Thursday, September 05, 2013

PDP's Jam Sessions: Jonathan's Reelection And How Sure To 2015?

 By Ambrose Ehirim


A Daily Post, Nigeria file image shows the outburst at the Rivers State House of Assembly in July 2013.

In less than 20 months, Nigeria will have a new president elect, or a sitting president reelected for another term in office which will extend the Peoples Democratic Party-led rule to a fifth term, marking a 20 year marathon of a single party's domination of the nation's top job.

But what is more intriguing in the much expected political drama for 2015 is the popping up of series of political parties and alliances on the quest and hopefully, that President Goodluck Jonathan is voted out of office by the masses which his opponents never stopped saying. Though incumbent, Jonathan has not officially announced that he wants the Nigerian masses to give him another chance to continue with his stewardship, and programs directed at propelling the nation's interest to the forefront and building a well grounded international relations for the nation's common good, especially in commerce and what should strengthen the country's economy.

The entire idea to vote Jonathan out of office by a league of political parties and alliances, means much, and indicates the seriousness of Jonathan's opponents and how they have really wanted the president out, on the grounds of not taking the country at heart, some claimed, and on the basis the idea of Jonathan's reelection would spell doom for a nation that is still on life support; a nation that had lacked a sense of belonging and purpose; a nation still having problems in locating the right path to its fledgling democratic fabric and, a nation as it had clearly shown with its abundance of natural resources and excessively buoyant human capital and nothing to show for it in that capacity but turmoil, resulting from decades of military engineered juntas, widespread scandals of bribery and corruption, and Islamic Jihad insurgents associated with religious riots coupled by savage axing of ethnic minorities.

In as much as the country is yet to locate the path to its sound democracy after trials upon trials that appears not to be working and taking a close look at what had been simmering on the opposite side of the political spectrum for an adequate and appropriate choice for replacements of the crop of the nation's leadership, the alliances over the months and last week's PDP convention, speaks volumes on what was about to erupt.

I, personally, have nothing against Jonathan and his stewardship. My problem lies on his not paying close attention to folks who either by political and special interest or some personal attachments have provided what had kept him (Jonathan) in said office for this amount of time and nothing strange seems to have happened to him. My other problem is Jonathan not being aware that he may have been the problem and why some serious stuff are still having a hard time to get done. But whatever his opponents within his political party and opponents of other political affiliation found to be unfit for Jonathan's continuation to lead the nation as its first citizen must not be taken lightly by Jonathan's immediate camp; and what had unfolded in the past several weeks is not funny, and Jonathan must wake up if he is serious to face what has currently confronted him and his status.

On the other hand, former military junta and tireless presidential aspirant Muhammadu Buhari, this time around, is no longer playing with the presidential gimmicks in which he asserted a strong alliance will definitely kick Jonathan out of office and pave way for a new direction for the country, which Buhari has been saying all long. Buhari, who also made it clear that if the alliances declines to choose him overall as its flag-bearer, that he would support whoever the alliances picks, which according to Buhari, would be the only strategy as of the moment to dislodge Jonathan and his gang from Aso Rock. Buhari's position is that the Jonathan-led PDP government has continued to make mockery of said democracy the administration claims to be effecting as the laws permit. However, Buhari had admitted his mistakes, including his other allies - not coming to terms with the realism of the damages caused by the PDP government to have collectively formed the alliances before now.

But there's this general feelings that something got to change when taking a closer look at PDP's history and what had generated its manipulation and engagements into political thuggery, and scandals of election malpractices and the dangers it had posed over the years, according to the opposition parties now all out in alliances to put to stop a PDP continued mess and mismanagement of the nation's political process.

In what had been a national nightmare with hopes of order and return to civilian rule not in sight and a time running out, and hopes for a political future waning by the minute, a gang collectively of the old guards, the same politicians and fashioned military elites were busy piecing together prospects of a political party that may likely be ushered in for another chance to test the nation's political skills. It was during these moves that the PDP, the nation's present ruling party, had, in collaboration with the military juntas enacted what would be the party's constitution and assuming its reliance on its code of conduct from which the preamble at (2) (d); "to conform with the principles of power shift and power sharing by rotating key political offices amongst the diverse peoples of our country" puts into perspective what may have generated the heat which is now splitting the party and, (2)(e); "to devolve powers equitably between the Federal, State, and Local Governments in the spirit of federalism" that never was implemented, especially, considering the political situations of the local governments in question where the PDP maintains.

Nobody had known how messy the internal crisis within the ruling party, PDP, was, until Saturday, August 31, 2013, when the party held its convention in Abuja and former vice president Atiku Abubakar in what he had described as saving "the PDP from the antics of a few desperadoes who have no democratic temperament and are bent on hijacking the party for selfish ends," pulled party members loyal to him out of the party to start a new political era geared toward the 2015 general elections.

Where did Jonathan go wrong?

Of no bearing and political grassroots inside the nation's political landscape, Jonathan, born in Otueke in what is now Bayelsa State began his career as an educator, lecturing and part time environmentalist, obtaining a PH.D in zoology which certified him to spend more time in the classroom to practice the craft he had acquired. In his little state of Bayelsa, the chances of dabbling into politics became obviously high considering his status and folks who were engaged in local politics. He was Lt. Governor of Bayelsa succeeding Diepreye Alamieyeseigha as governor upon Alamieyeseigha's removal as a result of corruption. He was picked as running mate by Umaru Yar'Adua and succeeded the latter upon his death. It should also be recalled that on September 10, 2010, Jonathan opened an account at Facebook and declared his eligibility for the presidency which he clearly won without much ado. Ever since, it has not been the same again for a guy who never knew that politics makes strange bed-fellows.

As it had happened and the ongoing developments of split while Atiku Abubakar and his team of rebels are bumping fists on victory to have survived what they called "Jonathan's wrath", Bamanga Tukur, Chairman of the PDP, meanwhile, has assured the nation and members of the ruling party that there's no such thing as faction, that the PDP is still intact and viable as one unified party.

While the nation looks at the developments in PDP's internal strife and excited with the hope Jonathan is finished, they should bear in mind that Jonathan is the nation's chief executive, and can determine on his party level, for a dissolution of PDP as a political party and a radical step that would change all that; the democratic fabric and what had been a failure in practice.

The point now is, if Jonathan wants to continue with his projects and a legacy held to be known for, party factions or not, he should draw the attention of his substantial aides and leveled ministers he had trusted to get the work done by related ministerial appointments, bearing in mind how to turn things around and call his party factional folks to order.

Again, 2015 is not even close to call, nobody is sure; it's just speculations and Jonathan still stands on a better ground if he can think and start doing stuff differently within the upcoming months - sustaining a firm nationwide security, providing a wide range of employment opportunities for the unbecoming youths, guaranteeing absorbed retirement plans for the aging, hope for a recognized Diaspora to partake in significant roles in the nation's political and socio-economic future, especially in its electoral process and democratic fabric.

Above all else, Jonathan should worry less about the factions and concentrate on his national assignments and international obligations with his team to keep perfecting the republic.



Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, speaks to foreign journalist in Lagos, Nigeria, Monday Sept. 2, 2013. The governor says that a new splinter group he formed within the ruling party along with six other governors and a former presidential candidate are trying to pressure the party to do more about poverty, crime and education. The move is the first major internal challenge to President Goodluck Jonathan since he was elected in 2011. Gov. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi said Monday that they intend to transform the ruling People’s Democratic Party from a party that presents a candidate for elections to a party with better ideology. His southern state joins six others from the north with some of the highest voter turnout in a country with 60 million people. Image: Sunday Alamba/Associated Press
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