Ogbodo: 2015: The Options Before Jonathan

By The Rainbow

PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan, the star player in this democratic outing is encircled by enemies within and outside his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). If I read him correctly, what is uppermost on his mind is how to break through the ring and reclaim completely the initiative. It is not exactly time for him to bother too much about provision of electricity, potable water, roads, health care and all the other things people talk about good governance.

The President's options are not too many. In fact, they can be streamlined to two - to fight or take flight. If he chooses to fight, his decision leaves us to worry about the battle plan he is going to adopt. That is, he may decide to fight clean or fight dirty. If you ask me, I will suggest right away that we contract all the General Overseas and Imams along the Lagos - Ibadan expressway and elsewhere to begin serious prayers so that the President can choose to fight clean. It concerns all of us and we do not need to pay tithe or give offering or even buy cow or ram to dash any pastor or imam before he begins prayer to cause the President to adopt the right battle plan.

More seriously, if the President chooses to fight, he should please fight clean. That is the more palatable of the two war plans. The details are very simple. The man only needs to conduct a transparent presidential election and then go to sleep. If Nigerians feel compelled to vote out the PDP because the party loves to Pay the Devil cause Pain (PDP) and vote in the APC which rhymes with Aspirin Paracetamol and Codine (APC) to cure their headaches, so be it.

The other option is better not contemplated. The details are most horrific and they include some of the rough tactics that were speculated in former President's Olusegun Obasanjo's letter to President Jonathan. I am talking of the weighty allegations (which have since been denied however) that, to make the road to 2015 smooth and free of impediments, the incumbent President is training sharp shooters in some swamp location in the Niger Delta to take out about 1000 men and women who have been branded political enemies and put on a watch list for easy identification. Days later, embattled Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State triggered off an alarm that he occupies the number one slot on the death list. Nobody has come out again to appropriate a slot, which means 999 persons slated for liquidation are still unknown.

Even more worrisome is the diabolic undertone in the OBJ's epistle that some characters who had performed lead roles in the Gen. Sani Abacha horror movie series between 1993 and 1998 are on the cast list for the Jonathan's show. The prospect is scary, yet the decision to fight clean or dirty is entirely for the President to make. Fortunately, the consolation comes from the President himself. Remember his now famous line in the build up to the 2011 general elections. He said: 'My ambition is not worth the blood/life of any Nigeria.' Given this backdrop, the sure way to go is to sustain the hope in spite of ourselves that Jonathan is not going to shift from that declaration in 2015, granted that he will fight and also fight clean.

For now, no declaration has been made by the man on whether or not he will fight in 2015. People are just saying that come rain, come shine, the man will ask for a second term, which begins in May 2015. Even when the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) chairman, Chief Tony Anenih said in August that the President Jonathan had up till October 1, 2013 to either say yes or no to 2015, the date came and passed without news. The man remained mute except for his so-called body language, which has been described by self-styled interpreters as sounding louder than his real voice.

This brings us close to the second option before the President, which is that, after all the brouhaha about 2015 and his unstoppable second term ambition, the President may capitulate and return to Otueke on May 29, 2015 to continue life as an ex-president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This is precisely the option that the opposition prays for. It is also the option that the Ijaws and much of the Niger Delta or South-south geo-political zone are praying against on the other hand. If the President abdicates so sheepishly, he's got a lot of explanation to do back home. He will explain why the turn of the South-south at the Presidency should be limited to one term instead of two as was the case with the South-west.

In which case, fight or flight, men are going to be hurt. It sounds like a devil's option. What do we do? We can collectively act on the dynamics to ensure the least volatile option becomes inevitable. This is the option of a clean fight. The collateral damage here, if any, is most minimal. It is also a far more realistic and practical option because it derives from the objective political conditions and not the subjective force of personality, ethnicity, religion and money so often invoked in this part to short-change democracy.

It takes us at once to the most important question of the day to which nobody has demanded answer. That is, on a level playing field, does the APC have the form and character to dislodge the PDP? In truth if the latter is described as a nest of vipers that strike within and outside its fold, the former as it is currently constituted, can go for a colony of all poisonous snakes that do not play by any ecological rules. There is nothing natural or organic about the APC. It is a rough and non- chewable mixture of gari and sand created by the exigency of power grab.

Today, Obasanjo, Mohammadu Buhari, Atiku Abubakar, Nuhu Ribadu and Ahmed Bola Tinubu have become friends standing on the same platform of progressive politics. I am patiently waiting to see the cooperation among the desperate elements in all the APC states. I mean, it will be interesting for instance, to witness how Governor Kayode Fayemi and his predecessor in office, Segun Oni will resolve and work harmoniously for the success for APC in the next general election in Ekiti State. Just as it will be scintillating to see a mixture of Kwankwaso and Shekarau in Kano State and Rauf Aregbesola and Olagunsoye Oyinlola in Osun State. In Kwara, the authority of the new Oloye, Bukola Saraki is threatened because people who had manned the opposition post in the state before Bukola suddenly downgraded himself from a champion to an underdog wish very much to dictate the pace in the new arrangement.

In the short run, it serves the APC to remain silent on these incongruities. The party is also not saying anything about who will get what and at what time. Meanwhile, General Muhammadu Buhari is investing his good name and time running around with the gang in anticipation of the APC ultimate prize, even as Speaker Aminu Tambuwal schemes to secure the best of the PDP and the APC.

Surprisingly, nobody is raising the point with the APC that this tactical withdrawal from reality for short-term advantage may lead to a strategic collapse of the party if not properly managed. What the APC is doing is akin to the shallow approach of robbers who failed to discuss the sharing formula before setting out, hoping to tackle the knotty issue at the point of allocation of the loot. Enough to say the real APC will emerge after the convention and congresses to allocate party privileges.

Then it will be clear if the PDP has opposition in the APC or not. The outcome of that will determine if Jonathan will fight clean or decide to fight dirty; or take flight in 2015.