to lead Nigeria towards the promised land. Yet there were others who did so out of a sense of correcting a perceived sense of injustice meted out to the man during the dying days of the Baba Go Slow Presidency. Further still, there were those whose voting decisions were based on instinctive primordial sentiments based on running with the tribal herds as well as those who also felt genuinely, that the man's academic credentials might just be the difference in his approach towards governance for the collective benefit.
Granted, GEJ has indeed been a departure from the erstwhile "bolekaja" Presidency of OBJ and its attendant abrasiveness. The voice of the opposition has grown even louder in Nigeria and the fear of loud jackboots walking up to the doorsteps of social critics in broad daylight and middle of the night has since disappeared. However, this has been replaced with the stealthy footsteps of armed robbers and kidnappers in the south of the country and by Boko Haram in the north. Nigerians are now left to wonder which is more preferable and now look with nostalgia to the good bad old days of yesteryears when life was much simpler and our loudest moans were "NEPA" or the intermittent shouts of 'ole' or 'barawo'!
The man, GEJ, has successfully polarised opinions across the polity - there are the vocal legions of GEJ haters on one hand, and the vicious and confrontational supporters of the man. Of course, there are those who are ambivalent towards the man - neither supporting him nor wishing him ill luck but simply watching and waiting for something to happen; hopefully for good. In this category of Nigerians, you also have those who did not believe so much in the GEJ hype and hysteria of "breath of fresh air!" but simply wished him good luck for the benefit of the country and the general populace. On the counterbalance to the later group are those disenchanted supporters of the man who had such high hopes for him at the start of his administration but have since come to a cold reality of Nigeria under GEJ, where business unusual remains the usual business.
Naturally, the GEJ supporters would quickly shout you down and postulate that the ills that GEJ has been unable to confront and deal with; were not his creations, but inherited problems. For those opposed to this group, there is a quick reference point to the fact that the GEJ administration has done nothing to mitigate the poor and sorry lot of Nigerians, but has instead, created a super class of "untouchable Nigerians" using the cloak and garb of rule of law - I will not attempt a derailment of this discussion to name some of these super untouchable Nigerians, however, I will make haste to proclaim that Nigerians are now daily inundated with tales of corruption in really high places and apparently no motions or moves to curtail these and bring the perpetrators to justice save the photo ops of "arraigning" the accused to courts, granting them bail before allowing the cases to die naturally in the law courts from either lack of diligent prosecution or endless and protracted injunctions based on mundane technicalities.
Of course, Nigerians do not expect GEJ to interfere with the judicial arm of the government and cannot be expected to super intend every legal action needed by the government to ensure that justice is seen to be done by the executive arm of government. However, that is the brief of the Attorney-General, a man who is GEJ's appointee. Of course Nigerians do not expect GEJ to personally intervene in investigating every allegation of corruption in public and high places, but the law enforcement agencies report to the Presidency and are answerable to him. Therefore, Nigerians have every right to be nonplussed when every case of corruption is followed by pronouncements of Presidential Committees to investigate these and the reports of these committees are further subjected to scrutiny by yet more committees ad infinitum! Dare I say, the heads of these law enforcement agencies also report to GEJ?
Perhaps, more importantly to the day to day Nigerians, is the ability, or lack thereof, to keep shirt and trousers (or skirts and iro and buba, as the case might be) together. Nigerians have generally had favourable reports of a vibrant economy under the GEJ admin, albeit, these have mainly come from external agencies. Some might say, this is proof that the GEJ economics is tied to the apron springs of imperialists and that the taste of the pudding is in the eating i.e. has these translated into improved living conditions for Nigerians or increased their purchasing power? Such antagonists would also readily point fingers to the January move on the oil subsidy removal without proper public sensitisation on the matter since the promised end results appear to have manifested in yet more of the rich getting richer! Read my lips, if you will, but it seems that the oil cabal still calls the shots, regardless of the pronouncements or moves by the GEJ Presidency.
For those who believe passionately in the GEJ Presidency, they will quickly point out that the moribund Nigerian Railway Corporation is now back to life! You can make your own deductions on these, but I was embarrassed to see the pictures of coaches and engines that are expected to run the Lagos - Bauchi - Kano routes. I have been gob smacked to learn that the rail lines are still those required for goods evacuation wagons bequeathed to us by the departing colonial powers! It is up to you to imagine how fast or otherwise these contraptions would travel as well as the level of comfort, or discomfiture that must go with them. I do not believe in half a loaf, but subscribe to the school of thought that says anything worth doing at all is worth doing well. Nigeria can definitely do better than these.
They will also point out that the situation with electricity supply is improving, but is this truly happening? His traducers will definitely opine in the negative and proclaim that the improved supplies are a must, due to the unusual amount of rainfall lately and the consequent impact this would have on the Kainji Dam and Shiroro Dams as our major sources of electricity. Frankly, I am ambivalent on this score but will give credit to GEJ's men for, at least ensuring much of the resultant energy or electricity is not shed between evacuation and distribution. The man himself has said that 2013 would provide the litmus test for his efforts on electricity as the energy sources that would be reliant on gas turbines would fully come on stream by that time. Until then, let the jury remain at deliberations!
Yes, I do need to give this much to the GEJ personae; he is indeed a gentleman, albeit a cunning one as well. He has not regaled us with verbose utterances, like OBJ was wont to. Neither has he kept mute and leave us scratching our heads to interpret his silence like UMYA was inclined to do. No, he has made us a lot of promises, and therein, lies of one of his greatest undoing. He makes promises he cannot keep when he should DAMN well keep his mouth shut. He naturally raises expectations and people are naturally disappointed when they realise he is trying to be everything to everybody.
Perversely, GEJ is GEJ's greatest enemy! He has pledged to improve the lot of Nigerians in virtually every aspect of our lives. He has promised that there would no longer be sacred cows. He has promised to fight against corruption. He has promised to patronise, promote and consume "Made-in-Nigeria" goods. He has promised to impose a regime of achievement over mediocrity. He has promised to build new bridges in Lagos and over the Niger River as well as improve a lot of the federal roads across the country that presently serves as mortuary highways. He has promised several universities to each of the regions in the country. What else has he not promised - a home for the masquerades in heaven or hell?
In contrast to his many promises, very little has been delivered, but his traducers will happily tell us that his regime is in early days yet and more is to come, but he has been President since May 2010 - and that is at least 2 years in my books without me having to take off my sal√ļbata to count!
I am not a GEJ supporter, neither am I a traducer! I stand among those who wish him well, very well in fact, for the sake of my people and other Nigerians. I wish GEJ would step on powerful toes and turn them into marshmallows or tuwolouch√≠ for the benefit of common Nigerians who can no longer worship freely nor move about their trade freely because of Boko Haram. I wish GEJ would regale us with pictures of powerful thieves in handcuffs and leg shackles, serving time in Gashua or Kiri-kiri instead of empty or vague promises. I wish GEJ would not promise us more universities but actually increase the functional capabilities and relevance of those currently in existence. I fervently hope GEJ will look at ensuring that the products of Nigerian universities would be relevant to our needs and national development desires. I wish GEJ would truly invite, to service, technocrats who would deliver for the benefit of the common man rather than for political interests or godfathers. I truly wish GEJ would midwife the birth of an industrial Nigeria that would produce goods and services relevant to the needs of Nigerians rather than giving us gimmicks in the name of cassava bread!
Above all, I wish GEJ can deliver a country I would truly love to shout out, "It's Mine, I am a Nigerian!" For these reasons, I sincerely wish GEJ very well, but there is a limit to my Patience!