DOES EBELE JONATHAN HAVE ANY OPPONENT FOR 2015 PRESIDENTIAL POLL?
This question is as much difficult as it is easy to answer. From the onset, I will offer my candid answer to be no in the strongest term and yes in the affirmative tone. Then, I will take the rest of my available time to elucidate my double stand with enough points. And as a strong believer in fate and man's disposition in shaping his or her fate, the way is clearing for Jonathan to govern Nigeria till 2019 and probably beyond. Why not, he has achieved the primary assignment for which he was elected in his first term. So, he needs at least another four years to accomplish the secondary assignment for which he will be elected as the longest serving democratically elected president of Nigeria. The making of this history must not be truncated. Is there any Nigerian who can stop this moving train? At least for now, as many of my colleagues in my village and in Abuja, I have not seen.
TAN and CAN, TANCAN or rather CANTAN have concluded the mission for the continuity for stability. The Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN) have gone round Nigeria showcasing the goodness in President Jonathan and singing the praises of the incumbent leadership and governance. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has stretched its tentacles in galvanizing supports for the re-electioneering processes of Dr. Jonathan. Though a religious body, it has seen it worthy to participate in sensitizing the citizenry on good governance and guided mandate preservation. There are as many as over 1000 socio-political and religious groups canvassing supports for the continuity of Dr. Jonathan.
TAN was conceived and registered by those who admire the transformation agenda of Mr. President. Between August and October 2014, TAN has rallied support in the six geo-political zones of Nigeria and worked assiduously to inculcate the second term of Mr. President in the minds of Nigerian. As for CAN, campaigns have gone too high round the churches.
With the forces of TANCAN or CANTAN, the road is clear for Dr. Jonathan. TANCAN have proved beyond doubt that there is no vacancy in the Aso Rock. How do we expect Mr. President to serve in that capacity for six years which is one and half terms? By implications, he should serve for another two years to complete his two terms which should end in 2017. And then the remaining two years from 2017 to 2019 can be added unto him for seeking the pleasure of the Lord and for the transformational agenda to be consolidated. The unity of the country has been maximally maintained despite internal and external speculations and attempts for the disintegration of Nigeria. Infrastructures are being put in place across the nation, however unlike before. Nigerian women and youth have had a better political participation in leadership and governance, though I am yet to benefit. All are good signs of the better to come.
Northern politicians have been absolutely spoilt. Are there still politicians worthy to be called core politicians in the North? Maybe the answer is yes or outright no. They have stupendously become complacent with the world they have found themselves - the world of lavish and relaxation, nay the world of sloth and inexplicable fixation. They have been carefully surrendered by stereotypes, the likes of Boko Haram, Kwankwasiyyah, Lamidoism, Nyakoic-Fintirism, Suntaism and above all the philosophy of Buharism. They are staggeringly smug with the dripping milk from the sacred cows somewhat aimlessly grassing around Abuja streets, or the brutish hunt for the second citizen of Nigeria come 2015. How interesting that Sambo agreed to become a vice president! How interesting Atiku agreed to become a vice president! And how interesting that Mua'zu or Babangida or Lamido or Tukur or another Northerner will agree to be a vice president!
Dr. Anthony Kila, on 11th March, 2013, like many other public commentators reacted to a bombshell by Senator Ita Enang that 83 percent of oil blocs in the country were owned by northerners. He said, “We should, however, hasten to note that the main problem and the ultimate responsibility of such lopsided distribution are not of our northern brothers, but that of those that ruled the country….To compound matters, the country and the people they rule have little or nothing to show for it. Children are starving and their parents are obese.” Furthering his argument, Kila maintained, “Regardless of their performance in office or their method of gaining entry into office, once in power, every dullard, every lackey in Nigeria is guaranteed a place in history textbooks. They are given one of the highest salaries in the world and offered lifelong deference and opportunities in the country, but no, that is not enough. They want economic in addition to political power….We shall be deceiving and destroying ourselves if we limit this to a North vs. South matter. What have they done for the North in whose name they loot? Everywhere in the country people are feeling the same pains. It is a matter of leadership and accountability, not geography or ethnicity.
One is bound to therefore repeat that Dr. Ebele Jonathan has no one to contest with in the 2015 elections because those who would have, are busy calculating how much they are going to make from him or from the whole selective or manipulative electioneering processes. They have been ruined with raw cash, physical properties or oil block in the Niger Delta. After all, what is four years! Let Mr. President continue and may be, if the constitution is not amended, he will hand over to a Northerner in the likes of Senate President David Mark or Professor Jerry Gana, so that a Yoruba would be the vice, not an Igbo. After all, the zoning formula in today's political arrangement is North-South or South-North. After all, we are trying to overcome the damage resultant from our insistence on ticketing on religious basis.
In all these, the Igbo nation is out of it. The Igbo seem to have no voice in Nigerian politics. What a recurring devastating decimal from the civil war! When former President Olusegun Obasanjo was fixed as Nigerian president in 1999, he took Atiku Abubakar as his vice amidst very weak opposition from the Igbo race. Atiku Abubakar was already an elected Governor of Adamawa. Both Obasanjo and Atiku struggled over leadership at Aso Rock with witticism deceiving the masses of political fracases which eventually were only on the pages of newspapers. Former President Yar'Adua was brought into Aso Rock with no or very weak opposition from the Igbo nation. He was paired with Dr. Goodluck Jonathan who was never opposed by the Igbo. Rather, the strongest opposition to Jonathan's Vice Presidential position was his own Niger Delta people. The Igbo merely said yes when others said, and waited for others to say no before they joined queue.
In 2011, President Jonathan was elected and he took Alhaji Namadi Sambo as his vice. Sambo was already an executive governor of the powerful and strategic Kaduna state. The Igbo watched these histories made in Nigeria. Between 1999 and 2015, the Igbo have emphatically maintained that they do not want to play the second fiddle as vice president. All they want is the presidential slot, to be given to them on the platter of gold. By implication, all Nigerians should just gather, pick on Igbo man and then without election or selection declare him the President of the Federal republic of Nigeria. This could be a wrong Biblical quotation, like in One Week One Trouble that those who wait for their Lord shall wait forever.
On a weaker note, I say yes that President Jonathan will have someone to contend with in the 2015 elections. And I may be mistaken to say that the person would be from the Southwest, or that the political strength of the contender will be from the Yoruba nation. Godfatherism has become indelible in the politics. Though many non-Yoruba would believe that the Yoruba are difficult to deal and unpredictable in their dealings, they have been proving to be the only race in Nigeria whose voice in Nigerian politics can never be ignored. In the summary, the Hausa used to dominate the Nigeria political scene, the Igbo have never, but the Yoruba have been consistent. But this time, will they be the determining force in the 2015 presidential polls?
Events have shown that the Yoruba have always played safe in the Nigerian politics. Examine the civil war that wasted the fortunes of the Igbo and devastated the then most prosperous and influential tribe of Nigeria, the Yoruba who were partly the engineers were quite untouched. From then, the latent acrimony between the Igbo and the Hausa began. The Igbo merely identified the Hausa who then predominated the political leadership of Nigeria as their common enemy. Another instance is the Niger Delta crisis when the oil-rich people were dealt a great deal by the Nigerian government led by a Yoruba. With Boko Haram menace scattering the people and economy of the North, especially the Northeastern states, the Yoruba are safe.
Who would dare the Yoruba land with Boko Haram or militancy or uncontrollable kidnapping menace? Can we not see how swiftly and smartly the Ebola palaver was killed and buried forever in a jiffy? If it were in Igboland, or Hausaland or Niger Delta!
Muhammad Ajah is an author, publisher and socio-political analyst.