Thursday, September 16, 2010

Nigeria: Goodluck Jonathan declares presidential candidacy on Facebook

It was announced on the 3:00 pm newscast on CRTV that Nigeria's acting President - Goodluck Jonathan - on September 15, 2010 declared his candidacy for the 2011 presidential race on his Facebook page. This might be no news in the West - where many leaders have Facebook accounts, but it is breaking news in Africa - where in a bid to evade accountability, leaders distance themselves from social networking sites and from the people they lead.

You would agree that creating a Facebook page means Goodluck Jonathan is open to suggestions, criticism and is ready to listen to Nigerians on the social networking giant.

In a Facebook note entitled, "Declaration of Intent For The 2011 Presidential Race," Goodluck Jonathan reminded his "dear compatriots" that four months ago "providence" made him president following the death of his predecessor - Umaru Musa Yar'adua, and called on Nigerians to give him their "support" and "prayers."

I have read the declaration of intent and I was sincerely impressed by what the President said, amongst other things:
"Today, I confirm that after wide and thorough consultations spanning the six geo-political zones that make up Nigeria, with members of my family, my party, the opposition, civil society, the Private Sector, members of the Labour Unions, religious leaders, youths and student groups and our revered traditional institutions, I Goodluck Ebele Jonathan by the grace of God hereby offer myself and my services to the Nigerian people as a candidate for the office of President in the forth coming 2011 elections."
I noted that Goodluck Jonathan refrained from making many promises in his declaration of intent to run for president. Talking about promises, he simply said: "The only promise I make to you my friends, fellow citizens and Nigeria, is to promise LESS and deliver MORE if I am elected."

Pundits would term the creation of a Facebook page a "tactic" and an attempt to score political points, but without going into politics, permit me to reiterate that by creating a Facebook page, Goodluck Jonathan has demonstrated skills of good governance, leadership, transparency and accountability.

It is worth mentioning that president Goodluck Jonathan joined Facebook on June 28, 2010 in fulfillment of a promise made to students at the University of Port Harcourt in May 2010. As of today, 211, 682 people like Goodluck Jonathan's Facebook page.

What are your thoughts? Do you think Goodluck Jonathan represents a new generation of African leadership? Besides inspiring hope on Facebook, would Goodluck Jonathan deliver democracy, peace , human rights and development in Nigeria - if elected in 2011?

By the way, on May 6, 2010, BBC stated that "as his name suggests, Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan has a habit of being in the right place at the right time."

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