Nigerians should blame all leaders, not Jonathan alone for country’s woes- Maku

Former Information minister, Labaran Maku

The Information Minister said this in Lagos on Wednesday.

The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, on Wednesday said that President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration is committed to reinforcing democratic institutions in Nigeria, adding that Nigerians have failed in holding their local leaders accountable.

Mr. Maku stated this at an event marking the 20th anniversary of the annulment of the June 12, 1993, election, organized by the Save Nigeria Group in Lagos.

“The problem is that we have become so used to dictatorship that if people go to their village and their local public toilet is not there, it’s the president. If people go to their village and the local primary school is not working, it’s the president,” said Mr. Maku.

“The president must bear responsibility because he is the leader of Nigeria, but the truth of the matter is that power is dispatched through institutions that must take responsibility. And if we must change Nigeria, we must hold every leader responsible,” he added.

The event, tagged ‘Democracy Audit 2013,’ aims to dialogue on the burning issues in Nigeria, according to Yinka Odumakin, the group’s Spokesperson.

Mr. Maku further said that Nigeria’s challenges are no different from those experienced by advanced nations at various stages of their nationhood.

“Every generation has always expressed doubt about whether their countries are living in the right time or whether they are happy,” said Mr. Maku.

Reacting to the remarks of Tunde Bakare, convener of the Save Nigeria Group, Mr. Maku insisted that the present administration is “on the right track.”

“We have put forward a new roadmap, a new reform in power sector that is different than any government had done in the past,” Mr. Maku said.

“You can check the records, today in spite of what we hear, I keep telling Nigerians, on power, we are sorry we are not able to give power 24 hours yet, but are we on the road to doing so? Yes,” he said.

“If you look at the way our education has moved, you will notice that the problem of our education is primary education. It’s the major problem that is feeding low quality people to the secondary education on to the university. That again is an agenda that needs intervention, and we have done intervention,” he added.

Among those in attendance were Orji Kalu, former Governor of Abia State; Kola Abiola, son of the late M.K.O Abiola; Dino Melaye, former member of the House of Representatives; and Ankyo Briggs, human rights activist, among others.

Earlier in his remark, Mr. Bakare noted that the problems facing the country in 1993 are still evident in 2013.

“Do we now have better employment indices? Is there food security across the length and breadth of Nigeria? Are housing problems a thing of the past? Do we have portable waters in our cities and rural areas?

“Is there regular and uninterrupted electricity supply? Do we have improved transportation facilities? What of education? Do we have better schools? Are our hospitals any better? Mr. Bakare asked.

“The question of infrastructure is just one chunk, albeit a huge one, of the many factors afflicting Nigeria. Apart from physical infrastructures, how far has Nigeria gone in providing social and political infrastructures?”

Mr. Bakare also said that the government had failed to explain to Nigerians how oil marketers “cornered” N3 trillion in subsidy funds when government’s budget was N245 billion.

“Not a single head has rolled in either the ministry of finance or NNPC and we have seen on television how the trial of the subsidy thieves could very well be mistaken for a night of a thousand laughs,” said Mr. Bakare.

“The state pardon granted to former Bayelsa governor, DSP Alamieyeseigha perhaps says what the official position on corruption is,” he added.

Mr. Bakare described the 56 per cent unemployment rate figure recently released by the World Bank as “shocking.”

“Top on the list of the vulnerable and the oppressed is the Nigerian child who still cannot get qualitative education at all levels in 2013 if his or her parents are not part of the moneyed class,” he said.

“Basic education in Nigeria, purportedly free, is merely poor education given to the children of the poor so that they can remain poor and ignorant,” Mr. Bakare added.


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  • Ndidi

    We know that all previous leaders deliberately under-developed Nigeria, BUT GEJ said that if we vote for him he would bring positive change. There are improvements, but his government has NOT been tough on corruption. For as long as gross corruption persists, no policy, no matter how good, will be successful. We now need to see GEJ being tough on corruption. Appointing Anenih, wanting such an expensive banqueting hall (unless he gets his rich friends to pay for it but not public funds), his VP wanting a super costly residence, pardoning Alams, not controlling his wife, etc, all these are damaging him.

    • Dan maikoko

      There is still hope Ndidi. Even a drunkard knows that Nigeria has reached the lowest low with this president and the only way to go now is up. Can you imagine the embarrassment when the Nigerian president was called 3 times to deliver a speech at the AU conference and he failed to show up? Nigerians know what he is capable of and none even care to protest. Look at the recent chart of children out of school the world over, check out the world bank report on Nigeria. If I were the Nigerian president I will be ashamed to show my face anywhere in the world. Which means that the AU shame by this president was another way to tell Nigerians that he is so ashamed of our situation that he will not show his face to the international community, that could mean that GEJ has finally had a change of heart and wants to do something about our plight. Half the problem is solved if you recognise that there is a problem.

      • Foresight

        Why should the president of Kenya (and even Liberia that our soldiers recently restored order in their country) be called to speak first before the president of Nigeria? GEJ did well to have ignored them to their disappointment!!!

        • Dan maikoko

          I would have preferred he explain that to dispel rumours that he was too drunk to speak!!!

          • Edo

            He was actually drunk to stupor during the AU meeting. There was no doubt about it. Even fishes in the ocean can never compete with Jonah when it comes to drinking. Since Nigerians bought him shoes, the exhilaration of it has rendered him completely incompetent.

        • Salihu

          I believe president is president in Africa, and non supersede the other. I think it will be “foolish” and so immature to abscond from the speech on the ground that Kenyan and Liberian presidents were called first. So what that they were called first? What was/is GEJ’s contributions to the AU as it is today?
          Seriously am so embarrassed to have learned that GEJ could be so low even before the international community. I mean where is the maturity? where the gentility in him been a president of a country? That he is the president of Nigeria makes him alpha and omega of Africa or AU? May be he hasn’t learn his lessons up till now. GEJ need to understand that AU will not tolerate any sort of indiscipline and unseriousness from Nigeria, that was why they voted him out out-rightly when he contested for its leadership.

        • Omo Odua

          Foresight, at AU and other international fora like that, nation states are called upon alphabetically!!!

      • OLA PEDRO

        If speeches made by great leaders like Nkrumah, Gaddafi, Mandella, Sekou Toure among others could not change us in Africa what difference could a speech by the president who has delivered speeches at the UN b4 now make Again its the same old smear campaign against the president-Maku is right-sometimes I will rather some of us beam the our regional search light on our past leaders-Nigeria has had over 12 heads of state-with over 57 trillion wasted on nothing yet we hear bakare who was Buharis running mate-talking like a kid–let him show us what buhari did for the 3 yrs that he ruled the nation–Ibb was there for 8yrs–his report card–OBJ for anoda 8 yrs what about his–abacha 6 yrs–shagari over 4 yrs-put all tegether we have –29yrs compared to the 2 yrs that Jonathan has been in the saddle-only a donkey would blame Jonathan for all our troubles since 1960

    • Sadiq Garba

      Leave that Maku.
      What do we have to do with the past leaders. They’re gone.
      It’s the current leadership we should look at. our criticisms should not be threats to their intentions, if at all those intentions are good.

  • Dankasa

    This Maku is an idiot, General Murtala left a legacy in how many months???? Diversionary talk!!!

  • Dankasa

    This Maku is an idiot, General Murtala left built a legacy in how many months???? Diversionary talk!!!

  • nija pikin

    The truth of the matter is, in terms of physical achievement GEJ is the worst of the past presidents may be equal to Gen Abdlsalami and Shonekan bcos of time, but even Abacha built the biggest settlement in Africa(Gwarinpa Estate) and establish the PTF, and state creation e.g Bayelsa, Gombe e.t.c while OBJ has performed wonderfully and late YARADUA has achive far more on his sick bed than GEJ through the successful amnesty to the niger delta, to continue will only expose our president so Maku pls change the topic.