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Goodluck Jonathan: Reaping The Fruits Of Good Works 

By Peterkins Manyong

What is in a name? People who believe there is something in it have the Holy Bible as their authority and a great authority for that matter. Simon Peter was greatly strengthened by the fact that Christ christened him the rock on which his church would be built. That church is indeed as solid as a rock.

Those who say there is nothing in a name have many examples to substantiate their viewpoint. Armed robbers and prostitutes that bear the names of saints are legion. Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s re-elected President is one of those whose fortunes reflect his name.

Last Saturday, April 16, he cast his vote hoping his luck would shine again. It did. But was it luck alone that gave him victory? Certainly no. Hard work played a greater part. Those who emphasise the aspect of luck forget that he was a Governor before he became Vice President. Umaru Yar’Adua would not have chosen him as his running mate if he was not convinced that Goodluck was hard working and disciplined, and a man with sterling qualities. If Yar’Adua had lived, Goodluck would never by any stretch of the imagination have picked up Nigeria’s top job.

It is the pissing on of his boss that commentators, including the press, have used to justify their standpoint that he is a lucky man. That is rather unfortunate. Journalists who uphold this view know that all good news reports and analysis are the fruits of hard work. Governing a country is a greater feat than running a successful newspaper. Careful planning and execution are as indispensable in governance as in news-papering.

Nigeria had the singular misfortune of being plunged into a bloody civil war less than seven years into independence. It has experienced more coup d’etats than any African nation and logically has the greatest number of ex-presidents on the continent. Managing such a complex nation requires plenty of tact and a very sophisticated political acumen. It is not by accident that Goodluck Jonathan has kept out of corruption scandals and high handedness.

His humility and sense of accountability prevented him from embarking on the purchase of a good plane for himself and had to get stranded in Uganda for the Nigerian Senate to see the necessity of providing for better air transport for their President. Nigerian people’s representatives were genuinely ashamed that the leader of Africa’s giant should return home in a hired plane when rulers of smaller and poorer nations cruised in modern jets, and promptly ordered three for him.

If Cameroon were a democratic nation like Nigeria, Parliament would have been the one to purchase a plane for Biya. The nation and the rest of the world would, therefore, not have been embarrassed by the spectacle of respectable personalities, among them a former Secretary General, and a billionaire’s son being thrown into a dungeon with common law criminals.

The average Cameroonian would be proud to see his President transported in a befitting plane. The clandestine manner in which the Albatross purchase was conducted is ample proof of the fact that Cameroon has not yet graduated from voodoo economics which Jean Assoumou, late Director of SNH confirmed when he said that the issue of Cameroon’s oil was too complex for the average, unsophisticated mind to understand.

Good neighbourliness is an aspect of good nature. Goodluck certainly needed victory but did not think he should descend into a toilette to get it. The present good relationship between Cameroon and Nigeria is the fruit of the amicable settlement of the Bakassi Crisis. Goodluck is unmistakeably determined to maintain it, unlike a fellow aspirant to the Nigerian Presidency who said he would take back the Bakassi Peninsula if voted.

Responsible leadership requires self restraint. Goodluck is not just trying to be a good boy. Nigeria is gunning for a position as Africa’s representative at the UN Security Council. And one way of proving that she is a responsible nation is to have responsible leadership. Responsible leadership is proven by, among other issues, respect for the verdict of institutions like the International Court of Justice.

Goodluck also acted commendably as ECOWAS President by allowing Ivorians to solve their problem. He thus begins his well deserved four-year term in office with impeccably clean hands. The most commendable thing about Goodluck wass his readiness to accept the verdict of the Nigerian polls. While casting his vote he said that although he was in the contest to win, he had offered himself as an experiment to prove that an incumbent can leave power if he loses election.

This is quite unlike what transpires in Cameroon where the hand of the Supreme Court President is constantly tied. That same Judge had to be prevented from having a deserved rest on retirement because the incumbent can’t take the chances of having in his place another person who has not been tested and proven to have the same degree of loyalty to the system. Goodluck has indeed rescued his country from the stigma of "big for nothing", given her by the ingenious commentator, Barry Fohtung of blessed memory.

Goodluck would have been indeed lucky if violence didn’t break out in the North after his victory. Fortunately, Mohammed Buhari, the runner up who hails from there, has dissociated himself from the violence. Cameroon has lot to learn from the just ended Nigerian elections. Credibility is not demonstrated by motions of support; it is done through credible elections.73 million people registered to participate in Nigeria’s elections; that is almost half of the nation’s population.

Here we are five months to elections and less than one million out of twenty million people have registered. There is no better proof than this that Cameroonians have lost faith in their country’s democratization process. and Biya stands to blame for promoting voter apathy by encouraging or condoning persistent rigging of elections.

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