REFLECTION ON PDP'S AUTOMATIC TICKET TO JONATHAN
Last month, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) met and endorsed President Good Luck Jonathan as its sole Presidential Candidate for next year's Presidential election.
Before the adoption, various power blocs within the party had endorsed the President as their sole candidate for the polls. For example the PDP Governors Forum lead by Obot Godswill Akpabio, the Board of Trustees of the PDP as well as other organs of the party like the National Assembly Caucus members lead by the Senate President, Senator David Mark all gave their endorsements to the President. Hence, there was no other option left than to adopt Dr. Jonathan as the sole candidate of the party at its 66th NEC meeting held in Abuja.
While accepting the offer thrown at him, President Jonathan said, the decision of the party has humbled him. He further noted that, the decision of the state governors to throw their weight behind him is like being hit by atomic bomb.
However, it will be recalled that this writer in an article entitled: 'Does Jonathan Deserve Automatic Ticket?' which spread like wild fire both in the print and online news organisation had highlighted the benefits PDP as a party would have if it grants automatic ticket to the President. Example, the writer cited exculpatory political realities in the United States of America (USA) to buttress his call for an automatic ticket for Dr. Jonathan. So, to avoid what happened to President Gerald Ford and his party in 1976, President Jimmy Carter and his party in 1980 and President George Bush Senior in 1992, which all resulted from subjecting incumbent Presidents who wanted re-election to another round of party primary, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the PDP acted right.
Also, before the decision of the NEC, analysts had hoped that Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State would be a major obstacle to granting automatic ticket to the President, but, thank God, he acted statesmanlike. The party now has relaxed mind while it is waiting for the December 6 ratification date.
Meanwhile, all eyes are now fixed on the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC). The question some are asking is whether they would adopt any candidate among the aspirants as their consensus candidate, but, from every indication, it is likely not going to happen because of the entrenched political interests of the aspirants involved. Apart from the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who has publicly declared his interest to run for next year's Presidential Election on the platform of the opposition APC, there are still many candidates with such interest, but are yet to come out fully to declare it.
With the increased publicity drive embarked upon by the Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, the question is no longer whether he would run for President, but, when is he going to publicly declare his interest?
If a report coming from the camp of General Muhmmadu Buhari is anything to go by, then after Salah Celebration, the retired General would be declaring his interest to run for President again for the fourth time.
Former Governor of Kwara State, Senator Bukola Saraki and Kano State Governor, Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso are also in the race for the party's ticket. So, with the interest of these personalities and that of their supporters, it won't be easy to adopt anybody as consensus candidate. And if the party should opt for primary, there is no guarantee that its fragile peace and patched unity will remain.
Though former Vice President Atiku Abubakar had in a recent interview declared that, he would support his party to win the election even if he fails in the party's primary. But, that promise has never reflected in his political profile; but, if he would prove critics wrong this time around, then let's keep our fingers crossed and watch.
Apart from Atiku, Governor Kwankwaso who have completed the constitutional allowed two terms for governors and have enjoyed continuous political rise since 1999 cannot live without the glamour of power. This is because; there would be no PDP that will appoint him Minister of Defence if he loses this time around. And with the fear of no hiding place for him in Nigeria if Jonathan returns next year as President, it will be a make or mar contest for him.
Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State can support any candidate that emerge at the party primary because he is a first time governor, and going by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Timetable, Presidential election will come first on February 14 before the governorship election on February 28 next year. So, if he loses the party's Presidential primary, he will go back to Imo State to seek re-election.
As for General Buhari, he can't stay to see another person becoming the Presidential candidate of the party he laboured with Tinubu to build. Besides, this would be his last time of contesting for the nation's number one position because of old age.
Senator Bukola Saraki can stay in the party if he fails in the primary. He can still repeat what he did in 2011 when he was still in the PDP as governor of Kwara State. It will be recalled that the then Governor Saraki was campaigning for President using his chairmanship of the Nigerian Governors Forum as a bargaining chip, but when the Mallam Adamu Ciroma lead Northern Political Leaders Forum (NPLF) chose Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as its consensus candidate for the PDP Presidential primary against Jonathan, he went for Senate where he is currently representing Kwara Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly. So, he can still go back to the Senate if he loses at the APC Presidential primary.
Nonetheless, why any APC Presidential candidate coming to challenge President Good Luck Jonathan will fail is because, the PDP family is already united ahead of the polls, and with PDP Project Reloaded leading other pro-Jonathan socio-political organisations in showcasing the giant strides of the Jonathan lead administration, it will only take the divine intervention of the Grand Architect of the Universe whose supreme intelligence is beyond the epistemology of every human knowledge for the election results to go other way.
Comrade Edwin Uhara is a Member of PDP Project Reloaded Media Team, Abuja.