2011 POLL: THE RESULT IF JONATHAN VIES
From a statement credited last week Friday to the new National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, who was appointed a month ago, the party's constitution is to be revisited. In the coming amendment, in the words of Nwodo's Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Ike Abonyi, his boss said the amendment would be 'cooked' at the National Working Committee, taken to the party caucus and Board of Trustees for conclusion before going to the National Executive Committee of the party for deliberation and endorsement.'
As it is now known, zoning has been in PDP constitution since last year as Article 7 Subsection 2C which reads: 'In pursuance of the principle of equity, Justice and fairness, the party shall adhere to the policy of rotation and zoning of party and public elective offices, and it shall be enforced by the appropriate Executive Committee at all levels'. This is a clear - cut provision not an ambiguous one. So, if Nwodo is saying the PDP constitution is to be cooked soon, he is talking of changing it to make it possible for President Goodluck Jonathan to be eligible to seek re-election next year without going against his rule of law doctrine.
Of course, if that happens, many Northerners and their Southern sympathizers, would leave the PDP for another party. If next year's presidential election is seen by everyone to be free and fair like that of June 12, 1993 then, there won't be any problem if Jonathan is declared the winner. But where the poll is perceived to have been rigged for him to triumph, it does not need a prophet to predict that rioting that may lead to the collapse of the present Republic will break out in the North and spread to the South in revenge attacks. And possibly end up in military seizure of power.
For me, Jonathan and Obasanjo and their supporters will be deceiving themselves if they believe penultimate week's report credited to the five Governors in the South-East that they would back the president for reelection and that no Igbo will accept to be a running mate to any other candidate than the president. Jonathan and Obasanjo ought to know that the governors have said that so that the president will not withhold and delay federal allocation to their states or stop what his government and that of late Yar'Adua had promised to do for their region. And as Obasanjo did to prevent him using the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission to harass them.
For one thing, two of the five Governors in the South-East, those of Anambra and Abia States belong to the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and their party's leadership has not said their political group is supporting President Jonathan for reelection. In the second place, the five governors of the South-East have no control over all Igbo people except those in their government and therefore cannot stop any other Igbo man or woman including members of their parties from agreeing to be the running mate of a Northern candidate of another political party.
Jonathan and Obasanjo will not be showing wisdom if they don't know that the overwhelming majority of the Igbos in the country will vote for a Northern presidential candidate when they know if he wins his Igbo running mate who will become the vice-president will be the party's presidential candidate in 2015.
Need I say that this is the condition and the signing of a document will be demanded by the leaders of APGA the Igbo dominated party and the Action Congress from any Northern candidate who wants someone from the South-East as a running mate. In other words, if President Jonathan decides to contest the election next year he will make it very easy for the South-East to produce the president in 2015.
I also see the possibility of Northerners deciding to ask the people of their region to vote for a particular candidate or that of their most favoured party. This unity of purpose will come about because they would see Jonathan reneging on the zoning arrangement as trying to make a fool of Northerners in general.
The president should also know that the most popular of the Northern candidates will make successful in-road into the South-West because of the way former President Obasanjo used his power of incumbency to rig the 2003 elections and got the PDP to take-over five of the six states controlled by the Afenifere. When the followers of Awolowo kept to the agreement to vote for Obasanjo and he reneged on getting PDP governors in the South-West not to contest the election with them, Jonathan will be deceiving himself to think Afenifere people will ever back him since the former president is the godfather behind his seeking reelection. On the contrary, they will embark on a revenge mission and vote for any of Jonathan's opponents.
Add to this the fact that under PDP's zoning arrangement what the South-West has is the office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Whereas the most prominent Northern candidate has the higher position of
Senate President to offer the members of the Afenifere. A position the former Governor of Lagos State, Senator Bola Tinubu will be interested in and thereby make the Action Congress to vote against the party that has
Jonathan as its presidential candidate. As for the Labour Party which has produced the Governor of Ondo State the Northern candidate will offer the leadership attractive appointments in the federal cabinet and parastatals. I will not be surprised if the PDP next year looses two or more of the four states it controls in the South-West.
The sum total of what I am saying and which I think I have proved is that Jonathan cannot beat the Northern candidate most favoured by the people of the region with more states (19 to the South's 17) and which has a much larger population. Apart from having more popular votes than Jonathan the Northern candidate will win more states and meet the constitutional provision of having 25 per cent votes in at least 24 states in the country. I doubt if President Jonathan can have 25 per cent in up to five states in the North. He may have it in all the six states in the South-South but may not do so in more than two or three states in each of the South-West and South-East.
Even if President Jonathan eventually comes out to say he will not seek reelection next year, I hope the prevailing suspicion that he wants to do so has not damaged his chances for the presidential poll in 2015.
Yoruba Unity Forum (12)
Make Prof. Soyinka leader
Having either Professor Wole Soyinka or General Alani Akinrinade as the Leader of Yoruba Unity Forum as I said last week will make for the success of the new socio-cultural organization because it will encourage the Afenifere people in the Action Congress, Labour Party and other political
parties and those in the Afenifere Renewal Group to become members.
Indeed, as a world-famous Nobel Laureate I don't know any Yorubaman who can give the Front a prominent international status and prestige as
Professor Soyinka will do. And who can promote Yoruba interest and culture and give it global prestige with active participation by the Yoruba in Diaspora than Soyinka, a professor in the field of Theater Arts and a world-wide renowned dramatist. In view of the enormous contribution he can make to Yoruba cause I am suggesting that Chief (Mrs) Hannah Idowu Dideolu Awolowo invites Professor Soyinka as well as General Akinrinade to Ikenne to encourage them to join Yoruba Unity Forum. The Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade II and some leaders of the Forum can be at the meeting.
Where Soyinka or Akinrinade is the Leader of the Forum one of Bishop Bolanle Gbonigi or Justice Kayode Eso can be the Chairman of the Board of Trustees. To which will belong some of Awolowo's political followers and such non-Afenifere members as Chiefs Richard Akinjide, Akin Omoboriowo, Dr. Omololu Olunloyo, Ambassador Segun Olusola and the leaders of the Odu'a Peoples Congress Dr. Frederick Faseun and Otunba Gani Adams. Ditto women like Professors (Mrs) Bolanle Awe, Chief (Mrs) Folake Solanke (SAN) and leaders of students and youth organizations.
Next week: The task before Yoruba Unity Forum leaders.