Politics Nigeria — February 10, 2010 at 1:25 PM

Congratulation, Acting President Jonathan

I join millions of Nigerians and world observers in congratulating Dr. Goodluck Jonathan on his new position as the acting President of Nigeria. Although the Senate and House of Representative separate resolutions to empower Dr. Jonathan as the Acting President came at snail speed after 78 days absence of President Yar’Adua, the move is commendable. This is victory for all Nigerians, Africa and the rule of law.

Had the situation not been amicably resolved, it would have put a dent not only on Nigeria’s image but on Africa’s too. This is especially true because, as the continent’s most populous nation, the rest of the civilized world watched with eagle eyes at the unfolding events in Abuja. You see, although its a known fact that Nigeria is suffering from acute corruption kwashiorkor and other preventable social  and political maladies, the civilized world still reckons with her. The world recognizes that a signal put out by Abuja into orbit is an indication of how the continent of Africa might gravitate. Now the continent of Africa can heave a sigh of relief knowing that one of its wheels that threatened to run amok has been put back to order.

I am glad that Dr. Jonathan wasted no time in addressing the nation after receiving the mandate to act as president. His swift move is reassuring and that’s what Nigerians need right this minute to calm the anxiety brought about the infamous constitutional lacuna. In his address to the nation he showed humility by stating that he is “deeply humbled and honoured by this great call to duty.”

Now that the lacuna charade is finally behind Nigeria the “new” president must continue to keep his eyes on the ball. Although he had been doing the job of the president in an unofficial capacity while he (Yar’Adua) is away, he must realize that the burden now is different. He now wears the crown of the president and all eyes are on you, watching. Therefore, he must be vigilant and guard against any misstep. A false start is what his detractors wish so that they can have something to complain about again.

Although the acting president has a calm demeanor, which some erroneously misconstrue for weakness, I am confident that he will deliver for Nigeria. He must show a strong resolve and backbone as some cabinet members might be reluctant to take orders from him. Any cabinet member unwilling to recognize him as the new sheriff in town must be disciplined or cut loose. Paraphrasing Niccolò Machieavelli, it is better to be feared than respected for with fear comes respect also. Although I don’t subscribe to this philosophy in every situation, this is one instance I don’t  mind it being applied.

One area that he must not put in the back burner is corruption. The beast of corruption must be tackled head on if Nigeria must make any meaningful head way. Good governance, accountability and transparency must not be forgotten, including health care, water and electricity. A good administration must live for the cause of its people.

Next is the issue of amnesty in the Niger Delta region. Whatever he does he should make sure that the gains of the amnesty program does not slip through our fingers and dissipate. In his speech to the nation he said that the Federal Government “will take every step necessary to consolidate the gains of Amnesty in the Niger Delta and execute the post-Amnesty program.” I hope he means that for this matter is too grave to let it rear up its ugly head again.

Good luck.

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