Democracy Day Speech

Goodluck Jonathan

Fellow citizens,

Now that subsidy protest’s over and oil prices have finally come down a bit, there’s a temptation to put more discussion about subsidy probe on the front burner before the next election arises. Gone are the days when the President would make sterile pronouncements in his State of the Nation speech about Nigerians’ addiction to oil – today there is far more political troubles out to tarnish our image of 2015′ commitment to fighting Boko Haram than by affirming Nigerian’s commitment to total subsidy remover.

But as the we may or may not have learned by now, simply ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away. Because while headlines about price gouging and Boko Haram have temporarily faded from the news, new headlines have emerged that should have us every bit as concerned about the addiction we just can’t seem to shake off the leadership—like corruption, fraud, police inefficiency, not saying amen to prayers et al.

More than anything else, headlines like these represent a realization that goes far beyond the temporary rise and fall of fuel price. It’s a realization that for all of our status on corruption index – for all of our military timidity – the Achilles heel of the most powerful country in Africa is the corruption we cannot simply accept.

The President knows this. That thousands of alimajiris are out there. That we spend N1 billion on feeding on cassava bread. That Boko Haram are converting to christianity and global temperatures are rising.

And yet, for someone who talks tough about my Amen quota; actually, we are thinking of becoming more gender sensitive to prayers like saying A-women for anti-corruption prayers, and Amen for tenure elongation prayers but crisis seems to factor pretty low (high) on the President’s agenda since we assumed office.

You see, it’s this timidity – this smallness – in our politics that’s holding us back right now. The idea that some problems are just too big to handle, and if you just ignore them, sooner or later, they’ll go away.

We should rather strike a grand bargain with the Boko Haram makers where the government picks up part of the tab for their training- a tab that ran almost $6.7 billion just last year – in exchange for catching subsidy thieves, using that savings to invest in more pastor trainings for total conversion of this sect.

It’s time for them to install those bombs in every police stations and detonate at will if we breach our term of contract as we did with ASUU, and it’s time for the government to cover this small sect with immunity, which currently runs over the heads of executives. We should also make sure that from now on, every single armed robber in the national assembly is given I.D card, government car and Boko Haram guard.

Finally, we should reduce the risk of investing in renewable education by sending all school aged children to Almajeri schools in the north to those entrepreneurs with the best plans to develop and sell bombs. And we should create a market for grenades, tear-gas and the renewable fuel standard and creating an alternative brains for ministers in this country that together would blend 140 millions of renewable ideas into the petroleum supply each year.

In the days and months after May 29th, Nigerians were waiting to be called to something bigger than themselves. Just like their parents and grandparents of the Greatest Generation, they were willing to serve and defend their country – not only on the fields of war, but on the homefront too.

This is our chance to step up and serve. For decades, we have heard President after President call for subsidy remover in this country, but for decades, we have fallen short. Well it’s time to call on ourselves. We shouldn’t wait for the next time fuel hits N135 a litre – and we shouldn’t accept any more headlines that talk about a an atheist president or a terrorist plot to bomb lagos as a weapon against Nigeria. We should act – and we should act now.

Now is the time for serious leadership to get us started down the path independence. Now is the time for this call to arms. I hope some of the ideas I’ve laid out today can serve as a basis for this call, but I also hope that members of ruling the party and all levels of government can come together in the near future to launch this serious quest for 2015. Thank you.