Friday, September 29, 2017

TESTIMONIES!!!

Hi!!!

I am so sorry that I have not been consistent. L.O.L. It has been more than a year since my last post. I am actually posting this today because God has been so good to me. 2017 has been a year of reflections and maturity and great miracles. Reflections on my past, maturity in so many ways that I can not even count. I do not want to start writing about these now. I want to share a testimony. 
Some days ago, a friend told me about an incident on his way from church and it triggered something in me. I worship at the Living Faith Church Worldwide, Ota every Sunday. If you live in Lagos, Nigeria you should know the church that is also called the "Winners' Chapel". Because I live very far from church, I have had to practically camp on the grounds several times this year. Especially on weekends.


Sweet Sis(Left) and I at The Winners' Chapel
So this my friend told me that on his way from Church in a bus, they saw a very long snake by the driver's side. They were frightened of course, but could not kill the snake. My first thought was; Where, what, how?!! The spirit made me remember the nights I spent on the grounds. My God is awesome. I always sleep like a baby on the grounds with no thought of anything crawling by or on me! lol. 

This got me thinking about other things God delivered me from without my knowledge.  Have you ever thought of this? We need to be more grateful to God.

Adios!

Jenny

Monday, July 18, 2016

KIM KARDASHIAN-WEST INSPIRES ME!!



Kim K inspires me
Kim Kardashian-West inspires me. Yes, you read that right. She has made a lot of mistakes, keeps making mistakes and then owns up to them. You know that there are people who will never acknowledge their mistakes, right? I remember when she was pregnant with North and came to Nigeria to host one of Darey’s shows. I also remember Nigerians dragging her on Social Media for calling us monkeys. That story was fabricated but she still came out to tell us with respect that she loved her time in Nigeria. She does not care what people think about her mistakes or her past but she uses their thoughts/actions against them. She also makes money from the negativity… How cool is that? I am not an obsessive fan like the Beyhive but I love giving credit to whom credit is due.

Kimye and Taylor when the going was good...Pic from Vox.com




After having an eventful weekend in which a contender for Mr. Chima(lol) told me that we(meaning that I did, after all his stupid promises take our relationship too seriously(long story) , I was on my way to work at 5am on July 18, 2016 when I opened Twitter and saw that Mrs. Kardashian West had once again broken the internet.

She did not pose nude this time but put a friendly foe in her place. Now, I am not a Taylor Swift fan but people love her music and as much as I love music I am not the kind to follow trends…#notsorry. The friendly foe had disgraced Mr. West a few months back.  Mrs. West took the insult to her family calmly but exposed her in a way that even MJ would applaud.
Kim K's Forbes' Cover

I pray that when I grow up, I would shame a lot of my naysayers the way she does. I also pray for some dress sense. Last week, she was on the cover of Forbes. Last month, it was GQ. If you know marketing and life, you will understand that talent (that plenty people claim Mrs. West doesn’t have) is just a small percentage of what is needed to succeed in this life. It takes gut, confidence and above all belief in God.

What would I do if my ex released a sex tape of the two of us? Would I be able to walk on the street if people called me a hoe or a bitch? Mehn, my pride go suffer. A lot. If I were a worshipper in Assemblies of God Church Nigeria, they would suspend me and give me back seat. Can I love a genius that everybody loves to hate? Can I have children against doctors’ advice? Would I ever love a man enough to be pregnant twice in 2 years and go through excruciating labour? Would I still work myself through pain and internet hate just so that I have the perfect figure to be Mr. West’s handbag while people think he is too good for me?

I do not know the answers to all these questions but now you know where I stand, on Taylor Swift/Kimye’s drama. Lol.

Adios.

Jenny.



Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Depth Of Grief!

Hello Everyone,

I am Sorry. I'm so sorry for all the bad things that I have done. This is the third year that I have not posted.

Over the years, the Janet Chima that you knew became a workaholic. She currently has a job doing what most graduates in Nigeria consider their dream job but my fingers are still crossed. As I type, I'm still at my desk working though it is past our closing time but I wanted to share this article I wrote for Skytrendnews.com in April 2015 after I lost my Father.

The past weekend was Father's day and everyone I know on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram shared their thoughts about Father's Day but your girl was silent.

I can not explain why I did not share my thoughts but I am sure I will later. Trust me.

In case you can't open the link above, You can try again here

Your girl,

Jenny.

Friday, September 20, 2013

WHEN ALL HOPE SEEMS LOST

WHEN ALL HOPE SEEEMS LOST
AND MY FAITH IS MISSING
ALL IS I SEE IS THAT TINY RAY OF HOPE THAT TELLS ME IT WILL BE OKAY, OKAY
WHEN ALL MY TROUBLES SEEM TO OVERWHELM ME
AND TEMPTATIONS WANT TO OVERTHROW ME
THEN I LOOK UP, AND I SEE A BETTER TOMMORROW
AND ALL MY WORRIES MELT AWAY, AWAY.

IT WILL BE OKAY
TROUBLES ARE MADE TO MELT AWAY
THERE’S NO WAY THEY’LL STAY
DON’T LET THEM MAKE YOU SWAY

FOR YOU’LL LOOSE YOUR WAY

Saturday, July 6, 2013

AN OPEN LETTER TO D'BANJ BY NWILO BURA-BARI VINCENT

Hiya peeps, been a looong time we don yarn. How una dey? I had to put this article on my blog not because its a juicy topic but because of the writer. Ever since i met Nwilo Bura-Bari Vincent on Facebook a few years ago, I have respected him and his work.his talent has been an inspiration and has always helped me to do better. I remember writing notes on Facebook and waiting for him to comment knowing that if he did, then i did really good.
Few weeks ago, Nwilo wrote on Olorisupergirl.com about D'banj. He hit the nail on the head so hard, i felt i should put it on my blog. so with his permission, i bring you: An Open Letter to D'banj by @saintvinny.
Enjoy.

Jenny.


Dear Oyebanjo, Dapo Daniel AKA D'Banj,

I am seated at a local restaurant here at the university town of Nsukka, in Enugu State, Nigeria, drinking a bottle of Fayrouz and listening to the sound of the generator, which is the only source of electricity around here.


I have watched your latest music video. I went through the rigour last night. It is the video of the song entitled 
Dont Tell Me Nonsense and it was awfully disgusting, the song, I mean. Kaffy and the rest of the dancers didnt disappoint in the video.
This is bad, I know, using awful and disgusting, in same sentence. But that is what I feel about what I saw. Brother, DBanj, a lot has changed since you left your brother and hustle partner, Ajereh, Michael Collins AKA Don Jazzy. Truth. Your songs have been nothing but trash. I wonder if anyone has said anything nice to you since you started making songs outside Don Jazzy. If they have, it must have been for that singular hit song entitled Oliver Twist. Kai! That song swept through Nigeria and the rest of the world. You would not believe that the ordinary child on the streets of Nsukka knows the lyrics of that song and the dance steps too.

In Nigeria, there are plenty factors that weigh us down. One is our inability to manage our weaknesses. I see you have been buying yourself expensive jewelleries. The other day, I saw on Olorisupergals blog that you wear a wristwatch worth my entire family and maybe inheritance. I commend your taste. You are a lucky and hardworking man. You deserve it, besides; Oliver Twist made marks. It took the Nigerian music to a height that had never been seen in recent times. Its toping charts, downloads, Youtube views and itunes purchases are amongst the few things I can mention.

Dear, DBanj, Don Jazzy may not be an ideal partner, I bet you, no one is an ideal partner! Perfect couples quarrel and make up. It is the joy of having such union. I believe misunderstanding is part of us, as humans. I will run to the zoo the day I see a union that agrees on almost everything.
Back to your music, I feel Don Jazzy was made to make good music with you. He may not only be your producer, but whatever input, from advice, to production, will go a long way. Besides, he has been miserable too, without you. I have seen his eyes in music videos. There is one he did with Tiwa Savage. Ah, Tiwa. She looked dazzling, while Don Jazzy looked wanting and dispirited. Tiwa may have a perfect voice but Don Jazzy has not been able to achieve what he did with you. The other boys, K-Switch, Wande Coal and the goody bag crooner, DPrince are unfortunate learners. They must be stark illiterates to have taken sides when you guys parted. I understand their ignorance. But my concern here is, if you wish to stay relevant in the sight of Nigerians, making good music, and not caressing a stripper on stage on your birthday, then you have to make amends with Don Jazzy and understand that people argue because they are beneficial to themselves. Only dummies agree on everything.

I think tribalism had a lot to play in your split. It is a sad reality, if I am right. Tribalism will eventually destroy Nigeria. Our young people think they belong to a superior tribe and so make silly comments which sometimes bring about misconception and then crisis. I once had a boss, who is Igbo, who felt my tribes men were lazy, just because she came to my state and saw a job and was privileged to be a high ranking staff. I have had people who think those from the north should be gatekeepers and cobblers. Someone called me a militant once in Abuja, at the Sheraton, when he discovered I was from the Niger-Delta. I forgave his gross stupidity. I think we should drink a cup of water when ignorant people say rubbish about our personalities or flaws and relate it to tribe.

You are a great young man, D'Banj. Few people have attained the height you have. I am encouraged to pursue what I am currently pursuing because I know I will triumph. Your likes and that of 2Face Idibia, despite your weaknesses are heroes. And you must recall that Kanye West met you because he had heard good stuff from you. When nothing good manifests, he may be forced to give you a new job description at Good Music, which may be mopping of the floor of the studio. This evil will not befall you. If you believe it, type amen.

DBanj, pride is the worst enemy of any man who wishes to last longer anywhere. A drop of arrogance may work, but pride is detrimental. You were called the entertainer because you offered entertainment. Today, Inyanya, Kcee, Flavour, Wizkid and Davido are doing better. Imagine Burna-Boy, chai, that boy has some senses oh. His music, even when he is talking nonsense makes you want to sit and listen or dance to it, as the case may be. The only person that is yet to outshine you is my dearest sister, Tontolet Dike. That girl needs Jesus.

I have to go back to my drink. I paid for it and it is almost missing me. I enjoy your struggle or hustle, as you may choose to call it. I wish to hear something profound from you. While awaiting that miracle that only you can perform, I wish you the very best of life.

Your admirer,
Nwilo bura-Bari Vincent
@saintvinny



Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Hypocrisy Of Yesterday’s Men

Below is what Dr. Reuben Abati wrote yesterday criticising those(former government employees) asking for accountability from the current government. Note that this article was written yesterday in his power as a Special assistant t the president.

Jenny.

A Loosely bound group of yesterday’s men and women seems to be on the offensive against the Jonathan administration. They pick issues with virtually every effort of the administration, pretending to do so in the public interest; positing that they alone, know it all.  Arrogantly, they claim to be better and smarter than everyone else in the current government. They are ever so censorious, contrarian and supercilious.

They have no original claim to their pretensions other than they were privileged to have been in the corridors of power once upon a time in their lives. They obviously got so engrossed with their own sense of importance they began to imagine themselves indispensable to Nigeria. It is dangerous to have such a navel-gazing, narcissistic group inflict themselves with so much ferocity on an otherwise impressionable public. We are in reality dealing with a bunch of hypocrites.

With exceptions so few, they really don’t care about Nigeria as a sovereign but the political spoils that accrue from it. And so they will stop at nothing to discredit those they think are not as deserving as they imagine themselves to be. President Jonathan has unfairly become the target of their pitiable frustrations.

Underneath their superfluous appearance, lies an unspoken class disdain directed at the person and office of a duly elected president of the country. It is a Nigerian problem, perhaps. In the same advanced societies which these same yesterday men and women often like to refer to, public service is seen and treated as a privilege.

People are called upon to serve; they do so with humility and great commitment, and when it is all over, they move on to other things. The quantity surveyor returns to his or her quantity surveying or some other decent work; the lawyer to his or her wig and gown; the university teacher, to the classroom, glad to have been found worthy of national service. When and where necessary, as private citizens they are entitled to use the benefit of this experience to contribute to national development, they speak up on matters of public importance not as a full-time job as is the case in Nigeria currently.

What then, is the problem with us? As part of our governance evolution, most people become public servants by accident, but they soon get so used to the glamour of office that they lose sight of their own ordinariness. They use the system to climb: to become media celebrities, to gain international attention and to morph into self-appointed guardians of the Nigerian estate. They mask self interest motives as public causes and manipulate the public’s desire for improvements in their daily struggles as opportunity for power grab.

They are perpetually hanging around, lobbying and hustling for undeserved privileges. They exploit ethnic and religious connections where they can or join political parties and run for political office. They even write books (I, me and myself books, packaged as cerebral stuff); if that still doesn’t work, they lobby newspaper houses for columns to write and they become apostolic pundits pontificating on matters ranging from the nebulous to the non-descript. Power blinds them to the reality that we are all in this together and we have a unique opportunity to do well for the taxpayers and hardworking electorate that provide every public official the privilege to serve.

Unsatisfied with the newspaper columns, they open social media accounts and pretend to be voices of wisdom seeking to cultivate an angry crowd which they feed continually with their own brand of negativity. They arrange to give lectures at high profile events where  they abuse the government of the day in order to gain attention and steal a few minutes in the sun; hoping to force an audience that may ‘open doors’ for them, back into the corridors of power. These characters are in different sizes and shapes: small, big; Godfathers, agents, proxies. The tactics of the big figures on this rung of opportunism may be slightly different.  They parade themselves as a Godfather or kingmaker or the better man who should have been king.
They suffer of course, from messianic delusions. The fact that they boast of some followership and the media often treats them as icons, makes their nuisance factor worse. They and their protégés and proxies are united by one factor though: their hypocrisy.

It is in the larger interest of our country that the point be made that the government of the day welcomes criticism and political activism. This is an aspect of our emergent democracy that expands on the growing freedom of expression, thought and association but there is need for caution and vigilance, lest we get taken hostage by the architects of odious disinformation.

Nigerians must not allow any group of individuals to hold this country to ransom and no one alone should appropriate the right to determine what is best for Nigeria.

The accidental public servants who have turned that privilege into a life-long obsession and profession must be told to go get a life and find meaningful work to do.

Those who believe that no one else can run Nigeria without them must be told to stop hallucinating. The former Ministers, former Governors, former DGs, and all sorts who have been busy quoting mischievous figures, spreading cruel propaganda must be reminded that the Jonathan administration is in fact trying to clean up the mess that they created. They want to own the game when the ball is not in their possession. They want to be the referee when nobody has offered them a whistle.

They seek to play God, forgetting that the case for God is not in the hands of man.

One of the virtues of enlightenment is for persons to have a true perspective of their own location in the order of things. What they do not seem to realise or accept is that the political climate has changed.

When one of them was in charge of this same estate called Nigeria, he shut down the Port Harcourt airport and other airports for close to two years under the guise of renovation. The Port Harcourt airport was abandoned for so long it was overgrown with weeds after serving for months as a practice ground for motoring schools. It was reopened without any improvement and with so much money down the drain, and the pervasive suspicion that the reason it was shut down in the first place was to create a market for a new airline that had been allowed the monopoly use of the other airport in the city.

Under President Jonathan, airports across the country are being upgraded, rebuilt and modernized; in less than two years, the transformation is self-evident. Perhaps the greatest hypocrisy from our see-no-good commentators comes from the one who superintended over the near-collapse of the aviation sector who is now audacious enough to claim to be a social critic.

For the first time since 1999, the Nigerian Railway Corporation is up and running as a service organization. The rail lines have become functional from Lagos to Kano; Ewekoro to Minna, and very soon, from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, Abuja to Kaduna and Lagos to Ibadan. They couldn’t do this in their time, now they are busy looking for money that is not missing with their teeth.

When questions are asked, they claim they invented the ideas of due process and accountability. They once promised to solve the crisis of electricity supply in Nigeria.

But what did they do? They managed to leave the country in darkness with less than 2,000 MW; abandoned independent power projects, mismanaged power stations, and uncompleted procurement processes. The mess was so bad their immediate successors had to declare an emergency in the power sector. It has taken President Jonathan to make the difference. Today, there is greater coherence in the management of the power sector with power supply in excess of 4, 200 MW; a better conceived power sector road map is running apace, and the administration is determined to make it better.

They complain about the state of the roads. Most of the contracts were actually awarded under their watch to the tune of billions!

They talk about corruption, yet many of them have thick case files with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the courts and the police on corruption-related charges. One of them was even accused of having awarded choice plots of government land to himself, his wives, his companies and other relations when he was in charge of such allocations! Really, have we forgotten so soon?

These yesterday men and women certainly don’t seem to care very much about the Nigerian taxpayer who has had to bear the brunt of the many scandals this administration is exposing in its bid to clear out the Augean stable. They’d rather grandstand with the ex-General this, Chief that, Doctor this and ex-(dis)Honourable Minister who has no record of what he or she did with the funds the nation provided them to deliver results to protect our interest so that we don’t end up continuing to make the same wasteful mistakes.

It is enough to make you shudder at the thought of any of them being part of government with access to the public purse; but then we’ve already seen what some of them are capable of doing when in control of public money, authority and influence; and to that the people have spoken in unison – they have had enough.

Nigerians are wiser and are now familiar with the trickery from these persons whose claim to fame and fortune was on the back of their public service.

Our point at the risk of overstating what is by now too obvious: We have too many yesterday men and women behaving too badly. We are dealing with a group of power-point technocrats who have mastered the rhetoric of public grandstanding: carefully crafted emotion-laden sound bites passed off as meaningful engagements. That is all there is to them, after many years of hanging around in relevant places and mingling in the right corridors, all made possible through the use/abuse of Nigeria. Our caveat to their audience is the same old line: let the buyer beware!

Dr. Abati is Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to President Goodluck Jonathan

Culled from  Vanguard

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Hurry Up Jonathan

The article below was written by Reuben Abati in May 2010 when he was still a Guardian editor.

Jenny.

"IT is very easy in a Presidential position in Nigeria, nay Africa, to get carried away with the ceremonies of office, to be largely overwhelmed by the fawning attention of sycophants and opportunists, and as the intensity of this increases, the man of power begins to imagine himself a superman, and he soon forgets his primary assignment and begins to enjoy the office for its own sake and what it can bring. It is both a practical and psychological pitfall, the drama of which has been played out all too often in many African states, to the great discomfort and disadvantage of the people. It looks like President Goodluck Jonathan is beginning to fall into that pit. He needs to watch his steps.

During the inauguration of a new Federal cabinet in March, Acting President Goodluck Jonathan as he then was, seemed to have demonstrated an awareness of this same pitfall when he promised that his government will "hit the ground running." He charged the new Ministers to come up with blueprints within two weeks and that this will be formally presented to the Executive Council and defended. That speech was full of excellent sound bites. In it, the Acting President also promised to focus on certain key areas of governmental activity: electoral reform, the war on corruption, the Niger Delta crisis, and the power sector. To show his determination, the then Acting President also took personal charge of the power portfolio with a promise that his government will ensure regular electricity supply in the country as a matter of urgent priority.

Although there was still so much uncertainty surrounding his Presidency, with the former President Umaru Yar'Adua still in the background on a sick bed, and reports of selective sightings of the ailing President, Jonathan's emergence brought fresh hope and helped to stabilise a drifting polity. With Yar'Adua's death on May 5, and Jonathan's assumption of full presidential powers on May 6, whatever doubts that may have existed about the legitimacy of his government were neatly resolved. But since February, and given the events of the last few days, there is no indication that President Jonathan intends to "hit the ground running." He seems to have hit the ground dancing. He should watch his footwork. Where are the blueprints from the Ministers? Three months have gone already, when will Jonathan start working? He should read the mood of the Nigerian people more carefully, the ordinary people, I mean. They are impatient.

In three years of the Yar'Adua presidency, not much transformation took place as the people continued to search in vain for the same democracy dividends they have been looking for since 1999. They were distracted by tales of Presidential illness, and the wanton irresponsibility of the professional political elite. Jonathan has enjoyed so much public goodwill because he is the beneficiary of the change that the people wanted. Any kind of change would do, and that is why not so much capital has been made out of the fact that Jonathan was in fact a part of the Yar'Adua government as No 2 man. Jonathan is expected to run a Presidency that is driven by a policy of "business unusual." A Presidency that works as if it is under the pressure of time, and it is; a carefully focused government whose only priority is service delivery within the short period available, and a man at the top who inspires fresh confidence because he knows what he is doing.

Early signs indicate that Jonathan may find it difficult stepping up to the game. He has fallen so early into the error of doing business as usual. He is the ultimate pacifier. He seems determined to run a government of the Godfathers. Every man who imagines himself to be a custodian of the Nigerian legacy, even only a portion of it, seems to have a share of his government. Nothing has been more sordid than the silly politicking that has so far attended the appointment of a new Vice President. For comparison, Dr. Jonathan should look towards Britain where a major political situation has been resolved so decently within a matter of days, without any disruptions and the country has moved on. A general parliamentary election was held (no ballot snatching, no violence,  no iwuruwuru), the result was a hung parliament and a coalition government had to be formed (in Nigeria, that could have resulted in bloodshed), Gordon Brown resigns (if he were a Nigerian, he would have found a way of getting some MPs to cross-carpet to the Labour Party), the LibDems align with the Conservatives, David Cameron emerges as Prime Minister (born in 1966; IBB are you there?) and Nick Clegg as Deputy Prime Minister (born in 1967: IBB, you see?), and almost immediately a new cabinet is announced. Britain is moving on. It is possible to say that the circumstances are different (no Prime Minister died in Britain) but we are dealing with the same issues: change of government, management of processes and leadership; while Nigerian flounders, the British have again shown us how a modern government should run.

For a whole week, the country was held hostage by speculations about who should be the next Vice President. We have been treated not to a decisive and prompt choice by the President, but to the activities of all kinds of powerful individuals and groups: The Governors Forum, the Northern Senators Forum, Northern Emirs, the Yar'Adua family, General Theophilus Danjuma, and General Olusegun Obasanjo all associated with the nomination process. The Northern Senators Forum was divided over the issue and the Governors reportedly resolved that one of them must become the Vice President. The Middle Belt was up in protest and some characters from the North West claimed that if the Vice President did not emerge from their geographical zone, Nigeria's unity could be threatened. There has been no talk about quality or merit. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo goes to Katsina to pay a condolence visit and he reportedly told the Yar'Adua family that President Jonathan will sustain the late Yar'Adua's legacy. How does he know that?

In every manner, President Jonathan gives the impression that he is yet to take charge of his office. He should hurry up. He should appoint as Vice President, a man that he can work with, not someone whose only interest is politics and the 2011 general elections. The Governor of Kaduna State, Namadi Sambo has been named Vice president designate, but the Governors Forum is said to have imposed on him on the President. The dirty politicking over the appointment of the Vice President already exposes the dangers in the zoning arrangement and Nigeria's fragile unity. By allowing every matter to drag, Jonathan slows down his government and loses momentum.

When will his initiative on electoral reform begin? What is his blueprint for the Niger Delta? When will the construction companies begin the task of providing needed infrastructure in that region? Or if that is not possible, what structural and constitutional reforms does he want to push through to resolve existing conflicts? On corruption, is he really interested in the anti-corruption war or he is out to use the anti-corruption agencies to settle conflicts within the ruling PDP? These are not the key signals coming out of the Jonathan Presidency. His handling of the appointment of the Vice President can only further divide the PDP. Those whose names have been touted and who have been busy lobbying for support may become new enemies of the president and the new Vice president and do their utmost best to thwart the administration's efforts. In more serious societies, where there are equally divisive issues as in Nigeria, a Vice president would have been announced immediately and all mischief-makers duly neutralised.
.

.

And yet what the people want is real change: change in their circumstances or a momentum in that direction. Something has changed however: President Jonathan's wardrobe. He now oscillates between the Ijaw gear, the Arewa cap and the complete Yoruba agbada. One of these days, he will get round to the Igbo red cap, the Tivi black and white cap, and the Efik/Ibibio wrapper. No chance for the Koma people in that wardrobe arrangement, I think. But can President Jonathan just please, hurry up and focus on the important issues of national interest, the same issues that he himself has identified to start with?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Saturday, January 19, 2013

WHAT DOES PRESIDENT JONATHAN READ

Weeks ago, I came accross a column written by one of my mentors, Professor Ayo Olukotun, and I thought I'd share especially with all that's going on in today's politics.

Enjoy.

Jenny.

“The reading habits of politicians matter because in what they choose to read will be found what they think and what they will do” – YARN MARTELL (CANADIAN NOVELIST)


As the opening quote sourced from award winning Canadian novelist Yarn Martell suggests what politicians, presidents especially read or fail to read are of profound importance to gauging the quality of their minds, worldview, imaginative depth and what decisions they are likely to take. In 2011, candidate Jonathan appeared to grasp the importance of the reading culture of leaders when he launched “a bring back the book” campaign featuring a carnival and presentation of his book entitled “My friends and I”. The book was reviewed by Dr. Reuben Abati; Special Adviser to the President on media. Ennobling as that campaign was, it left out the crucial question of the reading culture of Jonathan himself, an issue that has received fresh salience in the light of some of Jonathan’s enigmatic pronouncements on the fuel subsidy riots on media partisanship, on Boko Haram as well as the quality of his media appearances.

Let us embed this narrative in the global mainstream in order to avoid provincialism, to tease out edifying comparative lessons and throw the issues in bolder relief. Come quickly with me, therefore to the desk of the British Prime Minister, David Cameron who is described in a recently published magazine as a “voracious reader who speed reads his way through several tomes a week”. Cameron by his own verified admission went through a frenetic reading phase in which he devoured all the novels of the English novelist, playwright and critic; Graham Greene who majored in thrillers that connote high wire diplomatic intrigue. We are assured by the manager of Cameron’s favorite bookstore in Westminister that the politician just before his annual holidays makes large purchases of books spanning the areas of political philosophy and contemporary fiction among others. Let us quickly cross the Atlantic and peruse the United States President Barrack Obama as he wades through a diverse menu of books ranging from Shakespeare’s tragedies, through books on Abraham Lincoln’s leadership to classic modern novels. Of course it is well known that United States presidents maintain an official reading list of books, by which they not only improve their minds but rejuvenate a flagging national reading culture by force of personal example.

Zeroing back on Nigeria, it is pertinent to recall that an earlier generation of Nigerian politicians such as Sir Ahmadu Bello, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, Chief Anthony Enahoro among others read and wrote avidly. At the 2012 Annual Obafemi Awolowo memorial, Toyin Falola, distinguished history professor at the University of Texas posited correctly that Awolowo read and wrote more books on Nigerian politics than most professors of political science. The reader maybe surprised to learn also that Nigeria’s former head of state, Olusegun Obasanjo used to be a lover of books, at least in his first term as military president of Nigeria. Dr. Stanley Macebuh, one of the finest intellects to have passed through the Nigerian media scene reported in his then weekly column at the Daily Times that he caught Obasanjo regaling himself with a book of some intellectual depth in the course of a trip to China, in which Macebuh came on the same plane with Obasanjo. No wonder, the retired general gave a better account of himself in the late 1970’s than in his later incarnations as civilian president. Evidence? He avoided self succession and set a democratic precedent at a time when sit tight rulers mushroomed on the continent. Two, he was at the time an economic nationalist who stood up to the Western economic doctrines based on the so-called free market but which the western powers do not practice in their own countries. Who knows, had Obasanjo kept up the intellectual stamina of those years manifested in his love for books, he might have avoided the delusions of the third term project and the pitfalls of rightwing economic nostrums which are especially hard on the poor.

That is a matter for another day, however. The focus of this enquiry is Jonathan and what he reads or fails to read. If Jonathan were to make public his reading list today, he would not need another “brink back the book” campaign to both convince a skeptical nation of his “mental magnitude” to borrow a favorite expression of Awolowo and to rekindle the appetite for books in an increasingly Philistine generation. That kind of public testimonial on the part of Jonathan will also pull the rug from under the feet of some of his hardline critics like Professor Ayittey, a world acclaimed Ghanaian scholar who after watching one of Jonathan’s media chats dismissed him as “a joke”. In the same connection, another group sought to initiate the process under the FOI act whereby Jonathan will be compelled to reveal his IQ scores. The group of activists based their doubtful crusade on the premise that some of the utterances of Jonathan did not portray him as someone intellectually capable or intelligent. All of these criticisms it must be admitted sound somewhat ironic considering that Jonathan is the holder of a doctorate degree and was expected to bring to governance a certain intellectual gravitas if not profundity of thoughts.

This writer does not think that Jonathan is the witless fool that caricatures of him have advertised. Nonetheless, a nation trapped in a siege of kidnappers and roving criminal gangs; caught in a protracted drift and inertia of massive proportions is surely waiting for the sure footed touch of a leader who will minister to its troubled soul. What Jonathan has going for him is a certain unpretentiousness and the easy going camaraderie of a politician who did not seek power but in a sense had it thrust upon him. But clearly more than pleasantness and a certain modesty deriving from an appreciation of one’s limitations are called for in a nation like ours stranded in a modern day version of the forest of ghosts depicted in Yoruba fables. Jonathan has made many promises to the nation to turn things round but it will take incurable optimism to argue that things are not getting worse and in some respects like the soaring levels of squander mania and corruption getting out of hand.

To properly understand why the nation continues to travel downhill we must put the searchlight on the president’s reading culture, his grasp of issues and understanding of what the times demand; in order to map out possible remedial steps in the area of improving or even modifying his appreciation of burning national issues. Though he belongs to a generation of politicians not famous for their love of books or the company of intellectuals it is still possible in some respects to amend the situation and what better way to begin than for him to make public his list of favorite books and other reading material?

Olukotun is professor of Political science and Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences and Entrepreneurial Studies at Lead City University, Ibadan. 
Culled from Punch


Friday, September 7, 2012

DNC 2012: OBAMA'S SPEECH


Michelle, I love you. The other night, I think the entire country saw just how lucky I am. Malia and Sasha, you make me so proud.but don’t get any ideas, you’re still going to class tomorrow. And Joe Biden, thank you for being the best Vice President I could ever hopefor. Madam Chairwoman, delegates, I accept your nomination for President of the United States.
The first time I addressed this convention in 2004, I was a younger man; a Senate candidate from Illinois who spoke about hope – not blind optimism or wishful thinking, but hope in the face of difficulty;hope in the face of uncertainty; that dogged faith in the future which has pushed this nation forward, even when the odds are great; even when the road is long.
Eight years later, that hope has been tested – by the cost of war; byone of the worst economic crises in history; and by political gridlockthat’s left us wondering whether it’s still possible to tackle the challenges of our time. I know that campaigns can seem small, and even silly. Trivial things become big distractions. Serious issues become sound bites.

And the truth gets buried under an avalanche of money and advertising. If you’re sick of hearing me approve this message, believe me – so am I. But when all is said and done – when you pick up that ballot to vote – you will face the clearest choice of any time in a generation. Over the next few years, big decisions will be made in Washington, on jobs and the economy; taxes and deficits; energy and education; war and peace – decisions that will have a huge impact on our lives and our children’s lives for decades to come. On every issue, the choice you face won’t be just between two candidates or two parties. It will be a choice between two different paths for America. A choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future.
Ours is a fight to restore the values that built the largest middle class and the strongest economy the world has ever known; the values my grandfather defended as a soldier in Patton’s Army; the values that drove my grandmother to work on a bomber assembly line while he was gone.
They knew they were part of something larger – a nation that triumphed over fascism and depression; a nation where the most innovative businesses turned out the world’s best products, and everyone shared in the pride and success – from the corner office tothe factory floor. My grandparents were given the chance to go to college, buy their first home, and fulfill the basic bargain at the heart of America’s story: the promise that hard work will pay off; that responsibility will be rewarded; that everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules – from Main Street to Wall Street to Washington, DC.

I ran for President because I saw that basic bargain slipping away. Ibegan my career helping people in the shadow of a shuttered steel mill, at a time when too many good jobs were starting to move overseas. And by 2008, we had seen nearly a decade in which families struggled with costs that kept rising but paychecks that didn’t; racking up more and more debt just to make the mortgage orpay tuition; to put gas in the car or food on the table. And when thehouse of cards collapsed in the Great Recession, millions of innocent Americans lost their jobs, their homes, and their life savings – a tragedy from which we are still fighting to recover. Now,our friends at the Republican convention were more than happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with America, but they didn’t have much to say about how they’d make it right. They want your vote, but they don’t want you to know their plan. And that’s because all they have to offer is the same prescription they’ve had for the last thirty years:
“Have a surplus? Try a tax cut.”
“Deficit too high? Try another.”
“Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning!”

Now, I’ve cut taxes for those who need it – middle-class families and small businesses. But I don’t believe that another round of tax breaks for millionaires will bring good jobs to our shores, or pay down our deficit. I don’t believe that firing teachers or kicking students off financial aid will grow the economy, or help us competewith the scientists and engineers coming out of China. After all that we’ve been through, I don’t believe that rolling back regulations on Wall Street will help the small businesswoman expand, or the laid-off construction worker keep his home.
We’ve been there, we’ve tried that, and we’re not going back. We’removing forward. I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy. I never have.

You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You electedme to tell you the truth. And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades.It will require common effort, shared responsibility, and the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one.
And by the way – those of us who carry on his party’s legacy shouldremember that not every problem can be remedied with another government program or dictate from Washington. But know this, America: Our problems can be solved. Our challenges can be met. The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place. AndI’m asking you to choose that future.
I’m asking you to rally around a set of goals for your country – goalsin manufacturing, energy, education, national security, and the deficit; a real, achievable plan that will lead to new jobs, more opportunity, and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation. That’s what we can do in the next four years, and that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States. We canchoose a future where we export more products and outsource fewer jobs. After a decade that was defined by what we bought andborrowed, we’re getting back to basics, and doing what America hasalways done best:
We’re making things again.

I’ve met workers in Detroit and Toledo who feared they’d never build another American car. Today, they can’t build them fast enough, because we reinvented a dying auto industry that’s back ontop of the world.

I’ve worked with business leaders who are bringing jobs back to America – not because our workers make less pay, but because we make better products. Because we work harder and smarter than anyone else. I’ve signed trade agreements that are helping our companies sell more goods to millions of new customers – goods that are stamped with three proud words: Made in America. After a decade of decline, this country created over half a million manufacturing jobs in the last two and a half years.
And now you have a choice: we can give more tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, or we can start rewarding companies that open new plants and train new workers and create new jobs here, in the United States of America. We can help big factories and small businesses double their exports, and if we choose this path, we can create a million new manufacturing jobs inthe next four years. You can make that happen. You can choose that future. You can choose the path where we control more of our own energy. After thirty years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. We’ve doubled our use of renewableenergy, and thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries. In the last year alone, we cut oil imports by one million barrels a day – more than any administration in recent history. And today, the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in nearly two decades.

Now you have a choice – between a strategy that reverses this progress, or one that builds on it. We’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration in the last three years, and we’ll open more. But unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country’s energy plan, or endanger our coastlines, or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers. We’re offering a better path – a future where we keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal; where farmers and scientists harnessnew biofuels to power our cars and trucks; where construction workers build homes and factories that waste less energy; where wedevelop a hundred year supply of natural gas that’s right beneath our feet. If you choose this path, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than 600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone. And yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollutionthat is heating our planet – because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They’re a threat to our children’s future. And in this election, you can do something about it. You can choose a future where more Americanshave the chance to gain the skills they need to compete, no matter how old they are or how much money they have. Education was thegateway to opportunity for me. It was the gateway for Michelle. Andnow more than ever, it is the gateway to a middle-class life. For the first time in a generation, nearly every state has answered our call to raise their standards for teaching and learning. Some of the worstschools in the country have made real gains in math and reading. Millions of students are paying less for college today because we finally took on a system that wasted billions of taxpayer dollars on banks and lenders.

And now you have a choice – we can gut education, or we can decide that in the United States of America, no child should have her dreams deferred because of a crowded classroom or a crumbling school. No family should have to set aside a college acceptance letter because they don’t have the money.
No company should have to look for workers in China because they couldn’t find any with the right skills here at home. Government has a role in this. But teachers must inspire; principals must lead; parents must instill a thirst for learning, and students, you’ve got to do the work. And together, I promise you – we can out-educate andout-compete any country on Earth. Help me recruit 100,000 math and science teachers in the next ten years, and improve early childhood education. Help give two million workers the chance to learn skills at their community college that will lead directly to a job.Help us work with colleges and universities to cut in half the growth of tuition costs over the next ten years. We can meet that goal together. You can choose that future for America. In a world of newthreats and new challenges, you can choose leadership that has been tested and proven. Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq. We did. I promised to refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11. We have. We’ve blunted the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and in 2014, our longest war will be over. A new tower rises above the New York skyline, al Qaeda is on the path to defeat, and Osama bin Laden is dead.

Tonight, we pay tribute to the Americans who still serve in harm’s way. We are forever in debt to a generation whose sacrifice has made this country safer and more respected. We will never forget you. And so long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known. When you take off the uniform, we will serve you as well as you’ve served us – because noone who fights for this country should have to fight for a job, or a roof over their head, or the care that they need when they come home. Around the world, we’ve strengthened old alliances and forged new coalitions to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. We’ve reasserted our power across the Pacific and stood up to China on behalf of our workers. From Burma to Libya to South Sudan, we have advanced the rights and dignity of all human beings – men andwomen; Christians and Muslims and Jews. But for all the progress we’ve made, challenges remain. Terrorist plots must be disrupted. Europe’s crisis must be contained. Our commitment to Israel’s security must not waver, and neither must our pursuit of peace. TheIranian government must face a world that stays united against its nuclear ambitions. The historic change sweeping across the Arab World must be defined not by the iron fist of a dictator or the hate of extremists, but by the hopes and aspirations of ordinary people who are reaching for the same rights that we celebrate today. So now we face a choice. My opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy, but from all that we’ve seen and heard, they want to take us back to an era of blustering and blundering that cost America so dearly.

After all, you don’t call Russia our number one enemy – and not al Qaeda – unless you’re still stuck in a Cold War time warp. You mightnot be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can’t visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally. My opponent said it was “tragic” to end the war in Iraq, and he won’t tell us how he’ll end the war in Afghanistan. I have, and I will. And while my opponent would spend more money on military hardware that our Joint Chiefsdon’t even want, I’ll use the money we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and put more people back to work – rebuilding roads and bridges; schools and runways. After two wars that have cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, it’s time to do some nation-building right here at home.

You can choose a future where we reduce our deficit without wrecking our middle class. Independent analysis shows that my planwould cut our deficits by $4 trillion. Last summer, I worked with Republicans in Congress to cut $1 trillion in spending – because those of us who believe government can be a force for good should work harder than anyone to reform it, so that it’s leaner, more efficient, and more responsive to the American people. I want to reform the tax code so that it’s simple, fair, and asks the wealthiest households to pay higher taxes on incomes over $250,000 – the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was president; the same rate wehad when our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest surplus in history, and a lot of millionaires to boot. Now, I’mstill eager to reach an agreement based on the principles of my bipartisan debt commission. No party has a monopoly on wisdom.

No democracy works without compromise. But when Governor Romney and his allies in Congress tell us we can somehow lower our deficit by spending trillions more on new tax breaks for the wealthy – well, you do the math. I refuse to go along with that. Andas long as I’m President, I never will. I refuse to ask middle class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or raising their kids just to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut. I refuse to ask students to pay more for college; or kick children out of Head Start programs, or eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans who are poor, elderly, or disabled – all so those with the most can pay less. And I will never turn Medicare into a voucher.

No American should ever have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies. They should retire with the care anddignity they have earned. Yes, we will reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul, but we’ll do it by reducing the cost of health care – not by asking seniors to pay thousands of dollars more. And we will keep the promise of Social Security by taking the responsible steps to strengthen it – not by turning it over to Wall Street. This is the choice we now face. This is what the election comes down to. Over and over, we have been told by our opponents that bigger tax cuts and fewer regulations are the only way; that since government can’t do everything, it should do almost nothing. If you can’t afford health insurance, hope that you don’t get sick. If a company releases toxic pollution into the air your children breathe, well, that’s just the price of progress. If you can’t afford to start a business or go to college, take my opponent’s advice and “borrow money from your parents.” You know what? That’s not who we are. That’s not what this country’s about.

As Americans, we believe we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights – rights that no man or government can take away. We insist on personal responsibility and we celebrate individual initiative. We’re not entitled to success. We have to earn it. We honor the strivers, the dreamers, the risk-takers who have always been the driving force behind our free enterprise system – the greatest engine of growth and prosperity the world has ever known. But we also believe in something called citizenship – a wordat the very heart of our founding, at the very essence of our democracy; the idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another, and to future generations. We believe that when a CEO pays his autoworkers enough to buy the cars that they build, the whole company does better. We believe that when a family can no longer be tricked into signing a mortgagethey can’t afford, that family is protected, but so is the value of other people’s homes, and so is the entire economy. We believe thata little girl who’s offered an escape from poverty by a great teacher or a grant for college could become the founder of the next Google,or the scientist who cures cancer, or the President of the United States – and it’s in our power to give her that chance. We know thatchurches and charities can often make more of a difference than a poverty program alone.

We don’t want handouts for people who refuse to help themselves, and we don’t want bailouts for banks that break the rules. We don’t think government can solve all our problems. But we don’t think thatgovernment is the source of all our problems – any more than are welfare recipients, or corporations, or unions, or immigrants, or gays, or any other group we’re told to blame for our troubles. Because we understand that this democracy is ours. We, the People,recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’sin it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.

As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. So you see, the election four years ago wasn’t about me. It was about you. My fellow citizens – you were the change. You’re the reason there’s a little girl with a heart disorder in Phoenix who’ll get the surgery she needs because an insurance company can’t limit her coverage. You did that. You’re the reason a young man in Colorado who never thought he’d be able to afford his dream of earning a medical degree is about to get that chance. You made that possible.You’re the reason a young immigrant who grew up here and went toschool here and pledged allegiance to our flag will no longer be deported from the only country she’s ever called home; why selfless soldiers won’t be kicked out of the military because of who they are or who they love; why thousands of families have finally been able to say to the loved ones who served us so bravely: “Welcome home.” If you turn away now – if you buy into the cynicism that the change we fought for isn’t possible.well, change will not happen.

If you give up on the idea that your voice can make a difference, then other voices will fill the void: lobbyists and special interests; the people with the $10 million checks who are trying to buy this election and those who are making it harder for you to vote; Washington politicians who want to decide who you can marry, or control health care choices that women should make for themselves.Only you can make sure that doesn’t happen. Only you have the power to move us forward. I recognize that times have changed since I first spoke to this convention. The times have changed – andso have I.

I’m no longer just a candidate. I’m the President. I know what it means to send young Americans into battle, for I have held in my arms the mothers and fathers of those who didn’t return. I’ve sharedthe pain of families who’ve lost their homes, and the frustration of workers who’ve lost their jobs. If the critics are right that I’ve made all my decisions based on polls, then I must not be very good at reading them.

And while I’m proud of what we’ve achieved together, I’m far more mindful of my own failings, knowing exactly what Lincoln meant when he said, “I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go.” But as I stand here tonight, I have never been more hopeful about America.
Not because I think I have all the answers. Not because I’m naive about the magnitude of our challenges. I’m hopeful because of you.

The young woman I met at a science fair who won national recognition for her biology research while living with her family at a homeless shelter – she gives me hope.

The auto worker who won the lottery after his plant almost closed, but kept coming to work every day, and bought flags for his whole town and one of the cars that he built to surprise his wife – he givesme hope. The family business in Warroad, Minnesota that didn’t lay off a single one of their four thousand employees during this recession, even when their competitors shut down dozens of plants,even when it meant the owners gave up some perks and pay – because they understood their biggest asset was the community andthe workers who helped build that business – they give me hope. And I think about the young sailor I met at Walter Reed hospital, still recovering from a grenade attack that would cause him to have his leg amputated above the knee.

Six months ago, I would watch him walk into a White House dinner honoring those who served in Iraq, tall and twenty pounds heavier, dashing in his uniform, with a big grin on his face; sturdy on his new leg. And I remember how a few months after that I would watch him on a bicycle, racing with his fellow wounded warriors on a sparkling spring day, inspiring other heroes who had just begun the hard path he had traveled. He gives me hope. I don’t know whatparty these men and women belong to. I don’t know if they’ll vote for me. But I know that their spirit defines us. They remind me, in the words of Scripture, that ours is a “future filled with hope.” And ifyou share that faith with me – if you share that hope with me – I ask you tonight for your vote. If you reject the notion that this nation’s promise is reserved for the few, your voice must be heard in this election. If you reject the notion that our government is forever beholden to the highest bidder, you need to stand up in this election. If you believe that new plants and factories can dot our landscape; that new energy can power our future; that new schools can provide ladders of opportunity to this nation of dreamers; if youbelieve in a country where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules, then I need you to vote this November. America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won’t promise that now.

Yes, our path is harder – but it leads to a better place. Yes our road is longer – but we travel it together. We don’t turn back. We leave no one behind. We pull each other up. We draw strength from our victories, and we learn from our mistakes, but we keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon, knowing that Providence is with us, and that we are surely blessed to be citizens of the greatest nation on Earth. Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless these United States.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

CYNTHIA OSOKOGU: NAKED PICTURES OF OTHER VICTIMS FOUND ON A LAPTOP

Cynthia Osokogu’s killers took pictures while sexually assaulting her, Police detectives at the Area E Command, Lagos have said “The pictures are contained in a recovered black Compaq 610 laptop belonging to Nwabufor Okwuomo, one of the suspects who lured the deceased to Lagos.”

Some of the photographs showed girls tied with rope and their mouths covered with cello tape with objects inserted in their private part. The laptop is also said to contain over 50 nude photographs of female victims who have fallen prey to the suspect.
The late Cynthia’s naked photographs also showed bites and wounds inflicted all over her.

It's okay to have fun but we have to be careful of who we have fun with. Be self conscious. We live in a dangerous and wicked, wicked world, a world where a father impregnates his daughter. Living life to the maximum should be limited, so that life won't be cut short.

May God help us.

DNC 2012: FULL TEXTS OF BILL CLINTON'S SPEECH

We're here to nominate a President, and I've got one in mind.
I want to nominate a man whose own life has known its fair share of adversity and uncertainty. A man who ran for President to change the course of an already weak economy and then just six weeks before the election, saw it suffer the biggest collapse since the Great Depression. A man who stopped the slide into depression and put us on the long road to recovery, knowing all the while that no matter how many jobs were created and saved, there were still millions more waiting, trying to feed their children and keep their hopes alive.
I want to nominate a man cool on the outside but burning for America on the inside. A man who believes we can build a new American Dream economy driven by innovation and creativity, education and cooperation. A man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama.
I want Barack Obama to be the next President of the United States and I proudly nominate him as the standard bearer of the Democratic Party.
In Tampa, we heard a lot of talk about how the President and the Democrats don't believe in free enterprise and individual initiative, how we want everyone to be dependent on the government, how bad we are for the economy.
The Republican narrative is that all of us who amount to anything are completely self-made. One of our greatest Democratic Chairmen, Bob Strauss, used to say that every politician wants you to believe he was born in a log cabin he built himself, but it ain't so.
We Democrats think the country works better with a strong middle class, real opportunities for poor people to work their way into it and a relentless focus on the future, with business and government working together to promote growth and broadly shared prosperity. We think "we're all in this together" is a better philosophy than "you're on your own."
Who's right? Well since 1961, the Republicans have held the White House 28 years, the Democrats 24. In those 52 years, our economy produced 66 million private sector jobs. What's the jobs score? Republicans 24 million, Democrats 42 million!
It turns out that advancing equal opportunity and economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics, because discrimination, poverty and ignorance restrict growth, while investments in education, infrastructure and scientific and technological research increase it, creating more good jobs and new wealth for all of us.
Though I often disagree with Republicans, I never learned to hate them the way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate President Obama and the Democrats. After all, President Eisenhower sent federal troops to my home state to integrate Little Rock Central High and built the interstate highway system. And as governor, I worked with President Reagan on welfare reform and with President George H.W. Bush on national education goals. I am grateful to President George W. Bush for PEPFAR, which is saving the lives of millions of people in poor countries and to both Presidents Bush for the work we've done together after the South Asia tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and the Haitian earthquake.
Through my foundation, in America and around the world, I work with Democrats, Republicans and Independents who are focused on solving problems and seizing opportunities, not fighting each other.
When times are tough, constant conflict may be good politics but in the real world, cooperation works better. After all, nobody's right all the time, and a broken clock is right twice a day. All of us are destined to live our lives between those two extremes. Unfortunately, the faction that now dominates the Republican Party doesn't see it that way. They think government is the enemy, and compromise is weakness.
One of the main reasons America should re-elect President Obama is that he is still committed to cooperation. He appointed Republican Secretaries of Defense, the Army and Transportation. He appointed a Vice President who ran against him in 2008, and trusted him to oversee the successful end of the war in Iraq and the implementation of the recovery act. And Joe Biden did a great job with both. He appointed Cabinet members who supported Hillary in the primaries. Heck, he even appointed Hillary! I'm so proud of her and grateful to our entire national security team for all they've done to make us safer and stronger and to build a world with more partners and fewer enemies. I'm also grateful to the young men and women who serve our country in the military and to Michelle Obama and Jill Biden for supporting military families when their loved ones are overseas and for helping our veterans, when they come home bearing the wounds of war, or needing help with education, housing, and jobs.
President Obama's record on national security is a tribute to his strength, and judgment, and to his preference for inclusion and partnership over partisanship.
He also tried to work with Congressional Republicans on Health Care, debt reduction, and jobs, but that didn't work out so well. Probably because, as the Senate Republican leader, in a remarkable moment of candor, said two years before the election, their number one priority was not to put America back to work, but to put President Obama out of work.
Senator, I hate to break it to you, but we're going to keep President Obama on the job!
In Tampa, the Republican argument against the President's re-election was pretty simple: we left him a total mess, he hasn't cleaned it up fast enough, so fire him and put us back in.
In order to look like an acceptable alternative to President Obama, they couldn't say much about the ideas they have offered over the last two years. You see they want to go back to the same old policies that got us into trouble in the first place: to cut taxes for high income Americans even more than President Bush did; to get rid of those pesky financial regulations designed to prevent another crash and prohibit future bailouts; to increase defense spending two trillion dollars more than the Pentagon has requested without saying what they'll spend the money on; to make enormous cuts in the rest of the budget, especially programs that help the middle class and poor kids. As another President once said – there they go again.
I like the argument for President Obama's re-election a lot better. He inherited a deeply damaged economy, put a floor under the crash, began the long hard road to recovery, and laid the foundation for a modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses, and lots of new wealth for the innovators.
Are we where we want to be? No. Is the President satisfied? No. Are we better off than we were when he took office, with an economy in free fall, losing 750,000 jobs a month. The answer is YES.
I understand the challenge we face. I know many Americans are still angry and frustrated with the economy. Though employment is growing, banks are beginning to lend and even housing prices are picking up a bit, too many people don't feel it.
I experienced the same thing in 1994 and early 1995. Our policies were working and the economy was growing but most people didn't feel it yet. By 1996, the economy was roaring, halfway through the longest peacetime expansion in American history.
President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did. No President – not me or any of my predecessors could have repaired all the damage in just four years. But conditions are improving and if you'll renew the President's contract you will feel it.
I believe that with all my heart.
President Obama's approach embodies the values, the ideas, and the direction America must take to build a 21st century version of the American Dream in a nation of shared opportunities, shared prosperity and shared responsibilities.
So back to the story. In 2010, as the President's recovery program kicked in, the job losses stopped and things began to turn around.
The Recovery Act saved and created millions of jobs and cut taxes for 95% of the American people. In the last 29 months the economy has produced about 4.5 million private sector jobs. But last year, the Republicans blocked the President's jobs plan costing the economy more than a million new jobs. So here's another jobs score: President Obama plus 4.5 million, Congressional Republicans zero.
Over that same period, more than more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been created under President Obama – the first time manufacturing jobs have increased since the 1990s.
The auto industry restructuring worked. It saved more than a million jobs, not just at GM, Chrysler and their dealerships, but in auto parts manufacturing all over the country. That's why even auto-makers that weren't part of the deal supported it. They needed to save the suppliers too. Like I said, we're all in this together.
Now there are 250,000 more people working in the auto industry than the day the companies were restructured. Governor Romney opposed the plan to save GM and Chrysler. So here's another jobs score: Obama two hundred and fifty thousand, Romney, zero.
The agreement the administration made with management, labor and environmental groups to double car mileage over the next few years is another good deal: it will cut your gas bill in half, make us more energy independent, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and add another 500,000 good jobs.
President Obama's "all of the above" energy plan is helping too – the boom in oil and gas production combined with greater energy efficiency has driven oil imports to a near 20 year low and natural gas production to an all time high. Renewable energy production has also doubled.
We do need more new jobs, lots of them, but there are already more than three million jobs open and unfilled in America today, mostly because the applicants don't have the required skills. We have to prepare more Americans for the new jobs that are being created in a world fueled by new technology. That's why investments in our people are more important than ever. The President has supported community colleges and employers in working together to train people for open jobs in their communities. And, after a decade in which exploding college costs have increased the drop-out rate so much that we've fallen to 16th in the world in the percentage of our young adults with college degrees, his student loan reform lowers the cost of federal student loans and even more important, gives students the right to repay the loans as a fixed percentage of their incomes for up to 20 years. That means no one will have to drop-out of college for fear they can't repay their debt, and no one will have to turn down a job, as a teacher, a police officer or a small town doctor because it doesn't pay enough to make the debt payments. This will change the future for young Americans.
I know we're better off because President Obama made these decisions.
That brings me to health care.
The Republicans call it Obamacare and say it's a government takeover of health care that they'll repeal. Are they right? Let's look at what's happened so far. Individuals and businesses have secured more than a billion dollars in refunds from their insurance premiums because the new law requires 80% to 85% of your premiums to be spent on health care, not profits or promotion. Other insurance companies have lowered their rates to meet the requirement. More than 3 million young people between 19 and 25 are insured for the first time because their parents can now carry them on family policies. Millions of seniors are receiving preventive care including breast cancer screenings and tests for heart problems. Soon the insurance companies, not the government, will have millions of new customers many of them middle class people with pre-existing conditions. And for the last two years, health care spending has grown under 4%, for the first time in 50 years.
So are we all better off because President Obama fought for it and passed it? You bet we are.
There were two other attacks on the President in Tampa that deserve an answer. Both Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan attacked the President for allegedly robbing Medicare of 716 billion dollars. Here's what really happened. There were no cuts to benefits. None. What the President did was save money by cutting unwarranted subsidies to providers and insurance companies that weren't making people any healthier. He used the saving to close the donut hole in the Medicare drug program, and to add eight years to the life of the Medicare Trust Fund. It's now solvent until 2024. So President Obama and the Democrats didn't weaken Medicare, they strengthened it.
When Congressman Ryan looked into the TV camera and attacked President Obama's "biggest coldest power play" in raiding Medicare, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. You see, that 716 billion dollars is exactly the same amount of Medicare savings Congressman Ryan had in his own budget.
At least on this one, Governor Romney's been consistent. He wants to repeal the savings and give the money back to the insurance companies, re-open the donut hole and force seniors to pay more for drugs, and reduce the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by eight years. So now if he's elected and does what he promised Medicare will go broke by 2016. If that happens, you won't have to wait until their voucher program to begins in 2023 to see the end Medicare as we know it.
But it gets worse. They also want to block grant Medicaid and cut it by a third over the coming decade. Of course, that will hurt poor kids, but that's not all. Almost two-thirds of Medicaid is spent on nursing home care for seniors and on people with disabilities, including kids from middle class families, with special needs like, Downs syndrome or Autism. I don't know how those families are going to deal with it. We can't let it happen
Now let's look at the Republican charge that President Obama wants to weaken the work requirements in the welfare reform bill I signed that moved millions of people from welfare to work.
Here's what happened. When some Republican governors asked to try new ways to put people on welfare back to work, the Obama Administration said they would only do it if they had a credible plan to increase employment by 20%. You hear that? More work. So the claim that President Obama weakened welfare reform's work requirement is just not true. But they keep running ads on it. As their campaign pollster said "we're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers." Now that is true. I couldn't have said it better myself – I just hope you remember that every time you see the ad.
Let's talk about the debt. We have to deal with it or it will deal with us. President Obama has offered a plan with 4 trillion dollars in debt reduction over a decade, with two and a half dollars of spending reductions for every one dollar of revenue increases, and tight controls on future spending. It's the kind of balanced approach proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission.
I think the President's plan is better than the Romney plan, because the Romney plan fails the first test of fiscal responsibility: The numbers don't add up.
It's supposed to be a debt reduction plan but it begins with five trillion dollars in tax cuts over a ten-year period. That makes the debt hole bigger before they even start to dig out. They say they'll make it up by eliminating loopholes in the tax code. When you ask "which loopholes and how much?," they say "See me after the election on that."
People ask me all the time how we delivered four surplus budgets. What new ideas did we bring? I always give a one-word answer: arithmetic. If they stay with a 5 trillion dollar tax cut in a debt reduction plan – the – arithmetic tells us that one of three things will happen: 1) they'll have to eliminate so many deductions like the ones for home mortgages and charitable giving that middle class families will see their tax bill go up two thousand dollars year while people making over 3 million dollars a year get will still get a 250,000 dollar tax cut; or 2) they'll have to cut so much spending that they'll obliterate the budget for our national parks, for ensuring clean air, clean water, safe food, safe air travel; or they'll cut way back on Pell Grants, college loans, early childhood education and other programs that help middle class families and poor children, not to mention cutting investments in roads, bridges, science, technology and medical research; or 3) they'll do what they've been doing for thirty plus years now – cut taxes more than they cut spending, explode the debt, and weaken the economy. Remember, Republican economic policies quadrupled the debt before I took office and doubled it after I left. We simply can't afford to double-down on trickle-down.
President Obama's plan cuts the debt, honors our values, and brightens the future for our children, our families and our nation.
My fellow Americans, you have to decide what kind of country you want to live in. If you want a you're on your own, winner take all society you should support the Republican ticket. If you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibilities – a "we're all in it together" society, you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. If you want every American to vote and you think its wrong to change voting procedures just to reduce the turnout of younger, poorer, minority and disabled voters, you should support Barack Obama. If you think the President was right to open the doors of American opportunity to young immigrants brought here as children who want to go to college or serve in the military, you should vote for Barack Obama. If you want a future of shared prosperity, where the middle class is growing and poverty is declining, where the American Dream is alive and well, and where the United States remains the leading force for peace and prosperity in a highly competitive world, you should vote for Barack Obama.
I love our country – and I know we're coming back. For more than 200 years, through every crisis, we've always come out stronger than we went in. And we will again as long as we do it together. We champion the cause for which our founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor – to form a more perfect union.
If that's what you believe, if that's what you want, we have to re-elect President Barack Obama.
God Bless You – God Bless America.
Culled from Huffington Post