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Atsar Terver
Public Commentator
Port Harcourt
more articles by Terver



It is apparent that the way they are going, this government would never change our lives for good. therefore I agree completely with the NBA President Joseph Daudu that if Jonathan can not improve our lives he should leave us the way he met us!


This Fresh Air Stinks.

If anyone still doubts the insensitivity of President Goodluck Jonathan to the suffering and yearnings of the Nigerian masses after the 1st January hike in PMS  price then tonight's national broadcast should erase such doubts. The President referred to the escalating violence in the north as mere security challenges while he casually alluded to planned protesters as mischief makers


Starring blankly at the teleprompter and looking so much like an 'atoki' (atoki is a Tiv word for zombies placed on farm lands to scare away monkeys), save for movement of his lips, the president did not cut the picture of a man conscious that he was addressing the whole world on a critical emergency directly threatening the lives of over160million people. The president did not even appear to believe in himself! It was a somber regurgitation of poorly rehearsed rhetoric bereft of inner conviction. Thus he failed to inspire confidence in what he was saying. How would the people believe in someone who does not believe in himself?

The content of the speech itself is a study in contradiction and deception.

Firstly, having admitted the failure of the illegal state of emergency he declared in selected local government areas in some states and lamenting the renewed killings after the order, he failed to offer what his next line of action would be. His silence on next steps speaks loudly of his resignation to fate or luck for a solution to the crisis. Why does he think Nigerians should trust his sense of judgment on the economy when he admits that he has no clue to the security problems? A president is supposed to 'know how to secure the lives of his people fore and foremost then other things should follow.

Secondly the president claimed that he feels the pain that we feel yet he went to court against us to stop us from complaining! Why is he mobilizing 15000 policemen to halt protests in Abuja on Monday thereby drawing a line in the sand for us to cross? If indeed he believes we have a say in how our lives should be governed, he could have asked the police to unconditionally release those that have been arrested and are being detained by the police in the wake of protests against the price hike. He Did not mourn the protester that lost his life in kwara state! Simple symbolic gestures like these cost nothing but they send a powerful message of empathy with the people and help to build trust in leaders.Jonathanbungled that opportunity.

Thirdly, by completely ignoring Labour and NBA as well as the NMA which have served notice of strike Jonathan has miscalculated badly. He underestimates the resolve of these groups but to his own peril. It takes more effort to regain trust that is lost than to build it from scratch. The snub of organised labour groups is a red behavior in conflict resolution. It signifies a complete disconnect of the government to the people. It is a clear manifestation of  poor managerial skill. If this is the fresh air Jonathan promised then its stinking!

Fourthly the claim to reduce salaries of political office holders by 25% ,apart from being an afterthought, also smacks of deception. A disclosure of how much government would rake in from this pay cut would have been more helpful for public appreciation. Even then this pay cut is what Nigerians have been calling for even while the phoney  subsidy subsisted and therefore should not be used as a tool of blackmail to justify the fuel price hike. and why increase our suffering by 300% when you can only let go of a mere25% of your earnings? And just cutting salaries without cutting corruption is counter productive. whatever these people loose from pay cut they will recover through more looting of the treasury after all without subsidy there is going to be more 'lootable ' funds available. So Mr. president we are not deceived!

The president said he has  convinced transporters to reduce fares! Wonderful This man surely has luck! But we beg your pardon Mr. President; what margin of reduction did you secure from these philanthropic transporters? I am tempted to say 'bullshit'!

Perhaps the most bizarre assertion by Jonathan tonight is that he has ordered mobilization of contractors for the rehabilitation of Port Harcourt Maiduguri Rail Line. "HABA mallam"! Does the president now award contacts by fiat? When was this contract tendered? Which contractor won the job? Was it budgeted in 2012? How much will the project cost and when will the trains come online?

It is apparent that the way they are going, this government would never change our lives for good. therefore I agree completely with the NBA President Joseph Daudu that if Jonathan can not improve our lives he should leave us the way he met us!



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