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Nigeria’s Jonathan flying high

August 12, 2010

NIGERIA-BANK/IFCWould you order three new jets just so your successor could use them?

President Goodluck Jonathan is keeping Nigerians guessing as to whether he plans to stand in elections due next January, but suspicions are growing that he will eventually decide to contest.

Plans he has set out range from boosting power supply – perhaps Nigeria’s most critical need – to improving roads. Those are certainly not projects that anyone could complete quickly. On Wednesday, cabinet approved the purchase of three presidential jets at a cost of $150 million – adding to the suspicions he sees himself making use of them.

But there remains the question of Nigeria’s careful ethnic political dance. Jonathan must win over northerners who believe they deserve another turn at the presidency because late President Umaru Yar’Adua, a Muslim northerner, died in office. In another possible sign of Jonathan trying to win favour in the north, he appointed two female opposition members from the region to his cabinet this week.

It can’t be easy for anyone who becomes president to turn down the chance to stay in office – particularly at the urging of supporters constantly assuring you that you can do the job better than anyone else.

Do you see the signs leading to Jonathan staying in office next year? Or could the government be trying to spend what it can in the limited time it may have to run?

Picture: Nigerians walk on a pedestrian bridge near a billboard advertisement in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye

There are glaring needs in Nigeria and Power Supply is the driving deterrant. If Jonathan was serious about making change he would have started the power project as soon as he came into power; he was indeed the Vice President and not a stranger to the concerns of the people.

I am not concerned with the $150m purchase, but does he really need 3 new planes. Can’t he just buy one new one, repair the others and use the balance of the funds on improving a hospital, university or something visible in the country.

Our leaders have taken us for granted!

Posted by Woleo | Report as abusive

It’s obvious GEJ is running for president. I would if I were in his place, so I don’t understand why the media is fascinated by the obvious. The question should be, will he win?

Posted by NeonGirl | Report as abusive

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