President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan ("GEJ") of Nigeria is clueless, incompetent, and callous: 35 reasons why this is a big lie

The Economist magazine recently published an article on Nigeria in which it described the government of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (“GEJ”) as “A clueless government”.

According to The Economist, the recent abduction by Boko Haram, of 276 girls from Chibok in northeastern Nigeria “put Mr Jonathan and his government under an international spotlight, exposing them not only as incompetent but callous, too”. In a sense, this article cheaply panders to the ridiculous and ignorant notion that African nations are dysfunctional.

Yes, the GEJ government should have acted much more decisively and aggressively in its attempt to rescue the kidnapped girls. Yes, GEJ should have been vocal in condemning the kidnapping and coherently articulating his government’s response; and not waited more than two weeks before addressing the matter in public. Yes, GEJ should have postponed his campaign trip to Kano during which he was jubilating on stage, a mere day after the Nyanya bus station bombing in Abuja; that visual was disastrous. Yes, Nigeria’s first lady, Patience Jonathan, can be a public relations nightmare with her penchant for comedic outbursts and overreaching charades.

Clearly, there is a lot left to be desired from the government of Mr. GEJ. However, to describe GEJ’s government as just “clueless”, “incompetent”, and “callous” is a myopic, one-sided assessment of GEJ’s government.

Below is a comprehensive listing of the achievements of GEJ’s government. Yes, these achievements are clearly talking points of “Strategic Team 2015”, an apparent campaign outfit for GEJ’s re-election in the 2015 elections. However, the noted achievements are non-disputed facts. Facts are facts. We correctly blame GEJ for Nigeria’s problems. In that same fashion, let us given the man credit for the successes of the Nigerian government, where credit is due.


Power in NigeriaPower

  1. Launch of the Roadmap for Power Sector Reform. The Roadmap launched sets out a clear implementation plan of the Electricity Power Sector Reform Act (2005) as a reaffirmation of the commitment to resolve the power crises and setting the path for power sector improvement.
  2. The Re-instatement of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC). The regulatory body was strengthened with a new Chairman and Commissioners sworn in for the purpose of providing appropriate regulatory functions for the electricity market in Nigeria.
  3. The Jonathan administration unbundled the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) into 18 successor companies for greater efficiency and effectiveness in power generation and distribution.
  4. Creation of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET). The President inaugurated the CEO and board of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (also known as the Bulk Trader) in August 2011. The creation of NBET sets up the foundation for the requisite environment for private sector investment in the Nigerian Power Sector, by establishing a credit-worthy offtaker of power, NBET Plc. The establishment of NBET provides confidence to the power generating companies (GENCOs) that they will be paid for power produced.
  5. The Jonathan administration launched the Energy Efficiency and Energy Conservation Lighting Scheme. This is to promote and encourage the use of energy efficient bulbs and lighting systems in order to create an energy conservation culture.
  6. The Federal Government of Nigeria entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with worldwide leaders in the power sector, General Electric. The MoU stipulates that General Electric will invest up to 15% equity in power projects in the country, summing up to 10,00MW capacity by the year 2020. General Electric also proposes to establish a local packaging facility for small aero-derivative turbines in Nigeria which will promote job creation.
  7. Signing of an MoU with the Export-Import Bank of the United States. This MoU establishes an investment window of up to $1.5B for investors willing to invest in the Nigerian Power Sector. This is the first time the US Ex-Im bank has availed such capital for investment in any sector in Africa.
  8. The Goodluck Jonathan administration has improved power generation in Nigeria from around 2,000 MW to 4,500 MV, as of December 2012, the highest amount of power generated in Nigeria since the country returned to democratic rule in 1999.
  9. In order to improve the efficiency of the country’s power supply, the Jonathan administration privatized the power distribution companies (DISCOs) through a transparent bidding process.

Agriculture in NigeriaAgriculture

  1. In 2012, 14 new rice mills with the capacity to process 240 metric tons of rice were set up by the private sector. Additionally, the Federal Government secured $1.2B to install 100 large-scale rice processing mills, to produce 2.1M metric tons of rice annually.
  2. Today, Nigeria has reached an unprecedented 60% sufficiency in rice production. The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) recently described this increase in rice production as capable of raising world rice output to a record high within the next 12 next months.
  3. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture has set a clear goal to make the country self-sufficient in rice production by 2015 and end the N356B currently spent on importing rice annually. Additionally, the Ministry aims to eliminate by 2015 up to 40% of wheat imports, for which the country spends over N635B annually.
  4. The Nigeria Agricultural Bank is being restructured and recapitalized to provide loans to peasant farmers at single digit interest rates. This will be the most remarkable fund injection initiative ever undertaken by any Nigerian government to empower rural peasant farmers and create wealth for rural dwellers.
  5. Export of dried cassava chips began in July 2012, representing the first time that Nigeria achieved commercial scale exports of dried cassava chips. These exports were estimated as being able to generate $136M annually in foreign exchange for the country.
  6. The Jonathan administration is resuscitating the production of cotton, particularly in the Northeast and Northwest zones of Nigeria, through the provision of improved cotton seedlings, distributed free of charge to farmers.
  7. Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava in the world producing 34 million metric tons per annum.
  8. The Jonathan administration cleansed the rot in the fertilizer distribution system. Under the previous system, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development procured and distributed fertilizers to farmers. This system undermined the private sector: few farmers received the fertilizer supply; and most of the fertilizer supply was corruptly sold off. President Jonathan’s administration dismantled this 40-year old corrupt system. Fertilizers are now sold directly to farmers bypassing the federal government altogether.
  9. The Ministry launched a Growth Enhancement Scheme, in which farmers receive 50% subsidy on fertilizers, for a maximum of two bags per year. Farmers participate in this subsidy scheme via their mobile phones using an electronic wallet system (E-wallet). This kind of E-wallet system for managing agricultural subsidies to farmers is the first of its kind in Africa. Several African countries have expressed interest in implementing such a system.
  10. In support of the major reforms being made in Nigeria’s agriculture sector, multilateral and bilateral agencies are providing donor-related investment support by committing over $1B towards Nigeria’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda. The World Bank Group is providing $500M. The African Development Bank (AfDB) has committed $250M. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has selected Nigeria as a priority country for its agriculture support. The International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) has put up $80M. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has committed $60M. The UK Government, through the Department for International Development (DFID) has committed £37M. The Tony Elumelu Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) are providing significant technical support to Nigeria’s agriculture sector.

Aviation in NigeriaAviation

  1. At the end of 2011, the administration earmarked 22 airports for renovation and upgrades. By the end of October 2012, half of the airports had been commissioned for public use. The work on the remaining eleven airports was completed in 2013.
  2. In addition to airport renovation, the Jonathan administration approved N106B for the construction of five airport terminals, one new terminal for each of the following cities: Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt, Abuja, and Enugu. Additionally, six cargo terminals were slated for construction, to be managed under a public-private partnership (PPP) scheme.

Nigeria's EconomyEconomy

  1. Statistics show that Nigeria has become the favored destination for foreign investors into Africa. As of June 2013, foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into Nigeria exceeded $7B, making Nigeria Africa’s top destination for FDI, two years in a row. The government’s target is to attract FDI of $20B in three years.
  2. JPMorgan Chase & Co. added the Nigerian government’s local currency bonds to its Government Bond Index-Emerging Markets (GBI-EM). This addition makes Nigeria the second African country, after South Africa, to be included in JP Morgan’s emerging markets’ governments bonds index. The inclusion of Nigerian bonds on this index could lead to FDI inflows exceeding $1B into the local bond market, deepening liquidity. The inclusion of Nigerian local bonds in this index raises the profile of Nigeria’s debt market.
  3. The Jonathan administration has, in less than two years, put Nigeria on the path to economic recovery. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Nigerian economy was projected to grow by 5.9% in 2011. However, as of 2011 Q3, Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) had grown by 7.3%, according to Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics. According to the World Bank, the Nigerian economy grew by 6.6% and 6.7% in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Furthermore, the World Bank forecasts that Nigeria’s economy will grow by 6.7% in 2014.

Nigeria's Freedom of Information ActFreedom of Information Act

  1. President Jonathan’s signing of the Freedom of Information Act into law in May 2011 represented a water shed moment in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.
  2. This piece of legislation, which had been virtually stalled by successive administrations since 1999, was signed into law by President Jonathan to usher Nigeria into the league of nations; where transparency in governance is entrenched and citizens have access to unfettered information on government’s activities.

Oil Industry Reforms in NigeriaOil Industry Reforms

  1. In line with global best practices and the principal aim of the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), President Jonathan recently forwarded the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to the National Assembly for passage into law. When the Petroleum Industry Bill is passed into law, Nigeria would have taken a major step towards minimizing corruption in the oil industry. The implementation of the PIB could lead to as much as $680B being added to Nigeria’s economy.
  2. President Jonathan’s government has subjected the fuel subsidy regime, which was notorious for corruption, to forensic scrutiny by various agencies and committees. The Aig-Imoukhuede Presidential committee on verification and reconciliation of subsidy claims and payments led to the arrest and arraignment of a number of individuals and firms by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Roads in NigeriaRoads

  1. The work of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) in road projects in 2012 resulted in accelerated work on the rehabilitation of the following projects: Abuja-Abaji-Lokoja dual carriageway; Benin-Ore-Sagamu dual carriageway; Onitsha-Enugu-Port Harcourt dual carriageway; Kaduna-Maiduguri dual carriageway; East-West Road; and the Second Niger Bridge. These roads will cover a total distance of 1,664 kilometres and are at various stages of completion.
  2. The Jonathan administration has entered into collaboration with multi-lateral agencies under the Road Sector Development Team (RSDT) scheme. Under this framework, the RSDT is currently implementing road rehabilitation; upgrading and maintenance; institutional strengthening and policy reform; and road safety improvements with credit from the World Bank and the Africa Development Bank (AfDB). The RSDT in collaboration with multi-lateral agencies maintained and rehabilitated 257 kilometres of roads in 2012.
  3. The Federal Ministry of Works is currently working out the modalities for the dualization of the Keffi-Lafia-Makurdi-Enugu (9th Mile) roads in Nasarawa, Benue, and Enugu States with funds from the Export-Import Bank of China.

Railways in NigeriaRail Transportation

  1. The Jonathan administration inaugurated the Lagos-Kano train service, which had been moribund for almost a decade. This is a major feat considering the many years of neglect of Nigeria’s rail transport system.
  2. The government is rehabilitating the Eastern rail line from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, as well as the Zaria-Kaura Namoda rail route. The Abuja-Kaduna 187 kilometre rail line is more than 30% complete.
  3. The Ajaokuta-Warri standard gauge has been completed; this rail line provides for a less than four-hour journey between the Middle belt and the South-South regions. The Lagos-Ibadan new gauge rail line is on course for completion.
  4. The federal government has completed three feasibility studies and commissioned three additional studies to open new railway corridors, which will be concessioned to local and foreign investors. The federal government estimated that an unprecedented amount of $200B in investments could be injected into the Nigerian economy through these concessions in 2013 and 2014.