P.U Global Engineering services is one of the many indigenous oil servicing firms in Nigeria that owes its existence to the Nigerian Content Act, signed into law by Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. Today, jobs that were hitherto outsourced to foreign firms because of lack of indigenous technology and skills, can now be done in Nigeria at companies like P.U Global Engineering Services. I am gainfully employed in that company because of the Nigerian Content Act and so are many other young Nigerians.
The YouWin program is a novel idea that has provided opportunity for thousands of Nigerian youths to actualize their dreams while creating jobs for themselves in small numbers. Many people may not appreciate the GIS program but my friend Azubuike, who I graduated with in 2010, calls it a lifeline. Having spent four years at home without a job, Azubuike, like thousands of other youths, has been provided the opportunity to learn on the job while receiving monthly stipends from government. If the scale of these significant programs can be expanded to include more graduates, no doubt they can become the best youth programs in Africa after NYSC.
My only memory of the train was as a child when we visited my maternal village. We would scream in ecstasy at the sight of the locomotive. Decades later, our trains are back but sadly it is the same locomotive. If previous governments had invested in the sector, we could’ve had better trains. It is certainly not a feat worthy of being termed transformational, but to deny it as a worthy achievement would be uncharitable.
The Benin Ore road, the Lagos Ibadan expressway, the Lokoja-Abaji expressway and other federal roads notorious for their dilapidated states can now be plied with ease because of federal reconstruction work. Perhaps the most audacious achievement of this government is the unbundling of the power sector. Although Nigerians cannot currently enjoy a steady power supply, the process to a regime of constant power supply has been set in motion.
The most visible achievement of this government is in the agricultural sector. A vocation that was once reserved for the elderly has been embraced by young people who see it as a viable alternative to white-collar jobs. We can conveniently say that we are diversifying the economy to agriculture. Fertilizer racketeering, an age long cash cow for corrupt senior civil servants and politicians, has been weaned and farmers can now access fertilizer with ease.
Beyond the physical modest strides this government has engineered, it is also worth mentioning the intangibles that deepen democracy, which this government has also advanced. The convocation of the national confab, the signing into law of the freedom of information bill, the independence of the legislature and the judiciary, the adherence to rule of law and the improved conduct of elections are clear departures from the past and any government deserves commendation for these laudable feats.
Despite the modest strides of the Jonathan administration, it remains one of the most vilified governments in the recent past. This is not without reason; any country that loses over 13,000 of her citizens to a senseless insurgency cannot be patient with such a government. This is made even worse by the scandalous proportion of corruption that has come to define this administration. Things would certainly be different had the President done better in these two key areas.
Even as an unapologetic critic of this government, I cannot deny the modest feats recorded by this government. To do so would be dishonest and I will never live contrary to my name.
© Honest Offor