2011: THOSE JONATHAN NEEDS
'President Goodluck Jonathan is the best candidate for the race to Aso villa in 2011. Anybody challenging Jonathan's presidential ambition is challenging God. President Goodluck Jonathan will bring good luck to Nigeria if he wins the next election'.
The above captures the speculations that have dominated public discourse since the former Bayelsa governor fully assumed power after the death of his predecessor, late President Umaru Yar'Adua. Ahead of 2011 general election, it is not contestable that President Jonathan has literally become the beautiful bride. And that the former lecturer is now the toast of politicians is common knowledge.
Across the nation, the number of people rooting for Jonathan to contest the next presidential election is increasing by the day. But in the cacophony of voices in support of Jonathan, there are those who obviously are committed to the cause while others merely struggle to either secure his attention or are in the fray to gain some political relevance.|
In the frenzy, the state governors belong to one category of people that will obviously help Jonathan realize his ambition. Without sounding patronizing, the state chief executives wield a lot of influence in their states and could handover such goodwill to the former Bayelsa governor if the conditions are right. But beyond the governors, there are many other power brokers whose influence would come handy in the next general election.
The former President and chairman of Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is one person that would undeniably play a significant role in determining who becomes Nigeria's President in 2011. Though many may have their misgivings about the former President, he has continued to survive the nation's turbulent political waters since he left office in 2007.
For those who know the antecedents of Obasanjo, he is one man whose fate has enjoyed some uncommon favour. Arguably, he remains the closest person to Jonathan for now having significantly influenced his quantum leap in politics. So, having occupied the Presidential seat for eight years, he for obvious reasons understands the political dynamics involved in the race to the hot seat.
Sultan of Sokoto
For those who understand the dynamics of the nation's politics, whoever occupies the revered seat commands a lot of influence not only in the northern part of the country but the nation as a whole. To say that Jonathan needs the support of the current religious leader, Sa'ad Abubakar to realize his ambition is telling people what they already knew.
Analysts argue that the Sultan's support for Jonathan would automatically influence the voting pattern of the northern zone which constitutes a reasonable percentage of the nation's population. The Sultan was reported as having visited Jonathan at the Presidential Villa and subtly told the President that he could count on him and others for support if he decides to run. He was said to have told Jonathan that what the country needed at this time was not a sectional but national leader.
The former Minister of Defence in President Obasanjo's administration remains a voice in Nigeria. Having served the nation in various capacities, the elder statesman from Taraba State commands a lot of respect in the northern part of the country and beyond. There is no gainsaying that Jonathan would need somebody of his pedigree to weather the ethnic sentiments that have become an issue ahead of the next presidential election.
Many argue that it is perhaps in view of his electoral value that Jonathan made him chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee which he constituted in the early period of his young administration. So, it is merely stating the obvious that Jonathan needs the towering influence of a man like him. The retired lieutenant General was instrumental to the emergence of President Obasanjo in 1999 and had controversially declared that he would go on exile if he lost the election.
As the chairman of the PDP, a party that commands the largest following in the country, his influence will come to bear on the fortunes of President Jonathan in the 2011 election. Though many could argue that the former Enugu State governor could not have made it without the blessing of the President, the truth is that it will be a political miscalculation for Jonathan to underestimate the critical role Nwodo could play in who wins the PDP primaries and possibly the presidential seat.
So, realistically, the ruling party boss is strategically positioned to help Jonathan's ambition to run the presidential race in 2011. Since he was confirmed as the national chairman of the PDP, he literally has become a rallying point for the governors of the South East and this unity will easily be to the advantage of the former Bayelsa governor.
Though the former Vice President and pioneer chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees seems to be taking a back seat in the nation's politics today, he is one personality that Jonathan should not ignore especially in the South East geo-political zone. As one of those who laid the foundation of the ruling party, he still conservatively commands some respect among power brokers in the party. For followers of the intrigues in PDP, the former Bayelsa governor needs the support of personalities like Ekwueme to accomplish his ambition to win the votes of the people.
Among the power brokers in Nigeria and beyond, the former Senate President enjoys some level of positive image and credibility. Since his role in the aborted Third term ambition of President Obasanjo, he has been in the good books of a reasonable percentage of Nigerians. For Jonathan to succeed in 2011, he definitely needs the influence of a politician like Nnamani.
It is not surprising that since Jonathan fully assumed power, the former Senate boss has regained some lost political relevance. He was one of the arrowheads of the PDP reform group which facilitated the removal of Prince Vincent Ogbulafor leading to the emergence of Nwodo. The power game which transpired is perceived as a strategy to clear the way for Jonathan ahead of the election.
The former governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a moving force as far as the South West politics is concerned. A leading member and major financier of Action Congress (AC), a party that controls two states, Lagos and Edo, Tinubu's brand of politics is enigmatic. He has large following and is perceived to play politics beyond the borders of his party. For those who understand the broad political pedigree of the Asiwaju of Lagos, he would not hesitate to support Jonathan if the conditions are right even though he is not of the same party with the former Bayelsa governor
Arguably, nobody in the whole of South South commands the level of respect the elder statesman and former Minister of information enjoys in the geo-political zone. In the Niger Delta, he remains a voice to reckon with.
For Jonathan to succeed, he obviously needs the support of the Ijaw leader as that would drive home the point that charity begins at home. Both Jonathan and Clark are not only from the same geo-political zone but are of the Ijaw ethnic nationality.
Though the former governor of Bayelsa State was removed under controversial circumstances, he remains one of the most popular politicians in the Niger Delta region. He is perceived as gifted in grassroots mobilisation.
Jonathan needs him to consolidate his influence among people of not only Bayelsa but the whole of Niger Delta.
It will be recalled that Jonathan was Alamieyeseigha's deputy and later succeeded him when the state assembly impeached him.
The veteran politician is one man that has survived many administrations. Known as 'Mr Fix it', the Edo born former Police officer knows how to navigate the nation's turbulent political waters.
Though his popularity has waned in recent time, not a few believe that he still has the magic wand for winning elections in Nigeria.
Analysts insist that with his pedigree in 'Fixing' elections, it will be unthinkable to imagine that Jonathan would ignore him in 2011. His experience and uncommon attribute during elections would naturally come handy when the chips are down.
Orji Uzor Kalu
The former Abia State governor, is a strong political force any time in Nigeria. He is good in grassroots mobilization and is arguably the most potent politician in the South East zone. Many believe that if he eventually returns to the PDP as being touted, it would not be long before he asserts his relevance in the party.
A man who single handedly formed Progressive peoples Alliance (PPA) at the twilight of 2007 general elections and was able to win two states of Imo and Abia from the PDP cannot be deemed a push over. Though the two states had been lost to PDP and APGA through defection, it will be a political miscalculation to underestimate what Kalu can do to help the ambition of Jonathan. So, President Jonathan needs the assistance of a man with Kalu's following to prosecute his presidential ambition in 2011 elections. He is particularly good in grassroots mobilization.
The former governor of old Rivers is still a voice in the Niger Delta region. He is an elder statesman and is one of those who would help Jonathan to consolidate his foundation in the South South geo-political zone. The former Bayelsa governor would need the blessing of the caliber of Diete Spiff to get enough votes in the oil-rich region.
He is one of the emerging power brokers in the northern part of the country and represents the voice of the youths. Across the nation, the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) commands a lot of respect and his support to Jonathan would boost his chances in the 2011 presidential election.
The former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory is also one of the emerging voices in the North. He is perceived as a credible power broker whose popularity cuts across all parts of the country.
For those who understand the nation's political dynamics, Jonathan needs the support of a man like el-Rufai.