Jonathan PDP and the Bayelsa Lynch Fest
While tin foil conspiracies and political allegations cluster the airwaves of the Nigerian political theater, the real substance of discourse gradually dissipates unguarded into the arena of near juvenile mischief and ill tailored political gang up against the misgivings
of the unreasonable and illogical. The sordid eyesore unfolding in the Bayelsa gubernatorial politics tells the story of blood hound desperados in a last dance for the treasury of the Crude Oil State of the Niger Delta. And pitifully, the parties and personalities featured in the political lynch fest hide their faces in the sand of greed. Caught in this circus are the President of Nigeria and his men, and the Governor of Bayelsa and his political future.
It is clear to both the simple and complex political observer of the not-so-disguised push to consolidate power across the six geo-political regions by the leadership of the People Democratic Party [PDP] and to sedate and tame the political players in select regions of interest. The operators and leaders of the PDP has made no secret of it - as one of the south west leaders of the party stated that the PDP is 'fixing' to teach the governor of Bayelsa State a lesson he will never forget. He was quoted in the National Tribune Newspaper. What to make of this tomfoolery by the PDP becomes an itching quandary against the tenets upon which democracy rests upon - which is certainly clear and bold face defecation on the ethics and morals of fairness, openness and true transparency of a democratic system.
Thus far there has been no convincing reason that can stand the test impartiality for the said National PDP to deny the Governor of Bayelsa, Timipre Sylva the chance to contest in the PDP primaries against the upcoming gubernatorial elections slated for 2012 in Bayelsa. Instead, what the PDP has found themselves engaging is playing the dirty good old game the way it played during the dark horrid days of the Obasanjo regime when the PDP w as a despotic body that crushed and elevated people's careers and lives as Obasanjo deemed fit. And now, Jonathan, an Obasanjo despotic creation, seems to have taken over and appears to be running with the ball all the way.
It appears a structured disparity when examined clearly and sincerely from all sides of the aisle. In Adamawa State where a similar gubernatorial election is scheduled to hold in 2012, the PDP juggernauts show themselves dancing to a different beat - a beat that rings to high decibels of impartiality and shear crude despotic tendency by the personalities in the power corridors near the Wadata Plaza in Abuja. Gov Nyako, the PDP governor of Adamawa State and the military ally of the former Nigerian dictator, General Ibrahim Babangida, appears to have received a treatment dressed in a more friendly regalia that his colleague in Bayelsa State. Nyako was not only cleared to participate in the PDP primaries, his opponents were actively encouraged to drop their gubernatorial aspirations for the governor. The same appears the case in Kogi State. The chosen candidate of the Governor of Kogi State was given a near automatic ticket for the gubernatorial contest of 2012.
The questions becomes why the disparity in Bayelsa State? Why the interference? To whose interest is it for the case to be different in Bayelsa? Could it be that the Presidency might have a hand in the ongoing maladies showcased by the fledgling PDP? What might be the President's interest in the gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa State? Given, the president is an indigene of Bayelsa but to what extent is he willing to dip into the internal wrangling in Bayelsa State to achieve what many see as a mischievous end? Is President Jonathan really involved? Why would President want to deny Gov Timipre Sylva the PDP ticket? What does Jonathan have against Sylva?
The answers to the above questions may never be complete or exhaustive but the questions are certain to not go away unanswered. The peculiarities surrounding the coming of President Jonathan into the public terrain owes plenty to the mercy and grace of justice and equity and the embracing arms and hopes of the down pressed. His coming was of a transformational coming boosted by the spirit of a silent revolution of an oppressed majority. It is not farfetched expecting for him to understand the tenets of equity and justice for all - regardless of personal feelings or experience. He is, as the President of our beloved nation, not to dabble into activities deemed oppressive or needlessly self serving -particularly those adversely impacting his home state and home people.
But who is to bell the cat?
As most are aware, Bayelsa State and the entire Niger Delta region sit on a powder keg. The region houses the majority of Nigeria's financial resources. The international community is well invested in the area. The president knows this, the hustlers for the gubernatorial seat in Bayelsa know this and the governor knows this as well. But their greed appears to not allow them the clarity of vision. Particular blame goes to the president of the federation in allowing his vindictiveness to becloud his judgment. One of the major accomplishments of the Late Umaru Yar'Adua, the former president of Nigeria, was the Niger Delta amnesty program that brought a seize fire in the area. Governor Timipre Sylva was reported to have played a critical role in communicating directly to the militants the need to down their weapons. And the latest agitation for the Bayelsa treasury may spark the unwanted. The possibility is not farfetched should the standoff continues between the President and the Governor of Bayelsa State.
The presidency is called upon to rise above the fray. The international ramification of what the Jonathan led lynch mob and the PDP machinery intends to do against a perceived enemy in Bayelsa State in the person of Timipre Sylva maybe dire. If thought out properly, it can be seen that the little respect and credibility attained through the laborings of the Prof Jega led Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] may be lost to a mischievous quest.
The benefit of the doubt is according President Jonathan in this matter because he may not be in the know of what the men around him are up to - as per the shenanigans in Bayelsa PDP. As cogent advice for President Jonathan would be for him to unclog the wheels of democracy and allow the process of fairness and equity to proceed without further interference. To do less is to prove a hypocrite.
The Governor of Bayelsa State may end up not being re-elected by the people of Bayelsa State if they deem him unfit to continue to govern them but to deny him the chance to contest is undemocratic. The PDP and Jonathan must understand this.
Ada Yewande Jide is an adjunct professor of Political Science and African Studies at the Texas A &M.