One cannot but admire the amount of work put to remodel Federal Airports in Nigeria. The MAKIA in Kano is entirely different from its old self. I came across some renovation work going on as well as in a number of other states including the stalled Omagwa International Airport, Port Harcourt which is now assuming an admirable image of the Garden City. That is a sector in recent times that one sees government at work and is pleased that there is actually an Authority in charge.
Social networking is another area we have seen an upsurge of activity and free flow of information since Jonathan became president. Despite the frequent hot exchanges, the government and opposition have interacted in way that has politically broadened the minds of people; no doubt people are better informed, everyone now knows how much it costs to feed a zoologist, even if he is the president, and how much the vice president's supply of newspapers costs the nation.
Another aspect of this government's approach to leadership that I find quite admirable is the Ministerial Platform, an initiative for cabinet members to weigh the scale after a year of receiving Federal subventions. It appears from there that Ministers are actually accountable to the people. A generally pleasing initiative I would say.
Some also think that retaining almost the same cabinet since becoming Acting President also lays credence to a sense of continuity that the President extols, he believes Ministers should be kept for as long as possible to master their art, giving examples of Ministers serving for decades in Saudi and Russia.
However, the Jonathan government radiates unprecedented indecision and a dreadful incapacity to tackle glaringly critical challenges. Even though a number of the problems are evidence of lack of cohesive leadership from years ago, the present government has still not portrayed intolerance for the deeply rooted ills; rather, the ills have assumed immeasurable depths, leaving Nigerians to lamentation and prayers.
A government that gives examples of how long Ministers serve in another country, but fails to remind the same Ministers to resign when indicted for corruption or inefficiency, as is done in other climes; double standards indeed.
The President has chosen to keep intact an intelligence network leadership that is largely not trusted, an array of Ministers and aides adjudged to be greatly self serving and a style of leadership characterized by abominable lack of coordination and apparent loss of focus.
If the present government were a football team, then Economy is a player laid off by a long-term knee ligament damage, Corruption is the team captain, Sycophancy is the rock defender, Looting the holding midfielder, Blame is the key striker, while Honor and Integrity have yet to be signed and are not even considered by the Manager. PDP is the technical adviser and GEJ the Manager, the ball that is Nigeria is very much in play and we the spectators watch helplessly as their once glorified team is now less than a shadow of its true (former) self.
This is only the first year of the Jonathan government's first full term. Let's write off that other full year and three months after he 'took' full charge. We could say it is just one down and three or seven more years to go, depending on what happens in 2015. A lot can happen in this time.
Fuel subsidy imminently will be completely withdrawn, electricity tariffs are going up, Housing deficits are widening, more deaths are being recorded, widespread violence is fast becoming the norm and insensitivity of government is reaching immeasurable heights.
The question is: was "kare jini, biri jini" really the wrong call by Buhari? All things considered, I think PDP must be evenly matched in 2015, hopefully to be issued with a Dishonourable Discharge certification.
Sad and bloody first year, no doubt, but Mr President should hope and pray for a satisfactory and violence-free second year and beyond.
Mukhtar wrote in from Kano.