1.1 Background to the Study
The installation of democratic governance in Nigeria in 1999 opens a new window for the formulation of development policy for Nigeria. The hypothesis that democracy brings development has been put to test in Nigeria. Fifteen years into democratic governance, successive governments have come up with their various development policies to project the country into an economic powerhouse by the year 2020. The Obasanjo administration was inaugurated in May 1999 and that marked a turning point within the political history of Nigeria (Awojobi 2014). Obasanjo swung into action after assuming office. This is how Madasiru and Adabonyon (2001) put it “on assumption of office in May, 1999, the Obasanjo administration immediately took decisive steps to put in place an enable environment for the thriving of democracy, regaining international respectability and credibility, and putting the economy on the path to sustainability growth and development.” The high poverty rates, high unemployment rate, collapsed economy and infra-structural decay that was occasioned with the prolonged military rule in Nigeria, prompted the Obansajo administration to come up with the development policy called the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS). Onah posits that NEEDS emphasized “on wealth creation, employment generation, poverty reduction and re-orientating values” These goals, according to him, can be achieved “by creating an environment in which business can thrive, government is redirected to providing basic services, and people are empowered to take advantage of the opportunities which the plan will be ushered” (Onah 2006).
President Yar’Adua succeeded Obasanjo in 2007 after the former won the presidential election. The Yar’Adua administration did not continue with the development strategy of his predecessor, instead the regime came out with a policy known as the Seven-Points Agenda. The policy thrust of the administration centered on the seven-point agenda which are: Critical Infrastructure; Food Security; Niger Delta Development; Human Capital Development; Land Tenure and Home Ownership; National Security and Wealth Creation. According to Ibeitan and Ekhosuehi (2013) the seven-point agenda “are supposed to be running alongside with the Nigerian version of the Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger by 2015; achieving universal primary education by 2015; reducing child mortality by two-third by 2015; improving maternal health by 2015; combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other preventable diseases by 2015; ensuring environmental sustainability between 2015 and 2020, and developing a global partnership for development by 2015.” However, the policy did not last on its implementation because of the demise of Yar’Adua in 2010.
The Jonathan administration in Nigeria is headed by Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who became Vice-President of Nigeria on May 29, 2007. He became Acting President on February 9, 2010 following the terminal ailment of the then President Umaru Yar'Adua, until the unfortunate demise of Yar’Adua on May 5, 2010. Jonathan was subsequently sworn-in on May 6, 2010, as the President, Commander - in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. On January 14, 2011, following a Presidential Election, Jonathan was overwhelmingly elected as the President of Nigeria for a four years’ tenure that terminates in 2015 (FRN, 2012). Realizing the high expectations, the President promised not to let the people down. On that historic day, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan promised Nigerians a policy package tagged the Transformation Agenda when he declared that Together we will unite over our nation and improve the living standard of all our people whether in the North or in the South; in the East or in the West. Our decade of development has begun. The march is on. The day of Transformation begins today. We will not allow anyone to exploit differences in creed or tongue to set us one against another. (Tell Special Edition, June 2012:9). The President further pledged that his leadership will be decidedly transformative in all critical sectors and that his administration must grow the economy, create jobs andgenerate enduring happiness for all and sundry. In addition, the President declared on day that he has "great confidence in the ability of Nigerians to transform the country and that the urgent task of his administration is to provide a suitable environment for productive activities to flourish. He went on to appeal all good people of Nigerian to enlist as agents of the great Transformation Agenda (Tell Special Edition, June, 2012:9). The issue of national development cannot be over-emphasized. It is a recurring decimal in understanding the history of development strategies and growth models as it concerns an individual country’s history. Hence, Commentators on the postulation of western social scientists have emphasized in different forms that development must be conceived in the context of a particular social system. Amucheazi (1980) maintains that the individual and his quality of life must be the centre of conception of national development. This is in view of the fact that development is all about the people. And so, development should be man-oriented and not institution-oriented. National development is essentially the overall development or a collective socio-economic, political as well as religious advancement of a country or nations. It is also the ability of a country or countries to improve the social welfare on the by providing basic infrastructure such as roads, schools, hospitals, recreational facilities, etc. Consequently, a country could be considered to be developed to the extent at which every sector of its economy, or national life reflects steady, yet progressive growth. The development process, of course, must be seen in its broadest context if it is to meet the expectation for a more elevated standard of living. Besides, the overall concept and goal of national development is to fulfill the following broad national objectives: a. Rapid growth of the incomes of the population in general. b. Poverty alteration/reduction; rapid growth of the incomes of the poor. c. Satisfaction of basic social and economic needs. d. Sustainment of a democratic and fully participatory society.
Transformation itself is a development strategy aimed at complete or radical change in the life of an individual, organization, community or even the nation at large. According to the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, transformation is a complete change in somebody or something. It is a multifaceted and multidimensional change affecting every component of the individual or society. Transformation in the life of a person connotes radical attitudinal change from bad to good or even vice versa. Institutionally, it depicts change that touches on every component of the institution. According to Ajala and Longe (2008), Transformation or reform, particularly in the health institution is a process that seeks changes in the health sector policies, financing and organization of services as well as in the role of government to reach National health objectives. This include the need to expand and strengthen primary health care services throughout the country, eradicate or eliminate childhood and other preventable diseases through adequate routine immunization; strengthen all disease control efforts and health promotion activities into health care at primary care level, reduce environmental and occupational health related morbidity and mortality; protect the public from the harmful effects of fake drugs, unregistered medicines and processed foods etc. (Ajala and Longe, 2008: 67). In the life of a nation, transformation involves structural changes in the major institutions of governance and the society at large. It should guarantee improved living standard, Per Capital Income, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and other basic Socio-economic indicators such as food, shelter, clothing and health for the substantial majority of the citizenry. Thus, on the whole, transformation can be said to be a total package that involves every facet of the individual, organization or society. It is meant to be a vehicle for a better society where virtually everyone will be reasonably comfortable. For the Jonathan administration in Nigeria however, it has been a scenario of the obscurity of accolades. President Jonathan has accordingly described himself as the world’s most criticised President (Chiedozie, 2012). Nevertheless, one particular area of statecraft in which the Jonathan administration has been highly rated is the issue of women empowerment (Idonor, 2011; Iheuwa, 2013). Women empowerment is indisputably critical to national development. It has accordingly remained topical in developmental discourses in the Nigerian state (Adefarasin, 1987; Lasiele, 1999; Okafor and Abdulazeez, 2007; Fapohunda, 2011; Luka, 2011; Adebowale, 2012; Ezegbe and Akuebue, 2012). In any case, despite the accolades that the otherwise highly criticized Jonathan administration has won on women empowerment, there are still some grey areas on the scorecard of the administration, over this subject matter.
1.2 Statement of Problem
The need to catalyze balanced development, maximize citizens’ participation, and arouse government response necessitates improving national development of Nigeria. There is no doubt that a major policy package of this magnitude under Goodluck Jonathan's administration is bound to face challenges. This fact has already been acknowledged by those directly in charge of pulling the agenda through to the extent that some of the members of the Economic Monitoring Team have expressed some level of pessimism. For example, the Minister of Power has informed Nigerians of a significant drop in the water level at the dams supplying water to some strategic hydro stations as well as the non-availability of gas to fire some thermal stations. These bottlenecks are by far serious challenges, given the centrality of power and gas to the success of the Transformation Agenda. Similarly, the major actors of the Agenda have admitted limited financing from the Federal and State government as well as the private sector. This development will no doubt affect the effective take-off of the Agenda as has been attested to by some of the Minister themselves. Even the coordinating minister of the Transformation Agenda, DR. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has admitted that shortage of funding arising from the inefficient and corrupt handling of the fuel subsidy regime as well as bureaucratic bottlenecks are serious enough challenges to the realization of the Transformation Agenda. Beyond the pessimism expressed by those directly piloting the Agenda, there are other obvious challenges. The first one is ineffective and corrupt public service. Important and strategic to the success of the Transformation Agenda is the public service, which is the engine room of governance. Over the years, the public service has been battered by corruption, undue bureaucratic bottlenecks leading to delays, leakages and inefficiency in accomplishing its purpose. The public service has over the years lost its vital attributes of neutrality, anonymity and security of tenure.These negative tendencies will no doubt limit the capacity of the public service to serve as the necessary vehicle to deliver the gains of the Transformation Agenda.A related point to the above is the lack of desired synergy between political office holders, whose terms of office is usually much shorter, but are majorly the architects of government policies and public servants, whose term of office is much longer and are mainly the executors. There seem to be sour relationship between the two most of the time. On the one hand, public servants perceive political office holders as largely opportunist, uneducated and uninformed in the act of public service. On the other, political office holders see public servant as exercising, considerable, but underserved influence and power in governance. This „cat and mouse‟ relationship is certainly in inimical to the success of the Transformation Agenda.
The second major challenge to the success of the Transformation Agenda is the near absence of a purposeful, trusted, respected and focused leadership in Nigerian. There is a general agreement among Nigerians that the nation lacks the desired leadership to pull the country out of its present predicament in spite of its abundant human and material resources. Nkom (2005) has for instance likened Nigeria, the “Giant of Africa” to the proverbial decaying fish which usually starts getting rotten from the head (Leadership). Gradually, the rottenness proceeds to the rest of the body (citizens). Infact, the present political leadership in Nigeria has of recent come under serious changes of incompetence and insensitivity to the plight of the people. For example, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, a public commentator has recently accused the present leadership of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of lack of a clear idea on how to use power for the benefit of the people. He further said that the President has demonstrated sheer incompetence and palpable cluelessness and that the wicked act of increasing the pump price of petroleum by over one hundred and twelve per cent on the first of January, 2012, will go down in history as the most insensitive act ever perpetrated against the people of Nigerian since the amalgamation of 1914 (Sunday Mirror, June, 2012:16). Moreover, Femi Otedola, a member of the Economy Management Team that is suppose to drive the Transformation Agenda, was said to be linked to the giving of bribe of 620,000 dollars to Farouk Lawan,a member of the House of Representatives and Chairman Adhoc committee on the Petroleum subsidy Probe. This and many other alleged and confirmed cases are remiscent of the level of rottenness of the Nation‟s Leadership.
To this end, this study sets out to investigate the Goodluck Jonathan's administration and national development. Knowing the roles the government needs to play in development of any society and the obvious inability of the national government in the task of national development, reviews of past administrations has been created essentially to compliment the efforts of the national government in the task of national development. Nevertheless, poor implementation policies and underdevelopment remains a common feature in these administrations.
Thus, in pursuance of the central problem in this research a number of questions have been raised (posed) for this research purpose. They are:
Has Jonathan's administration contributed substantially to rural development?
What is the scorecard of the Jonathan administration on women empowerment in Nigeria?
What is surrounding challenges that hinders his administration in carrying out developmental programmes?
1.3 Objectives of Study
The broad objective of this study is to assess the performance of Goodluck Jonathan's administration in the area of national development.
The specific objectives of the study are as follows.
To ascertain whether Jonathan's administration has contributed substantially to national development.
critically examine the scorecard of the Jonathan administration on women empowerment in Nigeria.
To highlight the surrounding challenges that hinders his administration in carrying out developmental programmes.
1.4 Significance of the Study
This study has both theoretical and practical significance. Theoretically, the study provides a theoretical framework for the understanding of the role of Goodluck Jonathan's administration and national development in Nigeria. Therefore considering the pivotal role of Jonathan's administration in development in general, such information will be of immense help for policy formulation on the development of the country (Nigeria). The result of the study will equally be of help to other researchers who may want to research on such topic or related topics on development in the academia in the future.
On the practical significance, the study will draw attention of, and enlighten both the stakeholders and those who implement policies on national development in Nigeria who may not really understand the central role of national development on the crucial and inescapable presidential system. As a result, the urban and rural dwellers will endeavour to participate full in grassroots democratization and development, while those who implement policy on development in Nigeria will become dedicated to policy formulation, recommendations and implementation.
In the light of the research question and of related literature, the following hypothesis will be tested:
H1: Jonathan's administration has not contributed substantially to national development in Nigeria.
H2: the scorecard of the Jonathan administration has no effect on women empowerment in Nigeria.
H3: the surrounding challenges does not hinders his administration in carrying out developmental programmes.
1.6 Scope and Limitations of the study
The scope of this research work is quite wide and broad that it encompasses the investigation of the "Goodluck Jonathan's administration and national development in Nigerian". This is because of the spontaneous nature. The notable reference though is on the already listed statement of the problem and hypothesis which would be used in the continuation of this research work up till the point of arriving at the conclusion and preferred recommendations of this research work.
As regards to the limitation of this study, we would point out that there were indeed limited documented materials on the issue and the factors of it being timely in conjunction with financial impendiments or constraints, time and numerous academic work in campus.
1.7 Definition of terms
These terms that have been carefully selected for definition in this research work are those that are related to the course of study and those terms which also have ambiguous meaning, here an attempt is made to give clarity on their usage in this research work.
Administration: the term administration according to Collins dictionary is the range of activities connected with organizing and supervising the way that an organization or institution functions.
National development: National, according to Longman dictionary of contemporary English, refers to a phenomenon that embraces a whole nation. National development therefore can be described as the overall development or a collective socio-economic, political as well as religious advancement of a country or nation. This is best achieved through development planning, which can be described as the country’s collection of strategies mapped out by the government.
Democracy: The term democracy “literally signifies” the rule of the people: the term democracy as it is used in the study synchronizes with Abraham Lincoln’s definition of democracy. Gauba (1981:421) quoting Lincoln and it reads: Democracy is the government of the people by the people and for the people. It implies that ultimate authority of government is vested in the common people so that the public policy is made to conform to the will of the people and to serve the interests of the people.