2015: THOUGHTS ON JONATHAN'S ELIGIBILITY
On unique characteristic of democracy in this part of the clime is that, at every election period, our political actors unleash their political dragons on the entire nation just because some of them want to be in power at all cost! Sometimes, when I look at how some politicians beat their war Tonga because of an election, I wonder if at all they understood the basic tenets of democracy and its challenging responsibilities of using power for the common good of the people! For them, democracy is the acquisition of power for personal gains and enrichment at the expense of the people. Application of this definition of democracy in Nigeria could only be the reason we dissipate energy, time and resources arguing and debating over trivial issues like ethnicity, region, religion and political party during election periods.
However, as a prelude to the conduct of the 2011 Presidential Election, a lot of resources were spent arguing on zoning and rotation and how it applied to President Good Luck Jonathan's intention to run for the oval office in the land. While some said zoning and rotation was dead and buried or had been observed in breach, others opined that zoning principle should be maintained. Also, while some argued that zoning was not in the 1999 constitution and should therefore not affect Jonathan's candidacy, others said the principle of the Federal Character as contained in the 1999 was the grandfather of zoning and rotation in the country.
Furthermore, while the zoning debate was raging chiefly between the Northern Political Leaders Forum (NPLF) lead by Mallam Adamu Ciroma and the Southern Elders and Political Leaders Forum (SEPLF) lead by Chief Edwin Clark, a summit of who is who in the 19 Northern States plus the Federal Capital Territory was held in Kaduna under the auspices of the Northern Political Summit (NPS). At the end of the summit, a communiquÃ© was issued saying President Good Luck Jonathan was free to run for the Presidential Election if he so wished. Their resolution was hinged on this simple analogy; that, if they are two pilots on a plane, and one died along the line, the second pilot should not stand idly-by and watch the plane to crash, rather, he should continue piloting the plane till it lands safely. But, at the end of the day, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which is the grand norm of the country prevailed as President Good Luck Ebele Jonathan finally declared his interest in running for the 2011 Presidential Election on September 18, 2010 at the Eagle Square Abuja, an election that gave him landslide victory over all his opponents!
Similarly, it will be recalled that similar scenario played out during the preparations for the conduct of the 2007 Presidential Election, where virtually all the Southern States Governors completing their second term of office were presidential aspirants! In the usual political drama fast becoming one of our democratic hallmarks as a country, a group of traditional rulers and political leaders from the 17 Southern States sprang up claiming that, the south should still retain power because, the north have ruled the country for about 38 years.
After several meetings and political horse-trading, the then out-going Rivers State Governor, Dr. Peter Odili became the most visible Presidential Candidate from the pool of candidates from the South. Dr. Odili was probably on his way to clinching the PDP Presidential Ticket before the eventual emergence of the then out-going Governor of Kastina State, Late, Umaru Yar'Adua as the PDP Presidential candidate who later won the Presidential Election in 2007.
Hence, it is understandable why the preparations for the 2015 Presidential Election is creating similar tension, but in a dynamic way! First, while some said President Jonathan is going for a third term, because he has taken a presidential oath of office twice; the one he took on May 6th, 2010 when he was sworn-in as president to complete the tenure of late President Yar'Dua and the one he took on the 29th of May, 2011 when he won a landslide victory at the polls for the first time, he should therefore be banned from running in 2015, others countered the claims with superior argument saying the first Presidential Oath was for the completion of the late President Yar' Adua's tenure. Hence, President Jonathan's tenure started counting from May 29, 2011; and that he is free to seek re-election like his predecessors in 2015. This very argument has been upheld by a court of competent jurisdiction and it is binding on every Nigerian. That case should therefore Rest in Peace (RIP)!
Since we have all known that President Good Luck Ebele Jonathan is eminently and legally qualified to seek re-election in 2015, what thenis the cause of the prevailing political tension in the country? Like I have said in my previous articles, nobody should blame the media for the cascading political culture in the country, rather, we should blame the opinion leaders who arm-twist media messages and pass on the distorted versions to their followers. Hence, the opinion leaders should ask their followers to stop their needles arguments and tensions over Jonathan's candidacy.
In Conclusion, the February 14, 2015 Presidential Election will come and go, and none of the artificial tensions in the country can prevent President Good Luck Jonathan from winning his re-election! Therefore, I advise that instead of threatening a man with an empty barrel, we should drop all the scare tactics and allow the peoples will to prevail come February 14, 2015.
Written By Edwin Ekene Uhara