Date Published: 07/31/10
Re: What if Jonathan chickens out? By Muhammad Attah
“At the last count, over 800 groups, associations, organizations and movements have sprang up to demand, insist, cajole, plead, blackmail, threaten and declare that President Jonathan must contest the presidential elections in 2011.” Salisu Suleiman in Daily Trust Newspapers
I read with disturbing curiosity and unabated sympathy for the Nigerian nation and its people an article by a writer on the above subject matter which appeared in Daily Trust of Thursday 29th July, 2010.
It is undisputable that this moment is the peak for political prostitution in the country. There is no business of today easier than forming a Governmental Non-Government Organization (GNGO) that can afford to print out posters in favour of political office aspirants. The greatest business proprietors of all are those who have pseudo-patriotic tendencies of trumpeting support for the incumbent president and his vice. Most of them fly on the wings of unfounded achievements.
Clear as the bright day is the fact that politicians who are close to these aspirants are forming the many associations to eat up – enviously – some of the monies heaped aside for the purpose. And at the end, when the chips are down, the same politicians will abandon the now fat hens and queen termites for any government in power.
I remember a heated argument which nearly resulted into fight between the supporters and opposition to Jonathan’s ambition few days ago. The supporters rightly stated that zoning was merely a PDP affair that has nothing to do with the whole political processes in the country. They rightly argued that PDP was the political godfather of other political parties, because, pointedly as they argued, other parties which do not have much money to contend with the hard politics in the country, have been infiltrated by PDP.
They insisted that the most contentious issue in the polity now is zoning which is not a divine condition to ascend to power. Zoning is man-made and can be reviewed and refined from time to time to suit situations and developments in the country. Moreover, zoning is not an integral part of the PDP constitution but was just co-opted to address a peculiar requirement.
With the unfolding of events, one is forced to catch sense in this postulation. Knowing full well that as at today and beyond the near future, money is the pivot of elections in the country, how many of the registered political parties can comfortably fund their campaigns in all the wards, local government areas and states of the federation? It is quite true that PDP has loyalists in other parties because I have come across some Nigerians who claim to belong to non-PDP but who neither do not have confidence in their acclaimed party nor do anything within human capacity to help the situation during elections.
I recall an instance in a state of the Southeast where an acclaimed secretary of a party was found relaxing in his bedroom when gubernatorial and presidential elections were going on. Supporters of the party who were left without mobilization or security at the last moment were bought over by the PDP machinery. The secretary had grabbed his own PDP national cake and therefore preferred not to been seen as a traitor by any party.
The opposition in the argument claimed that Jonathan would be making the worst mistake of his life to contest the 2011 elections. Their argument was based on three points. One, they claimed that Jonathan is proving that he was never loyal to his immediate boss, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua because, even as a human being who must always aspire to achieve greater heights in life, he should respect the zoning system which was agreed upon in the first place, by the PDP bigwigs in favour of the South.
Secondly, they claimed, the political history of Jonathan has shown that he needs to ride on someone’s back to achieve his goals. They added that even if Obasanjo will carry him secretly on the back in the 2011 elections, to break the jinx will be a hard nut to crack. And thirdly, they said that not even the governors of the Southsouth geopolitical zone were confident that Jonathan would come out triumphant at the “do-or-die” 2011 elections – to borrow Obasanjo’s words. Furthermore, they claimed that maybe only Bayelsa will vote for Jonathan merely on the grounds of sympathy.
The most interesting part of this face-to-face debate were the questions of what Jonathan can be purported to have achieved since he took over the saddle of leadership on 6th May, 2010 and what other politicians struggling to succeed him can sincerely offer Nigerians when they win the elections. To these questions, it is difficult to give sincere, concise and precise answers. All that must be constitutionally asserted is that all Nigerians are equal and are eligible to vote and be voted for, if they meet the constitutional requirements.
However, the streets of the Federal Capital Territory and the major cities of Nigeria have been turned into environmental hazards. Posters of all sorts have taken over walls, dustbins, faulty vehicles packed by road sides and even trees. Some accidents have been recorded from attempts of drivers trying to watch one poster or the other. By so-doing, they drive off roads, hit other road users or cause trouble for pedestrians. Here, I think it is hard times for the Federal Road Safety Corps and Environmental Agencies. These two agencies must brace up to the task of keeping our streets neat and tidy as well as ensure that our precious lives are preserved. The agencies should forward the financial and logistics demands to arrest these risks to the relevant authorities.
The writer described the ambition of President Goodluck Jonathan to contest next year’s presidential election as the most lucrative venture of the day, likening the whole scenario to “the vulture-like opportunism that dictates politics in Nigeria, the attitude of our politicians and the absence of strategic approach to power and politics.”
He went further to assert that President Jonathan would never rise above the fray and do what no other politician in the country has ever done by turning down the chance to occupy the most powerful office in the country. After all, the northern governors who are perceived as possible obstacles to the president’s (Obasanjo’s) ambition have unanimously declared that he was free to vie for the presidency in the forthcoming elections, in order not to heat up the polity.
The writer exemplified Obasanjo’s life presidency bid when many well-funded groups made all attempts to convince Nigerians that Obasanjo was the only Nigerian who had the well-withal to take the country to the Promised Land. Now that 2011 elections are around the corner, inconsistent characters such as Dr. Okweziliese Nwodo now PDP chairman, former governor of Plateau State, Chief Solomon Lar, Professor Jerry Gana, Chief Edwin Clark, former Deputy Senate President Ibrahim Mantu, among others, some of who played former presidents to failure, are out again to play out the scripts, this time, for Jonathan.
Muhammad Ajah is a writer, author, advocate of humanity and good governance based in Abuja. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org