After a considerable amount of time spent on deep reflection as touching the upcoming elections, I am like a woman pressed for choice in the marketplace. I have weighed my options in two hands, and I have made me decision.
Beneath the bickering and accusations of inaction of President Goodluck’s administration, there has been considerable improvement from 2011 till date.
Our airports are wearing better looks. 22 federal-owned airports across the country are being remodelled after decades of neglect. As I write, five modern international passenger terminals are being constructed simultaneously in Lagos, Enugu, Abuja, Kano and Port-Harcourt.
Last year, I was enlisted for my NYSC to serve in the north-central part of Nigeria and there, I met a world brimming in abundance of food supply. I saw agriculture in full bloom and the farmers attested to it that they had never had it so good in any past administration.
The secret of this upgrade in farming? After years of corruption in fertiliser and seed distribution, strict structures were put in place to give farmers direct access to these materials. In 2013, as a result of Agricultural Transformation Programme, there has been an increase of 1.1 million metric tonnes of rice production in Northern States. We are well on our way to being self-sufficient in rice production. The dry season production through irrigation which kick-started in 10 Northern states has been extremely successful, leading to an output of 1.07 million metric tonnes of rice. Under the Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme, young people have profitably gone into commercial agriculture thereby elevating youth employment.
There has been an increase in non-oil exportation- plastic and rubber, vegetable products, prepared foodstuffs and breakages are yielding commendable revenue. Importations of textiles and paper-making materials have dropped significantly.
The subsidy programme of petroleum products has been administered at reduced cost and we have had a steady supply of petroleum products. Gas flaring has reduced from 24% to 18% between 2011 and 2012 as a result of the encouragement of accelerated gas development. And also, the diligent implementation of the amnesty program in Niger Delta has helped boost the production of oil from 700,000bpd to 2,500,000 bpd.
12 new universities were erected. Seeing the dangers of the uneducated Almajiris and how they become easy targets to be used by terror perpetrators, 125 day and boarding schools are being constructed to educate these vulnerable members of the society. In 13 states, special girl schools are being constructed under the Girl-Child Education Scheme. As noted, literacy rate of Nigerians has grown from 54% to 62%.
What on earth was more defunct than the Nigerian Railways system? Rail lines abandoned 15 years ago have undergone modernisation and are still undergoing rehabilitation. Container cargo freight from Apapa Port complex has commenced. General Electric has supplied 25 brand new locomotives and over 200 coaches and wagons. There’s more –
I would re-elect Jonathan for championing the YOUWIN Initiative designed to empower young Nigerians with GRANTS, not loans.
In GEJ’s tenure, I can attest to a vibrant and vigorous private sector; companies and ideas are springing up on every side unhindered. The most credible and fairest election Nigeria ever witnessed since 1999 was conducted in his time.
Nobody, no nation ever woke up flawless. Nigeria is work in progress and if a man has his hands on the plough, I will not be too quick to ask him to get off when he has made considerable progress and is willing to do more. A man is not clueless just because he is gentle and unassuming.
I have weighed my options carefully and thoughtfully and I shall let him finish the race.