By Reno Omokri
The comments made by Atedo Peterside, the founder of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, to the effect that former President Jonathan approval ratings are a dismal 5%, and that time has evolved away from him, is most unfortunate.
Thankfully, Mr. Peterside admitted that he himself had not carried out a poll. He further reiterated that he was relying on hearsay, based on a poll done by a third party, to which he was not involved and had no way of gauging its reliability, or veracity.
It is an open secret that former President Jonathan is one of the most admired and and respected persons in Africa at the moment.
According to a report by the U.S. based Council on Foreign Relations, which is perhaps the top rated think tank in the whole world, former President Jonathan is “champion of democracy”, who is now more popular than when he was in office.
If you take into account the above verdict by the CFR, and Mr. Peterside’s own admission that Dr. Jonathan had a 54% approval rating while in office, then it stands to reason that Mr. Peterside’s conclusion could not possibly be founded in fact.
Former President Jonathan has not told anyone that he is contesting for the office of the Presidency, and I have had cause to public deny a statement that was wrongly attributed to Dr. Reuben Abati.
Nevertheless, I will not standby and watch as someone flippantly sullies the reputation of a man I hold most dearly. Under the rain and under the sun, I will follow Dr. Jonathan.
And for good cause too.
This was a man under whom Nigeria became the largest economy in Africa, and the world’s third fastest growing economy in 2015.
A man under whom Nigeria made her best ever showing in Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, moving from 144 the previous year, to 136 in 2014. An unprecedented 8 point improvement.
This is a leader under whom Nigeria became one of only three countries in Africa to have reduced hunger according to the Food and Agricultural Organisation and the International Food Policy Research Institute.
Under his leadership, Nigeria was the top Foreign Direct Investment destination in Africa, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
A man who delivered steady 6% GDP growth, and kept the Naira stable for four years, and who was only the second Nigerian leader ever to reduce the price of petrol cannot be described as someone “whose approval ratings are very low.”
Certainly, Nigerians who travel from Kaduna to Abuja by trains and railways built by the Jonathan administration do not think so. Neither do the hundreds of thousands who now fly internationally from the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu, or the tens of thousands of Nigerian youths who received grants of $50,000 to start up their own business via the YouWIN programme of the Jonathan administration.
I will conclude by urging Mr. Peterside, who just became a member of the Social Democratic Party, to find other ways of chafing clout in his new party than disrespecting former President Jonathan. I definitely will not stand for that.
Gospeller. Business Insider Magazine’s Business Influencer or the Year, 2022. Deep Thinker. #1 Bestselling author of Facts Versus Fiction: The True Story of the Jonathan Years. Avid traveller. Hollywood Magazine Film Festival Humanitarian of the Year, 2019.