Posts Tagged ‘ELECTIONS’


May 9, 2013


Aketi and Oke incur additional deficits
May 7, 2013 by Niyi Akinnaso ( 16 Comments

Anyone who has been following Ondo politics would have observed that the Action Congress of Nigeria and the Peoples Democratic Party entered last year’s governorship race with different motives. The ACN wanted to “capture” Ondo State by all means, while the PDP was anxious to regain power, which it lost to the Labour Party in 2007. In the course of the campaign, however, the media focus was on the ACN, partly because of the large number of aspirants; partly because of the externalisation of the process beyond Ondo State; partly because of the visible role of the National Leader of the ACN, Bola Tinubu; and partly because of the various tactics employed during the campaign, including negative propaganda.

However, after investing substantial human, financial, material, and political capital in the October 20, 2012, governorship election, Jagaban returned to Lagos empty-handed (The PUNCH, October 22, 2012). I did not write that piece to deride my friend, Tinubu. As the ACN’s National Leader, he should encourage his political party to participate in elections throughout the country. My grouse was with the tactics used by the ACN, particularly the location of the planning and logistics of the Ondo election in Lagos and Osogbo and the massive negative propaganda which defied decorum and truth.

You would have thought that, having lost the election, Tinubu would have advised his political party to desist from making additional investments in a lost battle. Why, you would ask, would the ACN candidate, Rotimi Akeredolu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, go to court to challenge an election that was universally adjudged to be free, fair, and peaceful? Why challenge the victory of the Labour Party candidate, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, given the overwhelming evidence in his favour?

Unfortunately, however, Jagaban, Aketi, and the ACN decided to behave like Kurunmi in Ola Rotimi’s play of that title, in which Brother Tortoise’s futile adventure was used to illustrate the tragic irony of Kurunmi’s engagement in a war he should not have fought. In his blind anxiety to disgrace the Alaafin and the Ibadan Lords, Kurunmi likened his enemies to Brother Tortoise as he derided them: “When Tortoise is heading for a senseless journey, and you say to him, Brother Tortoise, when will you be wise and come back? Tortoise will say… Not until I have been disgraced”. As it turned out, however, it was Kurunmi himself who was disgraced as his army was soundly defeated.

In further pursuit of their attempt to “capture” Ondo at all cost and perhaps “teach Mimiko a lesson”, Jagaban, Aketi, and the ACN headed for The Election Petitions Tribunal after Mimiko was officially declared as the winner of the October 20, 2012, governorship election. It is quite understandable why the electoral defeat was painful for them. On the one hand, Akeredolu would have loved to become the Governor of Ondo possibly in order to atone for his controversial services as the state’s Attorney General during the ignoble Abacha regime, when Akeredolu participated in the universally condemned arrest of Pa Adekunle Ajasin, his townsman and the first civilian Governor of Ondo State, for his leadership role in NADECO.

On the other hand, Jagaban, would have loved to add Ondo to his ACN empire in the South-West, perhaps in order to use the entire region as a bargaining chip in the 2015 presidential election. There are even speculations that he also wanted Ondo for its mineral and agricultural resources. His election campaign speeches, especially during the so-called Redemption Rally held at the Akure Democracy Park a few days before the election, also indicated that he wanted to settle scores with the governor for not crossing over to the ACN, despite his (Tinubu’s) “assistance” during the mandate fight in 2007.

However, as in Kurunmi’s case, disgrace came again when the three-member Tribunal, led by Justice Andovar Kaaka’an, dismissed the petitions of the ACN and the Peoples Democratic Party in succession on Friday, May 3, 2013. The senselessness of the petitions is evident in the grounds for their dismissal. For example, many of the petitioners’ witnesses, who testified before the Tribunal, did not actually witness the alleged acts but relied on what the judge described as “bundles of primary and secondary hearsay”, which is not admissible in law. Moreover, the testimonies of the petitioners’ witnesses were said to be full of contradictions and at variance with the pleadings in the petitions, which made the testimonies unreliable. The judge added,“No single witness testified that he or she did not vote or that the votes were taken away to unauthorised places after the election while no police report, which indicated violence during the election, was tendered by any of the parties”.

In a unanimous ruling, the Tribunal concluded that the petitioners failed to prove that their complaints substantially affected the outcome of the election. It added that the petitioners also failed to show that they would have won the election or that Mimiko would not have won it. A careful reading of the judgment shows that the Kaak’an-led Tribunal further enhances the credibility of the court as a desirable arbiter of electoral disputes.

The petitions and the Tribunal’s judgment raise important questions. First, why would electoral losers file petitions, when it was clear that they had no evidence to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that they would have won the election or their opponent should have lost it? This question is the more important when it is recalled that the candidates for both the ACN and PDP in the Ondo case are lawyers. There are two possible answers: Either they are still desperate to win or they want to prevent the governor from concentrating on the business of governance. The latter point reminds one of a Yoruba saying, Kaka k’eku ma je sese, a fi s’awadanu (The rat scatters sese (a bean variety), if it is prevented from eating it).

This leads to an even more fundamental problem, namely, the abuse of the judicial process. True, it is the legitimate right of the ACN and PDP candidates to go to court to seek redress, if they were truly aggrieved. However, it is a waste of time, money, and other resources to file petitions against an election that was well acknowledged by local and foreign observers as free, fair, and peaceful. Why conjure violence in a petition, when there were neither police reports nor eyewitness accounts of violence anywhere during the election? Where do we draw the line between a peaceful and a violent election or between a good and a bad election?

I raise these questions because the time has come when candidates should begin to accept electoral defeat with equanimity, as in Ghana and South Africa. Otherwise, we would normalise the practice of petitioning every election, no matter the quality of the electoral process and the sanctity of the outcome. Besides, if Aketi and Oke keep pursuing an election they lost badly at the polls and in court, what would they have done if they lost as incumbents? The state probably would have been confronted with a Laurent Gbagbo situation. On the basis of the present evidence and the Tribunal’s careful ruling, this matter should be regarded as closed,


January 5, 2013

Obama’s popular vote totals put him in small club

The 2012 presidential election has obviously come and gone, but before we move on entirely, there’s a little tidbit of statistical trivia that struck me as interesting — and chart worthy.

Bloomberg reports today that, thanks to some provisional ballots that have now been counted in New York City, President Obama’s popular-vote total is up to 51.06%. That wouldn’t be especially interesting, were it not for the fact that Obama is the first presidential candidate since Dwight Eisenhower to top 51% twice.

In fact, in American history, this is a feat that’s only been pulled off by six presidents: Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, William McKinley, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and now, Barack Obama.

In case you’re wondering if Reagan made the cut, he came close, but ended up with 50.7% in 1980. Plenty of other candidates might have had a better shot at this, were it not for third-party candidates.

Also, though Obama’s popular-vote win on election night seemed quite narrow, it’s now grown to about four percentage points (and roughly 5 million votes), which is a pretty comfortable margin of victory.

We can debate the utility and value of electoral “mandates,” but if they mean anything, Obama has earned enough public backing to have Congress take his agenda seriously.


December 11, 2012

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February 14, 2012

Are Black Folks Becoming Political Orphans?

Washington Informer, Commentary, Dr. Boyce Watkins, Posted: Feb 14, 2012
Prepping for another run for the White House, President Barack Obama recently launched an “African Americans for Obama” campaign to target Black voters.

“I don’t think there’s a better time than African-American History month to consider the tremendous progress we’ve made through the sacrifices of so many, or a better time to recommit to the challenges we face right now,” said Obama in a video to his supporters.

It is expected that the Democrats would work to shore up their Black base right before the president’s bid for re-election. The dampened enthusiasm among Black voters who are facing 15.8 percent unemployment and rapidly declining wealth levels is also expected. The Black unemployment number is more than double that of white Americans, which stands at 7.5 percent. Throughout the Obama presidency, White unemployment has improved, while Black unemployment has gotten markedly worse.

Ironically, the “African Americans for Obama” website says that the president has been fighting “to restore economic security that has been eroding for American families for a decade.”

President Obama won 96 percent of the Black vote in 2008. His approval rating today stands at 91 percent. The black community continues to be the strongest and most loyal base of the Obama Administration.

Political commentator, Yvette Carnell, has something to say about the issue:

“I have no problem with Obama targeting African-American voters. None. He needs us and he knows it,” said Carnell. “What I do have a problem with, however, is how most of the targeting begins during campaign season and ends on election day. We’re more than just a voting bloc. We’re real citizens with real needs, needs which I hope the President begins to acknowledge and address.”

Columbia University Professor Christopher Emdin doesn’t agree with Carnell’s assessment.

“I do not believe the ‘frustration and dampened enthusiasm’ cited within Af-American communities is as pervasive as we are led to believe. With that being said, these facts do not negate the fact that these communities are dealing with serious issues related to education and poverty,” said Dr. Emdin. “I do not believe that Obama’s campaigning in Af-American communities is reflective of some ulterior agenda to “use them when he needs them. It very well may be an effort to make a shift to explicitly focus on the needs of this community.”

The pending re-election of Barack Obama has put Black voters in a quandary. While many would agree that conditions have worsened for the Black community under Obama, the Republican Party provides no reasonable alternatives. In many cases, Black people have become the political orphans of America:

You can either live with the parents who abuse you or live with the child molester down the street. While one fate is clearly worse than the other, there is no end to the pain in sight.

It is actually logical for the Obama Administration to keep Black voters on the back-burner. When a group gives you 91 percent approval and asks for nothing in return, there is almost no political incentive to do anything for them. This calculation likely played a role in the statement that the “rising tide will lift all boats” made three years ago, when the president was asked about inequality in wealth and unemployment. The “lift all boats” policy was a clear and miserable failure, for most economic experts can tell you that racial inequality is not going to fix itself without targeted economic policy.

Right now, in the Black community, there are at least two types of people: those who are suffering and those who are not. The suffering group consists of the poor, unemployed, and those who live under the thumb of the criminal justice system. The rest of us have jobs, food to eat and are not impacted directly by mass incarceration. If you’re in the second group, it’s difficult to find fault with the Obama Administration, for a Black president grants the symbolic comfort that comes along with the “Mama I Made It” syndrome that justifies the trade-offs many of us make for the sake of economic and social progress in a White supremacist society. Being the first Black president is the granddaddy of all “proud mama” moments, so there are millions willing to forgive nearly any short-coming of the Obama White House to maintain access to the throne.

For those who care about the poor, there is almost no redemption when the president barely mentions poverty in his speeches. For the unemployed, it’s hard to imagine how your life will get better by supporting an administration that helped white folks find jobs while letting the Black numbers reach levels approaching those of the Great Depression. For those suffering with the effects of mass incarceration, it’s hard to get excited about a president who has not directly confronted the debilitating effects of the drug war, which has destroyed millions of families and an entire generation of children. All of these issues indicate a state of emergency in the Black community; but thus far, we’ve only given
White Americans the right to express dissatisfaction with their condition.

The implicit African American slogan for the Democratic Party is “You should just stop complaining, because the Republicans are even worse than we are.” The threat of political punishment is clearly enough to secure the Black vote without doing a thing. But at the same time, the Black political orphans of America do have a choice. WEB Dubois, when faced with few quality political options 50 years ago, simply said that he refused to vote at all. Rather than behaving like a teenage girl who shares her body with the first man who buys her a cheeseburger, Dubois advocated for the idea that we save our votes for politicians who have truly worked to earn them.

After a mass holdout from conscientious Black voters, perhaps the Democrats will then strive to honestly earn the Black vote instead of simply telling us that they are not as horrible as the Republicans. It should not be taboo to request that Black voters have enough self-respect to demand that all politicians give priority to the issues that lead to our suffering. There are no victims, just volunteers, and we don’t have to be political orphans forever.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University.


October 15, 2011

On Fulton Street, contemplating an all-black election.

By Mark Jacobson ⁠ Published Oct 14, 2011 ShareThis

(Photo: Illustration by Martin Ansin)


ike Ali and Frazier, two brothers for the championship of the world.” This was how it would be if, by some crazy chance, Barack Obama and Herman Cain wound up going head-to-head in November 2012, said Tommy Red, who was in the midst of getting his biweekly haircut at Levels Barbershop on Fulton Street in Brooklyn. His comparison was apt, Red insisted, buzz-cutters on the back of his neck. Ali was the artiste, the thinker with the pedigreed jab, “a mystical” individual, almost godlike. Smokin’ Joe, on the other hand, he was Everyman, the down-to-earth “grits and potatoes” grinder who kept on coming.

If Obama were Ali, and Cain took the Frazier role, that’s what it would come down to, said Red, who looked to be in his middle forties and said he was a “barely” employed construction worker. “You want Ali to win, but maybe you got more in common with Frazier.” It was Red’s position that a hypothetical race between Obama and Cain—straight up, with only black people voting, party affiliations excluded—might be “closer than you think.”

Red’s position was rebutted by his fellow patrons. “Herman Cain is nothing but a buffoon and a shill,” said Billy C., a 28-year-old in the middle of receiving treatment for his distressed dreadlocks. Billy had his problems with Obama, whom he wished had a bit more Frazier-like grit in his Harvard Goody Two-Shoes heart and soul. Billy was, after all, like many in the barbershop, and millions across the country, unemployed. He was onboard with the standard hood analysis that the Bushes had picked the country clean and then let the brother take the inevitable fall for it all. Still, you couldn’t totally absolve Obama. To do so would be to make him one more black victim of the white system, a self-defeating characterization at best. Still, Herman Cain? Cain was a leftover from another time, “a damn fool pizza CEO signed up to do whatever people in power say as long as he keeps getting his.”

Many felt Cain was little more than this year’s Jimmy McMillan, the candidate’s endlessly parroted “9-9-9” tax refrain holding no more water than McMillan’s “rent is too damn high” clown act. Cain was one more court jester, the Putney Swope at the table, and he wasn’t even good at it. He kept blowing the timing on the repeating punch line. The dude had allowed himself to be chumped by Michele Bachmann, who somehow came up with the crack about turning the nines upside down so everyone could see the devil in Cain’s details. On Fulton Street, few were willing to entertain the possibility of voting for a guy Bachmann could get over on like that.

It is a well-worn trope in the black community that once you get rich, you’re free to become a Republican. Even Jackie Robinson supported Nelson Rockefeller. But the idea that Herman Cain was supposed to be in the lead for the Republican nomination inspired widespread incredulity because how—just how—could a black man be in the lead for the Republican nomination during tea-party times? With Romney ceiling-glued at roughly 25 percent, Cain’s rise in the polls was in inverse proportion to the decline of Bachmann and Rick Perry. The huddled masses of Confederate-flag-flying Bachmann and Perry voters turning their yearning, hungry eyes to Herman Cain? Oh, yeah, that made a lot of sense.

There were times when to be black in America meant you could never be too paranoid. The fix was in, many people uptown and in Bed-Stuy thought. But which fix? A phone call to the Reverend Al Sharpton turned up the following quote: “You put Cain against Obama, straight up in the black community? Obama’ll win by about 95 to 3, with the rest staying home for rain. Cain’s not even running for the black vote. He came to New York, who did he talk to? Donald Trump! He didn’t go to Harlem, Brooklyn, anywhere black people live. What does that tell you? If Cain reminds any black person of anyone, it isn’t themselves, it is their grandfather, that old southern guy. Things have changed since then, just the Republicans don’t know it.”

Sharpton is in line with people who feel Cain is the GOP’s latest ham-fisted Frankenstein obsession to invent the perfect black Republican. In this scenario, they’d build Cain up, float fake stories about how he’s “in the running” to be Romney’s vice-president, and, when that dries up, use the former Pillsbury exec as what one person called “the No. 1 Negro in charge of Obama-­bashing.” If Cain succeeded in slicing 5 or 10 percent off Obama’s black vote, the operation would be a success.

Fair or not to Cain (who is already complaining that “liberal, leftist folk” in the black community are “racist” in their assumption that minority politicians cannot be conservative), one indisputable fact will remain: It was possible, at least for this fleeting instant in time, to have a halfway serious conversation about two black men running against each other for president. It won’t last, but it’ll be weird while it does.

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April 22, 2011


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(ON)GOING CONCERNS: From canoe-carver’s son to commander-in-chief

By Tolu Ogunlesi

April 19, 2011 11:00PM
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Come with me to 1998. Let’s meet Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, assistant director, Environmental Protection and Pollution Control at the Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission in Port Harcourt, “earning small, small kobo that kept him going” (as his father once told the Guardian in an interview). Seven years later, the civil servant is governor of oil-rich Bayelsa. Five years after that, he is the president of Nigeria. All this happens without him contesting any election on his own.

Now, on May 29, 2011, Mr Jonathan will be sworn in as the fourth democratically elected executive president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He will go into the beckoning epoch clutching a string of firsts: At 53, the youngest civilian president of Nigeria at first swearing-in (Shagari was 54). The first Nigerian vice president to go on to be president. The first Nigerian to rise from deputy governor to governor to vice president to president. (What are the chances of that happening in the wildly unpredictable political system we run in this country?) Nigeria’s first PhD-holding president. Nigeria’s first “Facebook president”. The second most popular head of state alive, on Facebook. The first Nigerian president to grant a campaign interview to a hiphop star. The first Nigerian politician to debate himself in a nationally televised political debate. The first civilian president of Nigeria to come from a minority ethnic group.

Let’s think for a moment about the hurdles the man has had to cross on his way from civil servant to president. First, he survived the deputy governorship. The key word there is ‘survived’. Blessed is the man who had the good sense to call a spade a spade: deputy governors are “spare tyres” in Nigeria. If you doubt that Mr Jonathan ‘survived’ six years of deputy governorship, ask Orji Uzor Kalu’s deputies. Ask Kofo Bucknor Akerele and Femi Pedro. Ask Garba Gadi in Bauchi State. Ask Peremobowei Ebebi, the man who succeeded Jonathan as deputy governor in Bayelsa.

In many cases, the deputy governorship is a terminal illness for a politician’s career. But as fate, or luck, would have it, in Jonathan’s case, the spare tyre bucked the trend and ended up, not as a tool for lynch mobs, but as the steering wheel.

And then he survived a colourless vice presidency. When the Americans, obsessed as they are with list-making, compiled a confidential list of Nigeria’s most influential persons in 2008, a year into his vice presidency, Jonathan’s name was absent. This was barely three years ago.

You only need to see how many ‘godfathers’ have fallen by the wayside (especially on Jonathan’s ‘second missionary journey’ to Aso Rock) to realise that ‘goodluck’ is more than just a name. James Ibori, said to be one of the biggest financial contributors to the Yar’Adua campaign, is today preparing for a long jail term abroad. Ibrahim Babangida, a million times more powerful than Jonathan until a year ago, last week announced his retirement from politics.

Adamu Ciroma is a tired ethnic chauvinist; the final nail in his coffin was the collapse of his consensus candidacy project. Bode George is an ex-convict. PDP chieftain, Tony Anenih’s state is in the hands of the ACN. Olusegun Obasanjo’s state will soon be. Abubakar Atiku couldn’t even deliver his own state during the PDP primaries. Lamidi Adedibu is three years dead.

I think we may safely conclude that Mr Jonathan could, if he so chooses, easily become ‘Godfatherless Jonathan’. I am indeed very optimistic about the future of Nigeria under a Jonathan presidency. Last August, I said Mr Jonathan was “a breath of fresh air”. I was referring to his social networking strategy. (I’d like to believe that was what inspired the “breath of fresh air” campaign slogan of the president)

Today, I will stretch my claim further, and declare that Mr Jonathan is potentially a breath of fresh air to the way presidential leadership is conducted in Africa. I think we are looking at the man destined to, not only tackle long-standing problems like power supply and poverty, but also bring far-reaching reform to Africa’s largest and most messed-up political party, the PDP.

He is not a perfect man. Certainly not. He hasn’t got Bill Clinton’s charm or Barack Obama’s speaking skills or Mr Obasanjo’s sense of humour. But he offers something else: an endearing calmness, a modesty that is rare with Nigeria’s ‘Big Men’, and a seemingly sincere desire to engage with the people he’s ruling.

The task ahead is daunting. I do not envy the son of a canoe-carver who’s now sitting in a ‘canoe’ atop one of the most tumultuous waters in the world — the presidency of that bundle of contradictions called Nigeria. I, however, wholeheartedly wish him Godspeed. I will repeat the words with which I ended my column, “Goodluck, Goodwill and Goodsense”, published almost exactly a year ago (April 19, 2010):

“Yesterday you were Goodluck Jonathan. Today you are Goodwill Jonathan. Now you must strive to be Goodsense Jonathan, in whose hands the destiny of a nation lies.”

So help him God. Amen.
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Reader Comments (32)

Posted by daniel on Apr 20 2011

dont be afraid add this;first elected southerner.first elected minority nigerian tribe outside of the former “big” three(if such a thing still exists after this elections!).a man of many firsts.let us hope that in performance he bests obasanjo and yardua…..which wont be that hard as all he has to do is stay alive and not cavort with daughter in laws.

Posted by King on Apr 20 2011

Very well written. I love journalism of this nature – you took the time to research the FACTS before writing this. Awesome. Yes, Jonathan has done well. I am confident too that he will continue to do well. He’s indeed a “breath of fresh air”, as you have rightly said. Like you, I wish him Goodspeed or like my wife would always wish me – GodLuck!

Posted by Anjibobo on Apr 20 2011

I am cautiously optimistic myself and I am glad our brothers in the Niger Delta will now “cool body” since one of their own is now the President. The peace and stability this will bring is my greatest joy since this will foster the enabling environment for us to keep making progress. I didn’t vote for him, but I am happy with the result. I wish him and Nigeria continued Good Luck!

Posted by ego on Apr 20 2011

@Daniel, first southerner to be elected? you make me laugh. I guess Obasanjo is from the North then @Tolu, great that you are so hopeful. But you forgot to add that he is the first president to waste the nations resources by spending billions of naira in a desperate attempt to remain president, you forget also that he is the first president where bomb blasts and terrorism became synonymous to Nigeria and he duly ignored the problem. No one has been paraded or convicted as yet. The truth is that he has no clue and stumbled unprepared into the presidency. Now he has the peoples mandate, i hope he gets some goodsense. I am not that hopeful, but i pray i am proved wrong.

Posted by Ebi Bozimo on Apr 20 2011

Tolu, your writing continues to evolve in elegance and excellence. This is a PHENOMENAL take on President elect Goodluck Jonathan in the context of Nigeria at this turbulent time.

Posted by paquito bites on Apr 20 2011

@ego.i did not vote for anyone ,i could’nt and if i could i would have chosen our man from the north but i do rejoice with the nation in juno’s victory.i may be as cynical as you but i’m afraid we can do with a huge dose of optimism to move forward.i am not interested in the firsts but glad in the knowledge that he has the mandate of the people and not the godfathers.pres juno can literally clear his cabinent jettison his vultures all in the need of change and still withstand the tremors.he ought to do that to send the right message to the people of nigeria.his task is formidable as we witness the geopolitical tsunamis around the world.we need a competent leader to face up to the resource challenges of the west and china for that is the issues of the day.we the developing nations are pawns in the chess game but with strong leadership we may get to bishop status.may the lord give him the wisdom to get us to BRINCS,that will be the ultimate accolade and the real first that will make sense to all nigerians.good morning.

Posted by kola on Apr 20 2011

Well written. Jonathan was not my choice at the presidential elections, but he seems to be Nigeria’s choice. I have never seen Jonathan in this light, perhaps because there was so much darkness around him. His calmness and modesty are necessary, but not sufficient conditions for Nigeria’s take off to ‘self sustained growth’. However, I wish him all the best. It is now time to settle down to the task of nation building. God bless Nigeria

Posted by Usman Ahmed on Apr 20 2011

@ego, what ever it is we must be positive since the man is now the president and our collective destinies are in his hands. With respect to the bomb blast, I thought Orkah is on trial in SA (his case was heard yesterday and more charges have been drawn up against him) for it while his broda and others are on trial in Nigeria

Posted by Augustine Togonu-Bickersteth on Apr 20 2011

Good write up. Something to be optimistic about. Yes Jonathan sits ina Canoe and you do not have to teach an Ijaw boat man the physics of a capsizing Canoe. I hope as his paddles the canoe would move forward. Some paddle here , Paddla there but the Canoe stays still.

Posted by Donlaz on Apr 20 2011

Good piece Tolu, keep doing great job man!

Posted by Ayat-owo on Apr 20 2011

Perfect piece. I wish him well. Destiny is God’s Pathway for us and I think Godluck sees his clearly well. May he not disappoint us for all the support

Posted by Dele. on Apr 20 2011

I hope the president realises he is a NATIONAL consensus -president….

Posted by Olatoye Joy on Apr 20 2011

I wish him goodsense too, and may his ending better than his beginning in Jesus name. amen

Posted by seun on Apr 20 2011

@ego,i feel ur cynicism and somehow am not happy about the way money was spent campaigning for the election.i do however feel that to a large extent,Jega did a good job,i also believe soon enough, we wouldnt have to be an ‘otokoto’ or ‘imcumbent whatever’ to run for a political post in also optimistic that we shall have the best republic ever,chiefly because its not an all PDP parliament.lets truly hope that the presence of many parties will add spice to national debates.Godspeed Nigeria!

Posted by Kingsley on Apr 20 2011

Isn’t it rather early to be bootlicking Tolu? Let us have light first before the apotheosis begins eh.

Posted by Nene on Apr 20 2011

Yes Tolu, I think it’s too early to be boot-licking and I am disappointed in this piece. You, of all people should not come on here and be praising Jonathan, he’s such a dumb-wit and a numb-skull, he has no idea what presidency is about.

Posted by MC on Apr 20 2011

@ego, spot on!

Posted by Ade on Apr 20 2011

My Dear Tolu. I have sent you an email already to express my sadness at your email. Jonathan was imposed on us by the powers that be? Obasanjo groomed him from the very beginning. He has mismanaged our funds in the last 1 year. He has absolutely no clue about how to fix Nigeria – economy, power, terrorism, etc. Nothing will change – it is going to business as usual. Our legislators and ministers will remain the highest paid in the world, looting will continue, power, unemployment and economy will remain ‘story lands’. I pray these wont happen but I have lost my usual optimism about this country.

Posted by Chinna on Apr 20 2011

Why all the adulation? We could congratulate a man for winning, but our writer should not start singing praises until we see performance on the job. What’s the hurry to ingratiate one’s self with GEJ?

Posted by akin Jenkins on Apr 20 2011

awesome piece mate, was trying to explain all u just wrote to a couple of my Dutch colleagues, thanks for saving me the trouble. Nice piece

Posted by Toni Kay on Apr 20 2011

My Dear Tolu, I really appreciate the good work u did with this article. It was thoroughly researched and to the point. Goodluck era is a new era for us Nigerians and we shall be proud now to say we are Nigerians amongst the Committees of nations. As for all those that do not believe in this slogan then they should bang their heads on the wall. Nigerians voted Goodluck and not PDP so that that luck will follow them. Adieus Ciroma, Buhari, Anenih, Maduekes, Nnamani. This is our time o.

Posted by paquito bites on Apr 20 2011

much as i do not hold brief for juno,i can tell all of those that have jumped down tolu’s throat that the change is already upon us.we have experienced a more savvy electorate.this has reflected the results of the addition to that we have changes occuring across the african continent and nigeria will not be an exception to this change of peoples power.see recent events in kenya and uganda and closer to home burkina faso.pres jonathan has a huge task and will not be in a position to shy away from his duties not with a weaker position in the house.we must thank god for incremental battles and will have to call on his wife’s name to win the war.

Posted by RICHARD on Apr 20 2011

Tolu Ogunlesi you goofed.Obasanjo actually delivered the Goodluck Jonathan everybody is talking about today to Nigeria.Obasanjo is President emeritus.A president that makes other president.He has single handedly decided who becomes Nigeria Democratic President post First Republic till date He has Just delivered Jonathan again.He his obviously Nigeria Political leader and political colossus. Therefore any discourse on Nigeria Political evolution without the legendary role of OBJ is definitely rubbish.OBASANJO is not just ‘ebora Owu’,he is ‘ebora Nigeria’

Posted by readerX on Apr 20 2011

i’m crossing my fingers as well… It is well with Nigeria

Posted by True Nigerian on Apr 20 2011

Am sorry for those praising Jonathan. Why did he spend so much money in campainging if not desperation. Nigerians should stop decieving themselves. We are not ready for change because voting a PDP government back to power after twelve years of PDP failure in NO CHANGE to me. I hope Nigerians saw the people with GEJ in Aso rock when JEGA announced him as the winner? the likes of Femi Otedola (who has sabotaged all efforts to give Nigerians constant electricity), Tony Annenih, Aliko Dangote, Ikedi Ohakim and oda persons who have run Nigeria aground. Clearly Nigeria is going no where. And talking about the so called elections I will say it was peaceful but far from being fair. The bottom line is Nigerians are not ready for change and I blame PDP for the Crisis in the North for not staying with the zoning arrangement. In 1999 when obasanjo was elected Pres. there was no violence in the North likewise in 1993 with Abiola. People should be objective. Lets wait for Lamido Sanusi and Fashola 2015. then we can think of moving forward.

Posted by Chuks Oluigbo on Apr 20 2011

Well articulated. In short, Tolu-like. Well done.

Posted by ALFRED AYODEJI on Apr 21 2011

Am not pro-Goodluck Jonathan and I wont say he is impeccable but then we’ve got to positive about him. At least he appears to have a good will for Nigeria and until it he proves otherwise let’s breath in the air of positivity like TOLU…

Posted by Kentops on Apr 21 2011

@true Nigerian Sanusi/Fashola ticket in 2015? That won’t be a bad idea. Nice thought!

Posted by Me on Apr 21 2011

@ Tolu this is a brilliant piece. For all those who are grieved at d turn out of d elections, why the “much ado about nothing”? No man knows it all, so why don’t we give GEJ a chance to perform. He is the people’s choice period.

Posted by D optimist on Apr 21 2011

Great piece Tolu. I believe dat dis is not boot-licking or praise singing but simply a statement of facts. i wish Nigerians could be as objective and optimistic as you are. God bless you, God bless Goodluck Jonathan, God bless Nigeria!


February 8, 2011


President Obama Would Beat Palin in Tennessee

I sure hope that The Grifter’s been saving her pennies ’cause it looks like her star just might be running out of dust. Via Taegan-

A new Vanderbilt University poll finds Tennesseans are lukewarm on President Obama — less than 44% approve of his job performance — but they prefer him slightly to Sarah Palin in a hypothetical 2012 presidential matchup, 42% to 37%.


October 12, 2010


Tuesday, September 28, 2010




• Ordered the White House and all federal agencies to respect the Freedom of Information Act and overturned Bush-era limits on accessibility of federal documents (2009)

• Instructed all federal agencies to promote openness and transparency as much as possible (2009)

• Placed limits on lobbyists’ access to the White House (2009)

• Placed limits on White House aides working for lobbyists after their tenure in the administration (2009)

• Signed a measure strengthening registration and reporting requirements for lobbyists (2009)

• Ordered that lobbyists must be removed from and are no longer permitted to serve on federal and White House advisory panels and boards (2009) * Note: After saying he would not hire lobbyists, a few have been hired in the Administration

• Companies and individuals who are delinquent on their taxes or owe back taxes are no longer allowed to bid for federal contracts (2009)

• Initiated the “e-Rulemaking Initiative” (in cooperation with Cornell University) to allow for online public “notice and comment” of federal laws and initiatives (2010)

• Issued the “Open Gov Directive” ordering all Cabinet departments to promote transparency and citizen participation in their policies (2010)

• Signed extensions on banning lobbyists from serving on agency boards (2010)

• Developed the “Don Not Pay List” with data on contractors and recipients of federal funds who are deemed to be ineligible because of fraud and abuse (2010)


• The White House website now provides information on all economic stimulus projects and spending, along with an unprecedented amount of information on our government (2009)

• Ended the Bush-era practice of circumventing established FDA rules for political reasons (2009)

• Ended the Bush-era practice of having White House staff rewrite the findings of scientific and environmental regulations and reports when they disagreed with the results (2009)

• Limited the salaries of senior White House aides (salaries cut to $100,000) (2009)

• Has urged Congress to adopt “Pay-Go” (whereby each dollar of spending is offset by a dollar in cuts or revenues, which was used in the `90s but abandoned in the `00s) (2010)

• Has been holding open meetings with Republican leaders, although they complain of a lack of access and information (2010)

• Signed the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act (2010) * Note: To curb wasteful spending

• Tasked federal agencies to develop plans for disposing of unneeded real estate and then to eliminate unnecessary or non-economical lands, properties, etc. (2010)


• Phasing out the expensive F-22 war plane (which wasn’t even used in Iraq/Afghanistan) and other outdated weapons systems (2009)

• Announced his intention to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay (2009) * Note: The closure has been delayed due to massive opposition but it remains on the agenda.

• Stated his interest in housing terrorists at a new federal “super max” facility in the US (2009) * Note: this has been delayed in the face of massive opposition but it remains on the agenda

• Cut the expensive Reagan era missile defense program, saving $1.4 billion in 2010 (2009)

• Cancelled plans to station anti-ballistic missile systems in Poland and the Czech Republic (2009)

• Replacing long-range, expensive missile systems with more efficient smaller systems (2009)

• Increased US Navy patrols off the Somali coast in response to pirating (2009)

• Established a new cyber security office and appointed a cyber security czar (2009)

• Ordered the first nation-wide comprehensive cyber threat assessment (2009)
• Instituted a new Nuclear Posture Review, revising US nuclear deterrence policy to encourage more nations to join the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (2010) * Note: Components of the policy include: a pledge to stop nuclear testing; a pledge to not build a new generation of nucs; identifying nuclear terrorism, rather than a launch from another nuclear state, as the major threat; a pledge to not use nucs on a non-nuclear state in a conventional conflict; etc.

• Executive orders to block payment, transfers, exports, etc… of individuals and organizations support the regimes of North Korea, Iran, Somali pirates, and other foreign threats (2010)

• Presidential Memoranda to extend certain provisions of The Trading with Enemies Act which was to expire in September 2010 (2010) * Note: This includes freezing assets and banning trade that benefits the Cuban regime; however further efforts at normalizing travel to Cuba are supported

• Signed bill for southwest border security and increased funds and agents on the Mexican border (2010)

• Signed the Comprehensive Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act to deal with foreign regimes like Iran and North Korea (2010)


• Began the phased withdrawal of US troops from Iraq (2009); continuing the withdrawal (2010)

• Changed the US military command in the Afghan conflict (2009)

• Tasked the Pentagon to reorganize US policy in Afghanistan; the new policy includes 30,000 additional troops deployed, priority training of Afghan forces, developing agriculture and infrastructure, limiting aerial bombing, etc. (2009)

• Ordered the Pentagon to send additional helicopters to assist US Marine units and Special Forces in Afghanistan (2009)

• Increased unmanned drone strikes on Taliban and al-Qaeda targets in Afghanistan (2009)

• Ended the Bush-era “stop-loss” policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan longer than their enlistment date (2009)


• Ordered the Pentagon to cover expenses of families of fallen soldiers if they wish to be on site when the body arrives back in the US (2009)

• Ended the Bush-era “blackout” imposed on media coverage of the return of fallen US soldiers (2009) * Note: The media is now permitted to cover the story pending adherence to respectful rules and with the approval of the fallen soldier’s family

• Ended the Bush-era “black out” policy on media coverage of war casualties (2009) * Note: Full information is now released for the first time in the War on Terror

• Ordered better body armor to be procured for US troops (2009)

• Funding new Mine Resistant Ambush Vehicles (2009) * Note: The old Hummers were very vulnerable to roadside explosives and an alarming percentage of our soldiers lost in Iraq were on account of IEDs

• Working to increase pay and benefits for military personnel (2009)

• Improving housing for military personnel (2009)

• Initiating a new policy to promote federal hiring of military spouses (2009)

• Ordered that conditions at Walter Reed Military Hospital and other neglected military hospitals be improved (2009)

• Beginning the process of reforming and restructuring the military to a post-Cold War, modern fighting force (2009) * Note: Bush announced in 2001 his intention to do this but backed off the reforms after 9/11, which include: new procurement policies; increasing the size of Special Ops units; deploying new technologies; creating new cyber security units; etc.

• Ended the Bush-era practice of awarding “no-bid” defense contracts (2009)

• Improving benefits for veterans as well as VA staffing, information systems, etc. (2009)

• Authorized construction of additional health centers to care for veterans (2009)

• Suspended the Bush-era decision to purchase a fleet of Marine One helicopters from suppliers in favor of American made helicopters (2009)

• Ordered a review of the existing “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays in the military (2010)

• New GI Bill for returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan (2009)

• Signed bill providing assistance for caregivers of veterans wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan (2010) * Note: The omnibus bill does the following: Training, funding, and counseling for caregivers; promoting pilot childcare programs for women vets under treatment at the VA; independent oversight to prevent abuse; readjustment counseling for National Guard and reservist units; etc.

• Eliminated co-payments for veterans who are catastrophically disabled (2010)

• Fulfilled campaign promise to have combat troops (90,000) out of Iraq by August 31, 2010 (2010)

• Established a new interagency task force to assist veterans owning small businesses (2010) * Note: The efforts include promoting federal contract opportunities, improve access to loans and capital, mentor assistance programs, etc.

• Signed The Families of Fallen Heroes Act, which covers the moving costs of immediate family members of those lost in service (military, intelligence, and security personnel) (2010)


• Closed the Bush-era “secret detention” facilities in Eastern Europe (2009)

• Ended the Bush-era policy allowing “enhanced interrogation” (torture); the US is again in compliance with Geneva Convention standards (2009) * Note: Obama has permitted some controversial interrogation techniques to continue

• Restarted international nuclear non-proliferation talks and reestablished international nuclear inspection protocols (2009) * Note: Bush withdrew from non-proliferation talks and dismantled the inspection infrastructure

• Reengaged in the treaties/agreements to protect the Antarctic (2009) * Note: These were suspended under Bush

• Reengaged in the agreements/talks on global warming and greenhouse gas emissions (2009) * Note: These were suspended under Bush

• Visited more countries and met with more world leaders than any president in his first six months in office (2009)

• Banned the export of cluster bombs (2009)

• Overturned Bush-era plans to increase the US nuclear arsenal (2009)

• Authorized the Navy SEALS operation that freed by force the US shipping captain held by Somali pirates (2009)

• Restored the US commitment to the UN population fund for family planning; overturned the ban on providing funds internationally for family planning (2009) * Note: The family planning efforts were suspended under Bush

• Instituted a new policy on Cuba, allowing Cuban families to return “home” to visit families (2009)

• Extended an offer of engagement (free from sanctions and penalties) to Iran through December 31, 2009 (Iran did not accept the offer) (2009)

• Sent envoys to the Middle East and other parts of the world, reengaging in multilateral and bilateral talks and diplomacy (2009)

• Authorized discussions with North Korea and the private mission by former president, Bill Clinton, to secure the release of two Americans held in prisons (2009)

• Authorized discussions with Myanmar and the mission by Senator Jim Web to secure the release of an American held captive (2009)

• Renewed loan guarantees for Israel (2009)

• Signed the USIFTA trade agreement with/for Israel (2009)

• Authorized a $550m advance for Israel (six months prior to the scheduled date) in order to accommodate Israeli’s economic and financial needs (2009)

• Continued agreements with Israel for cultural exchanges, immigration, etc. (2009)

• Spoke on Arab television, spoke at an Egyptian university, and met with Arab leaders in an effort to change the tone of US-Arab relations (2009)

• Ordered the US to finally pay its dues to the United Nations (2009)

• Attended the Summit of America’s meeting in Trinidad and Tobago (2010)

• Dispatched several envoys and initiated talks with numerous nations (2010)

• Signed a nuclear limitation treaty with Russia (2010) * Note: The agreement calls for both countries to reduce their nucs by one-third (1,500) and launch systems by half (800)

• Hosted nuclear non-proliferation summit for several nations (2010)

• Executive Order to establish support offices in the State Department to assist the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan (2010)

• Presidential Memoranda to continue drug interdiction support with Columbia (2010)


• Increased infrastructure spending (roads, bridges, power plants…) (2009) * Note: Bush was the first president since Herbert Hoover to not make infrastructure a priority

• Authorized the US auto industry rescue plan and two GMAC rescue packages (2009)

• Authorized the housing rescue plan and new FHA residential housing guarantees (2009)

• Authorized a $789 billion economic stimulus plan (2009) * Note: 1/3 in tax cuts for working-class families; 1/3 to states for infrastructure projects; 1/3 to states to prevent the layoff of police officers, teachers, etc. at risk of losing their jobs because of state budget shortfalls

• Instituted a new rule allowing the public to meet with federal housing insurers to refinance (in as quickly as one day) a mortgage if they are having trouble paying (2009)

• Authorized a continuation of the US financial and banking rescue plans initiated at the end of the Bush administration and authorized TARP funds to buy “toxic assets” from failing financial institutions (2009)

• Authorized the “Cash for Clunkers” program that stimulated auto sales and removed old, inefficient, polluting cars from the road (2009)

• Convened a “jobs summit” to bring experts together to develop ideas for creating jobs (2009)

• Ordered the FDIC to beef up deposit insurance (2009)

• Ended the Bush-era policy of protecting credit card companies (2009) * Note: In place of the old policy, new consumer protections were instituted and the industry’s predatory practices were banned

• Authorized the federal government to make more loans available to small businesses and ordered lower rates for federal loans to small businesses (2009)

• Placed a 35% tariff on Chinese tires and a few other products such as pipes after China was found to be illegally “dumping” exports below cost (2009) * Note: Clinton, Bush I, and Reagan all refused to “get tough” on China’s predatory trade practices; Bush II refused four times during his presidency

• In November 2009, Obama extended unemployment benefits for one million workers

and expanded coverage for some existing homeowners who are buying again (2009)

• Called on Congress to deliver a “Jobs bill” (2010)

• Credit card companies are prohibited from raising rates without advance notification or arbitrarily if customers are paying bills on time (2010)

• Signed a bill to extend unemployment benefits set to expire (2010)

• Signed historic Wall Street reform bill (2010) * Note: Designed to reregulate and end abusive practices and promote consumer protections

• Signed the HIRE Act to stimulate the economic recovery (2010) * Note: The bill includes: tax cuts for small businesses who hire someone unemployed for at least two months; small businesses can write off their investments in equipment this year; etc.

• National Export Initiative established to enhance federal support (technical assistance, training, trade missions, etc.) and coordination efforts to help US businesses export products and services (2010)

• Initiatives to promote a “Wireless Broadband Revolution” (2010) * Note: Among other things, broadband is finally being considered as necessary infrastructure, with efforts to expand use, access, and spectrum…

• Expanded agricultural credit to farmers during current economic crisis (2010)

• Signed bill – US Manufacturing Enhancement Act (2010)

• Signed bill – Single Family Housing Mortgage Insurance (2010)


• Negotiated a deal with Swiss banks to permit the US government to gain access to records of tax evaders and criminals (2009)

• Ended the Bush-era policy of offering tax benefits to corporations who outsource American jobs (2009) * Note: The new policy promotes in-sourcing investments to brings jobs back to the US

• Signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which provides small tax cuts for 95% of “working families” (2009) * Note: The tax cuts were not as big as was suggested during the 2008 campaign

• Convened an advisory board that is looking into simplifying the tax code (2009)

• Ordered the closing of offshore tax safe havens (for individual and business tax evaders) (2009)

• Reduced taxes for some small businesses to stimulate the economic recovery (2009)

• Extended the Home Buyers Credit for first-time home buyers (2009)

• Proposed doubling the child tax credit (2010)

• Called for the repeal of the capital gains tax for small businesses (2010)

• Proposed rolling back the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans (2010) * Note: This would be for families earning over $250,000/year and would return their tax rates to the 1990’s level


• Ordered all federal agencies to undertake a study and make recommendations for ways to cut federal spending (2009)

• Ordered a review of all federal operations to identify wasteful spending and practices (2009)

• Established a National Performance Officer charged with saving the federal government money and making federal operations more efficient (2009)

• Overturned the Bush-era practice of not listing certain federal programs in the federal budget (2009) (2010) * Note: Bush did this (so did Reagan) in an effort to hide programs and make the budget look smaller; such “off budget” items are now included in the annual budget

• Full appropriations for war are now included in the budget (2009) (2010) * Note: Bush did not list many of the appropriations for Iraq, Afghanistan, and War on Terror

• Funds for emergency appropriations are now included in the budget (2009) (2010)

• Proposed a three-year freeze on federal discretionary spending beginning in 2011 (2010)

• Is in the process of cutting 120 federal programs identified as either wasteful or unnecessary (2010)

• Established a bipartisan commission on fiscal responsibility, staffed by House and Senate members and private citizens, tasked with submitting proposals to balance the budget (2010) * Note: In the face of Republican opposition, the powers of the commission were watered down

• Established a bipartisan commission on the future of Social Security, tasked with submitting proposals to preserve and strengthen Social Security (2010) * Note: In the face of Republican opposition, the powers of the commission were watered down

• Cut $20 billion from federal budget and has pledged to cut at least this much every year (2010)

• Ultimately decided to cancel planned new presidential helicopter fleet and stick with marine One (2010)

• Freezing all discretionary spending for next three years, except on national security (2010)

• Presidential Memoranda to freeze discretionary awards, bonuses, etc. for federal political appointees (2010)

• Beginning to use “Pay-As-You-Go” (Pay-Go) to offset budget expenditures with budget cuts or revenue enhancements (2010)


• Removed Bush era restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research (2009)

• Federal support for stem-cell and new biomedical research (2009)

• Expanded the SCHIP program to cover health care for 4 million more children (2009)

• Established an independent commission to make recommendations on slowing the costs of Medicare (2009)

• Reversed some of the Bush-era restrictions that prevented Medicare from negotiating with pharmaceutical firms for cheaper drugs, allowing government to again competitively bid (2009) * Note: Obama had promised to lift all restrictions but, while he did negotiate with drug companies for them to lower their costs the deal only lifted some restrictions

• Expanding government vaccination programs (2009)

• Issued new disease prevention guidelines and priorities for the CDC (2009)

• Authorized the FDA to finally begin regulating tobacco (2009)

• Tasked federal labs to prioritize research on and deployment of H1N1 vaccines (2009)

• Asked multiple congressional committees to bring forward a healthcare reform bill; held dozens of public hearings and town halls on the issue (2009) (2010)

• Established a new council on National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health to be chaired by Surgeon General and charged with promoting healthy lifestyles and integrative healthcare (2010)

• When accusations to the contrary arose, an Executive Order was signed to reaffirm that federal funds are not to be used for abortion services (2010)

• Historic healthcare reform bill signed – $940 billion over 10 years (2010) * Note: 32 million additional Americans will receive healthcare coverage and costs will be lowered for most Americans, but many of the goals are phased in over four years

Components of the bill

– Prevents insurance companies from denying coverage to individuals/family members with pre-existing health conditions; a temporary plan is being developed to cover high-risk individuals with pre-existing conditions until the full reforms go into effect in 2014

– Prevents insurance companies from placing lifetime limits on benefits

– Bans “rescission” so insurance companies can’t cancel coverage if individuals keep their policies current or if they become ill

– An individual’s out-of-pocket healthcare expenses are capped

– Closes the “donut hole” (Part D) for Medicare prescription drug coverage (under Bush, Medicare helped pay for drugs up to $2,600 and above $4,550, but individuals had to pay 100% of the costs in between these amounts); now Medicare helps cover costs irrespective of the amount – seniors will now pay only 25% of drug costs up to $4,550 and only 5% of drug costs above that amount

– In 2010, an emergency provision will offer seniors a $250 rebate on the costs incurred within the “donut hole”

– Individuals living at or below the poverty line were eligible for healthcare under Medicaid, but by 2014 individuals/families living slightly above (making up to $14,404/$29,327) the poverty line will also be eligible for benefits

– Individuals/families making less than $43,320/$88,200 per year will qualify for government subsidies to help purchase health insurance

– All individuals must have health insurance or face a government fine; all large (over 50 employees) employers must offer health insurance to employees or pay a fine

– Small businesses can get a tax credit if they offer health care

– There are hardship exemptions if individuals can’t afford health insurance

– Families can keep their children in college on their plans through age 26

– Promotes health insurance “exchanges” so consumers can buy “wholesale”

– Creates consumer assistance offices to help consumers file complaints or appeal decisions from insurance companies; beginning in 2011, insurance companies can no longer make excessive rate hikes without justification and approval, and those doing so may be barred from participating in new health insurance exchanges

Funding sources:

– Large employers (over 50 workers) that don’t offer health benefits will be charged a $2,000/worker fee; if the employer offers coverage but employees instead purchase federally subsidized insurance the fee is $3,000/worker receiving federal subsidies or $750/worker (whichever is lower)

– Annual fees on pharmaceutical companies ($27 billion), health insurance companies ($60 billion), and medical device-makers ($20 billion)

– Annual penalties on individuals who do not have health insurance (up to a maximum of $695/person)

– Increase in the Medicare payroll tax from 1.45% to 2.35% for individuals making $200,000+ and families making $250,000+

– 3.8% tax on unearned income for millionaires

– Insurance companies will be subject to a tax on each high-end insurance plan (so-called “Cadillac” plans) they offer


– Illegal immigrants are not eligible for insurance or subsidies

– By Executive Order, such federal funding can’t be used for abortion

– The federal government will assist states by covering all of the increased expenses of expanding Medicaid coverage (90% of costs after 2020)


• Removed a ruling that now allows individual states to enact automotive fuel efficiency standards above federal standards (2009)

• Offered attractive tax write-offs for those who buy hybrid automobiles (2009)

• Overturned Bush-era rule that weakened the Endangered Species Act (2009)

• Announced plans to purchase fuel efficient American-made fleet for the federal government (2009)

• Ended the Bush-era policy of not regulating and labeling carbon dioxide emissions (2009)

• Signed a measure requiring energy producing plants to begin producing 15% of their energy from renewable sources (2009)

• Announced that the federal government would reengage in the long-delayed effort to clean up “Superfund” toxic waste sites (2009)

• Announced the long-term development of a national energy grid with renewable sources and cleaner, efficient energy production (2009) * Note: Much of Obama’s energy reform was killed by Senate Republicans

• Proposed a new refuge for wild mustangs (2009)

• Cancelled several Bush-era mountain-top removal and mining permits (2009)

• Reengaged in international treaties and agreements to protect the Antarctic (2009)

* Note: Bush had withdrawn from such efforts

• Asked Congress for an energy reform and “cap and trade” bill (2009) * Note: The Congress failed to pass such a bill

• Developing plan to lease US coastal waters for wind and water-current energy production (2009)

• Overturned Bush-era policies that allowed uranium mining near national parks such as the Grand Canyon (2009)

• Expanded the Petrified Forest National Park (2009)

• Signed the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act that protects millions of acres of scenic, historic, and recreational lands and trails (2009)

• Requiring that government buildings and facilities be retrofitted to save energy costs (2009) * Note: These green retrofits are moving very slowly

• Authorized studies in several western states to determine how to support large-scale solar installations (2009)

• Attended the Copenhagen talks and, after the talks were stalled, negotiated an international (voluntary) agreement on reducing carbon emissions and raising funds to assist developing nations in offsetting carbon emissions (2009)

• Banned importation of pythons in response to a growing population of pythons damaging the Florida Everglades (2009)

• Committing the federal government to increasing research and use of renewable, clean energy sources such as wind, biomass, etc. (2009)

• Executive orders establishing a federal initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in all federal operations (2009) (2010)

• Called for exploring the possibility of additional off-shore oil drilling in the Gulf, Atlantic, and off Alaska (but not in ANWR) (2010)

• Agreed to consider increases in nuclear energy production and requested a study on the feasibility of nuclear power plant construction (2010) * Note: Nearly all energy initiatives were defeated by Republican opposition in Congress

• Increased investment in clean energy projects (2010)

• Executive Order to develop a new strategy for and commitment to ocean and lake resources, and for scientific research on water quality (2010)


• Instituted enforcements for equal pay for women (Lilly Ledbetter Bill) (2009)

• Appointed Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina, to the Supreme Court (2009)

• Held the first Seder in White House (2009)

• Appointed a diverse Cabinet and diverse White House staff (2009)

• Spoke at the annual dinner of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights organization (2009)

• Signed the first major piece of federal gay rights legislation that includes acts of violence against gays under the list of federal hate crimes (2009)

• Reversed the Bush-era practice of politicizing Justice Department investigations and prosecutions against political opponents (2009)

• Pushing for some of the 9/11 perpetrators to be tried in federal court (2009) * Note: The process has moved at a snail’s pace and, in the face of opposition, Obama has remained quiet

• Signed an extension of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Bill to provide federal research and support for treating the disease (2009)

• Allowed the State Department of offer same-sex benefits for employees (2009)

• Proposed that the Pentagon repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy; placed a “freeze” on current efforts to remove alleged homosexuals from the military (2009)

• After eight years of neglect, the Justice Department and EEOC are again enforcing employment discrimination laws (2009)

• Convened the White House Tribal Nations Conference, inviting representatives from 564 federally-recognized Indian tribes (2009)

• Provided increased school projects for Indian lands and increased funds for the Indian Health Service (2009)

• Signed an Executive Order mandating that his Cabinet develop plans to work with and consult Indian tribes on issues impacting Indian lands (2009)

• Commissioned a study to develop alternatives to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (2010)

• Called for federal agencies to look into recognizing gay partnerships in terms of benefits (2010)

• Signed an Executive Order for the President’s Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (2010)

• Increased funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (2010)

• Signed Executive Order to promote the federal government as a “model employer” when it comes to hiring the disabled (2010) * Note: This includes new efforts to increase the recruitment, hiring, and training for the disabled

• Programs to assist Spanish speakers with the US Census (2010)

• Elena Kagen appointed to Supreme Court (2010)

• Tasked all federal agencies to develop new strategies to address HIV/AIDS (2010)

• After organizing studies on the topic in 2009, tasked the Pentagon to eliminate “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (2010)

• Signed Fair Sentencing Act (2010) * Note: The Administration continues to deescalate marijuana interdiction and raids; increased dramatically the amount of cocaine one must possess to be sentenced to jail; eliminated mandatory sentencing for first-time drug abusers and simple possession


• Authorized construction funds for high-speed, broadband Internet access in K-12 public schools (2009)

• Increased funding for school construction (2009)

• Increased funding available for student loans (2009)

• Expanded the national youth service program (2009)

• Streamlined the federal student loan process to save $87 billion over the next 10 years (2009)

• Changed the rule to allow students struggling to make college loan payments to refinance their loans (2009)

• Beginning discussions with Congress for education reform (2009) * Note: Much of Obama’s education reform has been sidelined by opposition in Congress

• Initiated a “Race to the Top” competitive federal grant program for states who develop innovative policies (2009)

• Instituted a “judgment review” allowing families with student loans to petition to have their current financial status determine the loan rather than the previous year’s finances (2009)

• Launched “Educate to Innovate,” a public/private partnership making $236 million available for science, mathematics, and technology education programs (2009)

• Proposed capping the maximum amount students must pay on student loans (as percentage of their income) (2010)

• Proposed reducing student loan obligations for individuals going to work in community and public service jobs (2010)

• The federal government will offer direct student loans, cutting out the cost of private banks (“middle man”) who increase the costs in order to make a profit (2010)

• Increased investment in technologies for schools/education (2010)


• Ordered a review of hurricane and natural disaster preparedness (2009)

• FEMA once again reports directly to the president (2009) * Note: Bush removed FEMA (prior to the Hurricane Katrina disaster) from this status

• Demonstrated an immediate and efficient response to the floods in North Dakota and other natural disasters (2009)

• Ordered that funds be released and red tape be streamlined for the ongoing Hurricane Katrina recovery effort in the Gulf Coast (2009)

• Timely and massive relief effort in response to the January 2010 earthquake and ensuing humanitarian crisis (2010)

Components of the response:

– The FBI’s National Center for Disaster Fraud was tasked to look into possible fraud with organizations soliciting funds for relief

– Announced the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund

– Established an emergency Haiti Task Force in the State Department

– Established a website with information, resources, and a posting of a “person finder” online to help families and friends to locate loved ones

– Joint aid and relief planning with the U.K.

– Sponsored a resolution in the UN Security Council for additional security and police forces in Haiti

– Dispatched the US Navy floating hospital (USNS Comfort) and, within 5 days, 9 naval and relief ships, 5 Coast Guard cutters, 8 Coast Guard aircraft, and 12,000 US military personnel

– Initial dispatch of several ships and cargo planes full of humanitarian aid and supplies, 6 search/rescue teams (500 personnel), and 265 Department of Health & Human Services personnel for emergency medical and aid support

– Established a mobile US air traffic control center at the destroyed airport in Port-au-Prince

• After the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a freeze was placed on new deep water projects (2010)

• Executive Order to establish new security measures to minimize accidental release of bio and chemical agents; new strategies for public health and bioterrorism response (2010)

• Established a national commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon spill to examine facts and report a plan of action; new efforts to prevent offshore spills (2010)

• After a slow start in responding to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the White House is promoting a long-term plan to reconstruct the damaged Gulf and negotiated with BP the establishment of a multi-billion dollar trust fund for victims of the spill (2010)

• Extended national flood insurance program for those in need during current economic crisis (2010)


• New federal funding for science and research labs (2009)

• Signed national service legislation; expanded national youth service program (2009)

• Increasing opportunities in AmeriCorps program (2009)

• Instituted a new focus on mortgage fraud (2009)

• Ordered the DEA to stop raids on medical marijuana usage (2009)

• Ordered a review of existing “mandatory minimum” prison sentencing (2009)

• Signed an order to limit airport tarmac delays and the time passengers had to sit in the plane/on the tarmac during delays (2009)

• Restored the EPA to “Cabinet level” status (2009) * Note: Bush removed the EPA from this status

• Beginning discussions with Congress for comprehensive immigration reform (2010)

* Note: Much of Obama’s immigration reform had been stalled by opposition in Congress

• Commissioned expert panels and reports from NASA; announced a new direction for human space flight that involves funding a new heavy lift-launcher and jettisoning the Ares 1 program; boosting NASA’s budget by $1 billion in 2011 (2010)

• Ordered a ban on text-messaging for all commercial truck and bus drivers (2010)

• Signed bill – FAA Air Transportaiton Modernizatin and Safety Improvement Act (2010)


• The Obamas paid for the renovations of the private living quarters in the White House with their own money rather than using the funds provided to all new first families (2009)

• The Obamas reused many Christmas ornaments from previous White House trees rather than buy new ones (2009)

• The Obamas used LED energy-saving lights on White House Christmas tree (2009)

• Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize; donated the award money for the prize to several charities (2009)

• Planted a garden for the White House’s vegetables and flowers (2009)

• Installed a swing set/playground for the Obama daughters and children of White House employees (2009)

• Held over 150 public town halls, press conferences, interviews, etc. in first year in office (2009) * Note: Official numbers are not available on such things, but this seems to be a new record high

• Less than 30 days of vacation in first year in office (2009) * Note: Official numbers are not readily available on such things, but this seems to be a new record low


B4B NOTE: Special Thanks to Robert P. Watson, Ph. D., Professor of American Studies, Lynn University who compiled this list and writes ” Like all presidents, Barack Obama has made mistakes. But, as a presidential historian, I have been struck by claims being put forward by Obama’s many critics and the news media that he has accomplished little when, in fact, his presidency is easily one of the most active in history.” And Thanks to our friend Sherry Lou Meeks.

Thank You Mr. President !

Print It…Pass It On…


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