Friday, 5 October 2012

President is criticised for his Independence Day speech

Nigeria “celebrated” the 52 nd Independence Day anniversary on 1 October. For the second consecutive year, the celebrations were low-key across the country and even more so in Abuja. President Goodluck Jonathan has received widespread criticism for his 18-minute Independence Day broadcast which has been described as lacklustre, inaccurate and defeatist.

His declaration of the commencement of a year-long national prayer campaign has been slated because, as far as most Nigerians are concerned, it could be construed to mean that the presidency had run out of ideas and was literally “living on a prayer” in charting the affairs of the country and in resolving the myriad problems of insecurity, corruption and lack of infrastructure provision that continue to impact negatively on Nigeria's economic development.

Attempting to highlight his administration's achievements in the fight against corruption Jonathan erroneously stated that Transparency International (TI) had scored his administration high and Nigeria as “improving”. This was almost immediately refuted by TI which said: “Transparency International does not have a recent rating or report that places Nigeria as the second most improved country in the fight against corruption.”

Meanwhile, sources have revealed that the president is unhappy with the remarks made by Senate president, David Mark, during the special Independence Day session of the Senate held on Tuesday 2 October.

Remarking on the state of the nation at 52, Mark said: “We have made some considerable achievements. For that alone, we need to show gratitude to God, pray and work. Not just pray alone. Praying alone will not solve the problem and we need to combine both of them. I think more than anything else, we just need political will to take our policies to logical conclusions whether it is at the executive level or the legislative level.”

Some observers believe that Mark's reference to prayer being insufficient was a veiled response to the President's call for a year-long national prayer campaign. According to sources, Jonathan reached the same conclusion, and is therefore unhappy with Senator David Mark. Jonathan apparently felt that Mark's statement constituted a betrayal because he had always considered Mark to be one of his administration's firm allies.

For more news and expert analysis about Nigeria, please see Nigeria Focus and Nigeria Politics & Security.

© 2012 Menas Associates

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