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Reasons Jonathan Lost To Buhari (part Three)

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Before I bring this series to a close for now, I would like to take a look at how the ruling People’s Democratic Party plotted its downfall through various acts of impunity, arrogance and poor management of its successes. A party that is supposed to be an embodiment of discipline, cohesion and tolerant of opposing views within its fold, got intoxicated with power and rather promote and strengthen internal democratic best practices within its fold, became the biggest offender.

The struggle for the control of decision making body in the party led to the fractionalization of its fold thus paving way for its loss of steam. One would recall here the many party chairmen that had to be sacrificed just so that competing interest would be assuaged yet, instead of getting satisfied, the interest groups were rather asking for more. From Chief Audu Ogbeh, Vincent Ogbulafar to Okwezili Nwodo, Usman Bugaje, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and now Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, the party’s highest office remains banana peels.

The reason for this is not far-fetched. At the national level, the party has the disingenuous system where the President is the leader of the party. His say in the party is final or so it’s meant to be. At the state level, all structures of the party are in the firm control of the governors who pick almost all its officers. His word is the law. No chairman of the party dares go against or disagrees with what the president says at the national level and on the other hand, what the governors decide in their states. This presented a huge problem for the management of the party. The chairman is at the beck and call of either the president at the national level, or the governors at the state level. No party Chairman can call the governor to order or stand up to him no matter how wrong he may be on issues of party discipline; in fact the governor simply issues orders to the State party Chairman which must be carried out to the letter; same with the president at the national level. For the simple reason that governors were allowed to finance the party at the state level, it was not difficult for them to ask for returns on their investment. I keep asking - is this the best and only option available to fund party?

The bid to control the structures of power in the party by various interest groups, soon threw up an interesting ‘power bloc’. Instead of the president having it easy at the national level the way the governors are enjoying in their states, the governors rather seized upon their control of state structures to exert enormous influence at the national level. Thus it became the norm that whatever the governors want, they get; speaking as a body that is. The governors decide which of the party chairman or any officer for that matter, that should remain in office and how long he would serve. Once their interest seems threatened by the activities of the chairman, he would not stay in office a day longer. Absurd!

Eventually, there was no longer any clear cut hierarchy in the party except on paper. As a result of this, the struggle for who among the governors would be more influential soon led to deadly rivalry within their ranks. Each of them maintained his cleavage aligning with others who have similar interest only to the extent that his personal interest is guaranteed.

This situation ultimately resulted in the bitter fight that eventually culminated in the formation of PDP’s Governors’ Forum. Casualties were recorded in the fight as some of the governors decamped to another party; the party started crumbling. Its free fall could not be averted because most the interest groups were pulling in opposite directions giving little attention to the survival of the party itself.

Another serious issue was the lack of internal democratic practices in the party. This monster was to manifest in full force during the primaries, a process that the party’s flag bearers were to emerge from. In view of the fact that the governors were already handed over the entire structures of the party in his state, it became their ‘duty’ to nominate and at the same time ‘(s)elect’ the candidates. In simple terms, the governors were now carrying elective positions in their breast pockets to be flashed at who they like; they completely and deliberately ignored laid down rules and regulations guiding nomination of party candidates. The dissatisfaction, injustice, lack of consideration for others and above all the unwholesome urge by the governors to show they had all the power, did so much to damage the unifying arteries in the party.

How can a party going into a major election become so ruthless with itself? How did they hope to strategize in the hope of retaining the presidency?

Nobody needs get deceived by the result of the National Assembly elections turned in from various states; something had to give.

How did PDP’s Presidential candidate emerge? What followed thereafter? Of course, we remember the birth of New PDP. After the gubernatorial elections on Saturday 11th April, 2015, we would be in a position to assess the damage done by clear imposition of candidates by outgoing governors.

I have taken this route in order to explain that Jonathan was already standing on a weakened platform to contest the last election. By the time Jonathan realized he “was on his own”, the deed had already been done, his fate signed, sealed and delivered. In spite of his last minutes spirited efforts, the office had slipped away, gone for good.

I will not speak much on Boko Haram insurgency because the effects and consequences of Jonathan’s handling of the issue are already too well documented. Whether this army of locusts was unleashed on the Nigerian state for political or religious reasons or both is still subject of debate. His undoing here was allowing the group to blossom by not going after all those who were mentioned as being sponsors of the sect. He did not need to consider friendship with whoever was suspected to have had a hand in it; he should have gone for the broke. The court would have been left to decide their innocence or otherwise but I guess Jonathan was considering the impact of such action against the backdrop of his re-election bid. It remains a big slur on his presidency that as he is leaving the stage, the almost 300 girls abducted have not been found alive or dead.

Being a man God had favoured, what would have been his lowest moment has been turned into a high point. Despite Jonathan’s failings in most of the key indices of performance, he is today the most celebrated President in Nigeria if not in Africa, for doing what was the only course open that would save Nigeria. He conceded defeat long before the final result was called. He congratulated his opponent and has since moved on to commence his “induction” into the office of “ex this, ex that and ex everything else” (apologies to late Ukpabi Asika).

I can recall that moment Godsday Orubebe was performing his frightening stunt in the National collation centre; I was gripped with fear. I was telling myself “this is it” but Goodluck Jonathan got up to serve his God and justify his conscience.

In spite of all that we have lost as a region as result of his not considering those things or some of them for which the region looked up to him during the period he had the time to, he still has made us proud by that singular act – saving Nigerian democracy and ultimately Nigeria herself. He pulled back a nation on the threshold of anarchy by refusing to listen to those who were holding him captive all along; he fought free and liberated his spirit and body from they who had made him see nothing else but their coloured opinion. He refused the easy option of considering himself and the position that was already slipping through his fingers. He rather chose to listen to his God; He who has taken him through life in the most spectacular manner. He has indeed written his name in GOLD.

Welcome back home-boy. You did not lose. You have performed the duties for which you were called by God and he has withdrawn you from the field.

Welcome back His Excellency, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. May your days be long.

Eyenisong.

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Articles by Eyenisong Ibibio