Date Published: 05/18/10
No Political Bickering Must Stop Jonathan By Niran Abitogun
Sitting pretty well on the threshold of history the 14 th president of the federal republic of Nigeria Dr, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has a special and rare relationship with history. Not in Nigeria or somewhere else have we read or heard such mortal being moving from one political platform to another with surprises boldly written on the faces of friends and political associates. Many are short of words to describe the progression within a spate of one decade. An Ijaw man from Bayelsa state in the south-south Nigeria joined politics barely a decade ago and worked his ways to the top of the ladder divinely or how can one described the scenario. He was a deputy governor in Bayelsa state to the former governor Daprieye Alameisiahga who was removed from office for some money laundering offenses. Jonathan riding on the crest of history assumed the position of governor in the state and in 2006 was eventually picked as the running mate to Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua under the banner of the PDP. The party was declared the winner of the elections in 2007 and the two men were in the saddle of ruling the country.
Following the health problems of the president and the consequent political crises that ensued Dr. Jonathan became the acting president vide the doctrine of necessity as applied by the national assembly. From there on history again began to unfold in favour of the acting president as Nigerians watched with knee interest to know how it would end. Finally on the 5 th of May, following the death of the president, Jonathan was sworn in as the substantive president of Nigeria. His emergency in the political scene must have worried some people or caused concern for others but what must be must surely be as designed by the creator. Various thoughts and postulations were advanced to his golden steps. Could it be the political structure of the country allows it or it was meant to come in that form and or was the hand of God in the settings? Whichever way we choose to look at it we do not need a seer from another planet to tell Nigeria that Dr. Jonathan may be aptly described as the sent messiah to liberate our country from the shackles of poverty, oppression and underdevelopment impose on it by the likes of Babangida et al. A country flowing of milk and honey was turned a beggar nation ridiculed and battered with impunity and recklessness. Unemployment among the youths have risen to 54% in the last 5years, security of lives and property have become a thing of the past, standard of living dropped below the poverty line index, education is a luxury rather than right, health sector in complete comatose, industries have closed down or move to where it can survive the economic strangulation foisted upon it in Nigeria. The transport system has broken down. In short we are gathering dust as we roll within a defined circle of corruption.
No sooner has Jonathan become the president the forces of darkness started their campaign around with specific instruction that the man should not contest the position of president come next year general elections. Their reason being that the position is reserved for the northern part of the country because the late president ought to have spent eight years in office before the southern part of the country can have access to the position. It is a weird and obnoxious political calculation emanating from the politically insensitive minds to the problems of the nation.
The purported zoning arrangement of the PDP was thrown up to determine the direction of governance and who and where the president must come from. The arrangement had earlier produced lame duck president has now almost become a formula being adopted by all political parties in the country. What baffle most are the voices of notable individuals from the north such as Mallam Shehu Sani a well recognised social crusader who ought to know more than others. A system that has jettisoned the fundamental rights of Nigerians to aspire to any position within a certain time contrary to the constitution of the republic leaves much to be desired. Those who should understand the letters of the constitution have now hidden under the throes of nepotism, race and ethnicity bigots to set agenda for the nation’s political structure. 50 years into our independence, the nation ought to be above ethnic sentiments and face the political reality at hand. To ask the president not to put his feet forward for the position of president during next year’s election is to hold him from walking the streets of Abuja or Yenegoa, which is against his fundamental human rights as expressed in our constitution.
However, in the recent time those who hoped to confine Jonathan in to political dustbin have started to sing another song. While the hangers-on and the cabals have decimated and gone into oblivion, the voice of reasoning has taken over. Some progressive elements in the northern part of the country have formed political vanguard to champion the course of the president come 2011.
After the annulment of the election believed to have been won by late Basorun MKO Abiola in 1993, chief Obasanjo then said the late business mogul turned politician was not the messiah God has sent to Nigeria. But he became the president as a fall out of the struggle to right the wrong and injustice visited on the south west. He spent eight years in government worked seriously to get the third term but he proved himself incapable of redeeming the country from Down syndrome. If MKO was not the messiah, I think Dr Jonathan can so be referred to as God sent messenger to quell our thirsts. In this situation the political elites who are calling for his non participation in the next year’s election should find a hiding place in the constitution to bury their heads. Nigeria needs a political system or arrangement that would throw up the best hands into the governance of the nation. The PDP convention which produced the late president was fixed in all ramifications as well as the elections they purportedly won. We do not need a repeat of this act hence the setting up of reform committee to work on the elections provisions and the need to adopt the recommendations of the committee are very germane to the development of the nation.
The legitimacy of an election brings out accountability from the leadership to the electorate. Where a leader is not accountable then the situation is dangerous. Obasanjo during his eight years demonstrated how his gender and generation can rule without having the populace at heart. No programmes were initiated for the wellbeing of the 150m Nigerians but we witnessed waste of resources and injustice all over the country.
The unequal relationship and class contradictions further widened the gap between the rich and poor, we want someone to help us fix our economy, to fix the roads, the hospitals, education, and tackle corruption headlong. We want peace in the Niger delta region and even development for the entire nation. We want a nation where every citizen will have equal opportunity to stand up to contest for any position and not a regimented society under the whim and caprices of myopic and Lilliput politicians masquerading as nationalist. We are no longer in chain.
Abitogun writes from Abuja.