Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Greatest Achievement of President Goodluck Jonathan - Free Speech

The Greatest Achievement of President Goodluck Jonathan - Freedom of Speech

Many people may not agree, but the real greatest achievement of out-going President Goodluck Jonathan is the freedom of speech given to Nigerians to express themselves openly online and offline without government censorship and restriction.

Nigerians have never been so free to express their opinions and thoughts as they have been under the watch of President Jonathan. But his minister of information did not even know this fact, because of intellectual ignorance of the huge impact free speech can make on the collective psyche of the people and how to use it effectively for mass communication and mass literacy of majority of Nigerians for national orientation and national development. Majority of the ministers and advisers of the President have been more interested in using their offices for selfish gratifications and enriching themselves and their cronies instead of being honest and transparent, because they deliberately did not want the people to know the immense benefits of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act signed into law on May 28, 2011; an Act that gives every Nigerian a legal right of access to information, records, and documents held by government bodies and private bodies carrying out public functions. (
Majority of Nigerians are clueless about the FOI.

Freedom of Speech is fundamental to the survival and welfare of human civilization, because it breaks all barriers to public enlightenment which is pivotal to the advancement of humankind, as defined in Articles 18 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948 at the Palais de Chaillot, Paris, France.
Article 18.

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Nigerians unleashed their thoughts on the most popular social network sites all over the internet, using the social media to address every matter affecting them and to express the issues in public information. 

The freedom of speech has been the greatest weapon of the Change mantra of the opposition which ignited the conscience of the populace in the 2015 general elections and boosted the public knowledge of almost everything positive and negative about President Jonathan which the presidential campaign of his main opposer Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd), the presidential flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC) used effectively to sway public opinion to their advantage and succeeded in taking the wind out of sails of the incumbent President and his campaigners got drowned in the deluge of free speech on the internet. And by the time he realized it, his presidential campaign ship was already sinking.

The president elect Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd) must not stop the liberties of the freedom of speech. But also use the media of free speech to communicate and connect with the citizens who now know that the government can no longer fool them. They demand popular democracy in honesty and transparency without censorship of public opinion. It is freedom of speech that won him the mandate of the electorate and he must promote this fundamental human right of Nigerians and thanks to President Goodluck Jonathan for making it all possible.

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