President Goodluck Jonathan was at the famous Wall Street on Monday, September 23, 2013, where he rang the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to the admiration of his supporters and indeed, a cross-section of Nigerians in view of the historic significance of the event – Mr. Jonathan is the first Nigerian president ever to be accorded this privilege. Another feat that might soon find its way into the administration’s list of achievements famously tagged “uncommon transformation agenda”.
To put it in perspective for those that do not understand why the Jonathan administration is grinning from ear to ear over this development, it is like bringing a child before his/her most idolized star; they want to jump and scream, take all the photos they can and then show-off to their friends later.
While there were praises for President Jonathan, some hard knocks also came from his friends on Facebook, who wanted to know if ringing of the closing bell of the NYSE will bring an end to the lingering ASUU strike, resolve the problem of insecurity or provide millions of unemployed Nigerian youths with jobs. Some even went as far as labeling Mr. Jonathan a “time-keeper”, among others.
Let me quote from investopedia.com on the significance of ringing the NYSE bell: “…While ringing the bell is meant as an honor, it is also a TV event, and meant to be fun and entertaining. In the 21st century, the financial markets aren’t only about investing – they’re also about entertainment.”
And this is true if you consider the fact that personalities, who have rung the NYSE bell range from prominent public figures to boardroom execs, to cartoon characters, entertainers, athletes and so and so forth.
But that is not to rule out a more significant aspect of the event because for the first time, Nigeria’s Green-White-Green flag was hoisted on the NYSE building and a Nigerian president – Goodluck Jonathan – addressed traders and the rest of the world from inside the world’s most prestigious trading floor with viewership estimated to reach hundreds of millions.
I stand to be corrected but this honour has been accorded only two public figures from the African continent – Nelson Mandela of South Africa and now, Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria.
Little wonder then an excited Mr. Jonathan posted on his Facebook, “Today, I had the honour of ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange after I had heralded to global captains of industry Nigeria’s efforts in recent times that has made our nation a prime destination for foreign investment and one that ensures some of the highest Return on Investments (RoI) in the world. This is just the beginning of greater things to come for our country and our continent.”
This view point has been attested to by Marisa Ricciardi, Chief Executive Marketing Officer of NYSE Euronext, who said some few months ago that, “It’s a great platform (ringing the bell) to get visibility,” adding that “You can deliver a message to Wall Street, Main Street or around the world.”
But should this “honour” be rubbed in our faces? Will we not hear word again because Mr. Jonathan rang the closing bell at the NYSE? If the “loud speakers” of this rare honour had made it about national pride rather than inflating the ego of one man, it would be understandable but alas, that is not the case.
I’m even left more surprised that they have not attributed Mikel Obi’s long overdue maiden EPL goal for his club, ChelseaFC against Fulham at the weekend to the positive effects of the “uncommon transformation agenda” of the Goodluck Jonathan administration. Charlatans!
While our leaders, past and present have held an unfathomable disdain for almost everything “local”, they crave the attention of anything “international” like their lives depended on it.
From paying an American lobbying firm thousands of dollars to help arrange interviews with foreign media when our own local channels hardly ever get an exclusive interview with the man at the top to the over-zealousness of government officials to quote fanciful figures from international rating agencies to prove their bogus claims that Nigeria has never had it this good when the true picture portrays a nation direly in need of urgent resuscitation and revitalization, only points to one thing – Nigerian government officials suffer from inferiority complex.
It is that same malaise that will make Nigerian leaders appear at their best before the cameras of the CNN, Aljazeera, BBC of this world and look timid in front of their interviewer while brushing off the local journalist at home, sounding pompous and telling Nigerians point blank that they don’t “give a damn!”
It is high time our leaders begin to realize that charity begins from home and when all is said and done, they are accountable to the Nigerian people not some foreigner.
We adore and reverence our leaders; we want to own them; feel like a part of government not some leper, who is an outcast and only worthy of a view from afar. The trend by our leaders to surround themselves with sycophants and political jobbers, who isolate them from the real life struggles of ordinary Nigerians, is not the way forward.
President Goodluck Jonathan must reconnect with Nigerians, who massively voted and prayed for his victory in 2011 not minding his ethnicity and religion but are fast losing hope as his administration has been hijacked by those who don’t wish him and this country well.
How can he regain their trust? By yielding his heart and ears to the genuine cries and aspirations of the Nigerian people; firing some of his aides, especially those that have made bare-faced falsehood their stock-in-trade; conducting himself in such a manner that portrays the overall significance of the office he occupies – never before in the history of our country has the Office of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces been so dragged in the mud as is currently been done and finally, he must be ready to be a President of all Nigerians not an Ijaw, South-South or Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP President.
God bless Nigeria!
*Ayodele Daniel is a Content Creator @ Information Nigeria
Our leaders sees us as lepers bcos we’ve not shown them our ugly sides, they have succeeded in dividing us into ethnic, political & religious entities, but the very day we the masses will stand up and revolt in unison, that day these fools that call themselves leaders will wish they were never born in Nigeria. Until that day of united revolt, they will keep dividing us until they succeed in dividing this country. Sitting down @ home and typing that Nigeria cant b divided is just wishes, we are the ones to transform this nation & not some political agenda and propaganda of some rogues that have termed ocultic gathering a new technological name ”PARTY” God help us in this fight.