2011: Jonathan’s joker for PDP ticket

Events that will shape the outcome of the 2011 polls, beginning with the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP presidential primaries are unfolding at a head-spinning pace. The aspirants are on their toes aligning, re-aligning and perfecting strategies to garner advantages.

Sources close to President Goodluck Jonathan boasted yesterday that the President had secured the support of 15 out of the 28 PDP governors and the eight opposition governors for his yet-to-be declared presidential ambition.

Presidency sources said yesterday that the President secured the support of governors through intense horse trading.

In fact, the President said that a coalition of 46 out of the 62 political political parties had pledged to adopt him as their joint flagbearer if he decides to run, a decision that is expected in two weeks time.

The President spoke as one of his staunch opponents in the North, Alhaji Lawal Kaita boasted that the North would prevent Jonathan from picking the PDP ticket just as the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, said it would not succumb to blackmail or stop the current investigation of alleged corrupt governors. Northern leaders had recently urged Jonathan to stop harassing governors and opposition politicians with the EFCC.

I ‘ll count on 46 parties’ support – Jonathan

At a late night meeting on Thursday, Jonathan told a coalition of 46 political parties that he would count on its pledge of unconditional support for his presidential ambition next year should he decide to run.

He was presented with a written declaration of support signed by the National Chairmen and National Secretaries of 33 of the 46 parties, which said they were ready to subsume their structures into a national campaign organisation to ensure Jonathan’s victory at the polls.

Thanking the delegation for their approval of his efforts to provide effective leadership for the country,

the President told the group, which came under the auspices of the newly_formed Grand Coalition of Political Parties, GCPP that he was humbled by their declaration of support.

“I thank you for your kind words and appreciation of our achievements. With your support, we will work even harder to move Nigeria forward. We must build a country that our children will be proud of and we will contribute our best effort to this project,” he said.

The President also assured them that if he decides to seek re_election, they and their parties would be invited to play an important role in his national campaign.

Alhaji Danjuma Mohammed, the National Chairman of the Movement for the Restoration and Defence of Democracy, MRDD, presented the coalition’s support declaration to Jonathan.

Mohammed said: “We have chosen to support you because while all other candidates are only offering us proposals, you already have ongoing projects to improve the living conditions of Nigerians. “We will not only work for you, we will go
out and campaign actively for your victory.”

Others who spoke in the same vein at the occasion included Chief Udemba Chukwudolue, the National Chairman of the National Solidarity Democratic Party, NSDP, and Chief Emmanuel Osita Okereke, National Chairman of the African Liberation Party, ALP.

How North ‘ll stop Jonathan – Kaita

Amid the support, one of the founders of the PDP, Alhaji Lawal Kaita said he and some Northern leaders were opposed to Jonathan running because “they (Jonathan and Obasanjo, etc) are trying to take by force what belongs to the North. The presidency has been zoned to the North. Obasanjo did eight years for the South and it was zoned to the North. It is remaining four years (after President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua died) but they don’t want the North to have it and we are going to resist it.”
Asked how the North would stop the President given the support he is amassing from many parts of the country, the Second Republic politician said: “The North will beat him hands down. From the PDP primaries, we will beat him.”
Sources said the Northern plot is in two parts. The first is the aspirants might drop their ambition and support a consensus candidate to slug it out with Jonathan at the PDP primaries. If that fails, the second plan will be for a ‘consensus northern candidate’ to use another political party platform to contest the election proper against Jonathan.
According to feelers, some opposition parties are already waiting on the wings to adopt one of the party’s northern aspirants as their consensus presidential flagbearer irrespective of the outcome of the PDP’s primaries.

Stop harassing governors, opposition with EFCC, NPLF tells Jonathan

To create a level-playing field for the 2011 presidential election, the Northern Political Leaders Forum, NPLF, has called on the President to stop using the EFCC to intimidate perceived opponents, which it said would not only pose a serious threat to the nation’s democracy, but also adversely affect the polity.

The group, which is addressed as the “G15”, urged t Jonathan to enthrone a regime of tolerance of political opposition and “to desist from the use of the EFCC to intimidate and harass governors and political leaders who are opposed to his ill_advised attempt to subvert the agreed zoning formula by seizing the PDP ticket in next year’s general elections.”

The NPLF also alleged that President Jonathan was using the same tactics former President Olusegun Obasanjo employed in the pursuit of his failed Third Term agenda, adding, “it is becoming clear to all that Jonathan’s candidacy for 2011 despite the PDP’s affirmation of the principle of zoning and rotation is a return of tenure elongation of President Obasanjo, which Nigerians unanimously rejected.”

In a statement signed by former Senate President, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, the NPLF warned that chasing political opponents with anti-graft agencies portended grave danger to the polity.

The statement read in part: “The NPLF wishes to draw the attention of all Nigerians to the inherent dangers of turning the EFCC into a Political Gestapo of a particular candidate. The NPLF recalls that this is the same tactics former President Olusegun Obasanjo employed in the pursuit of his failed Third Term agenda. The NPLF wants to make it clear that this development raises serious questions on President Jonathan’s repeatedly stated commitment to free and fair elections, and by extension the survival of the nation’s democracy. Sadly, it is giving President Jonathan away as a desperado who is prepared to whip everyone in line in order to confiscate a mandate that is clearly not his.

“In as much as the NPLF is not opposed to the fight against graft, it is, however, manifest that the current onslaught against state governors and political leaders is part of the measures at checking those not well disposed to the bid of President Jonathan. It is regrettable that we are witnessing today is a throwback to the Obasanjo days and portends great danger to the credibility of the political process, nay the polity. While we stand shoulder to shoulder with all our elected courageous governors in the current struggle, we call on the Presidency to retrace its steps by tolerating opposition without which there can be no enduring democracy and rule of law. We call on Governors and all genuine lovers of democracy to close ranks and stand up against this strain of dictatorship.”

We won’t succumb to blackmail – EFCC
However, the EFCC has dismissed as untrue allegations that it was being used to hound opponents of the President, insisting that it was focused on its function and would not be blackmailed into abandoning it.

The commission dismissed claims that it was targeting pro-zoning governors by launching investigations on the governors of Kebbi, Rivers, Kwara, Imo and Jigawa states for allegedly being involved in multi_billion naira fraud.

In a statement by Head, Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Babafemi, the EFCC stressed that no amount of blackmail would make it soft-pedal on the ongoing investigation of corrupt governors.

The statement reads: “We have a legitimate duty to investigate and prosecute all forms of economic and financial crimes in all parts of the federation. This, we have been doing since the inception of the Commission in 2003 and will continue to do within the ambit of the law. It is on record that the Commission has continued to investigate various fraud allegations in several states of the federation, local government councils, federal agencies and private establishments. As such, our on_going investigations of multi_billion naira fraud allegations in Kebbi, Kwara, Imo, Jigawa and Rivers states are not different from what we have done in other states before now.

“Rather than making desperate moves to blackmail the Commission by inputting illogical meanings to its legitimate duties in a bid to freeze its hands, the questions the brains behind this propaganda should answer are: Are there allegations of fraud against their officials? Is the EFCC empowered to investigate such fraud allegations? Is there any law barring EFCC from investigating fraud allegations before, during or after elections? Should election time be taken as a holiday period when law enforcement agents would have to close their eyes to the looting of public treasury?

“These are some of the pertinent questions whose answers will expose the hidden agenda of those behind the plot to frustrate the nation’s anti_graft war. We will like to re_assure the public as has often been stated long before now by the leadership of the Commission, that the EFCC is not under any pressure from the Presidency or any other quarters to do anyone’s bidding on any issue. Attempts to link our operations to political considerations remain a blackmail, which will not stop us from doing the needful within the ambit of our statutory responsibilities.”

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Comment by Oriowo Hezekiah Olufemi on September 7, 2010 at 5:01pm
Nigerians are now wiser, Goodluck Jonathan a man of destiny ,humble and unassuming personality, nationalist and God fearing politician shall defeat his opponents at the Pdp primaries as he remains the man to beat,others are political deadwoods with inordinate ambitions, bad antecedents,that needs political repentance and cleansing.In a nornal society,these two ex-leaders contesting with this gentle man should be facing the peoples court now ,or at least be in jail for crimes against humanity.
Comment by Augustine Osagu on September 5, 2010 at 3:54am
"We need proactive and transparent leaders".It's high time we stop this politics of self interest. Pls, for the interest of the 140m Nigerians, let's give support to God fearing leaders that have the interest of our great Nation at heart, enough is enough.......
Comment by Darlington Ehondor on September 4, 2010 at 9:48pm

Political activity swells, and governors across the land are splashing influence around. They are trading in power and merchandizing in political influence. And the sprawling, dishevelled political milieu is their oyster. Inebriated by a warped sense of their own importance, these incontinently hubristic bunch have, in a matter of a few snarling years, re-modeled themselves into miniature deities on the political landscape. They have acquired, and are fast mastering, the art of power-mongering and influence-peddling, constituting an increasingly intolerable nuisance. From Abia to Zamfara, governors are going mad with political influence. They are arrogating unprecedented relevance and, consequently, are entranced in the God complex - the intoxicating feeling that they have the key of life and death. Which makes them amusingly silly. Their silliness combines with their arrogance, which swells by the waking day, to reveal a pathetic crowd of political screwballs pre-occupied with themselves. For them, political power and political influence are political theatre. So, they sing a soulless melody and tap-dance to their own rendition, entertaining only themselves.

Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River even says its with a tinge of unpretentious hubris: “Our influence did not start today. It was not by accident." Right there! Is he dumb? Is he numb? Whatever doesn't happen by accident happens by design. So, who is incontinently eager? The governors are eager for public attention, and, therefore, eager for public applause. Yet, they elicit scorn and disdain - even disgust - from a public worn and bored to shreds by such unscrupulous dross. Says Imoke, with more arrogance: "If you look at what happened in 2003 and 2007, the governors were very visible in (sic) political activities of the country." Response: the governors were "visible" in the politics of those periods because they were invisible in their core function - governing. And he buttresses himself: "In fact in 2007, governors emerged both as the President and Vice President. So if you consider the crucial role we play in the sustenance of this democracy, you won’t (sic) say we are too powerful.” Behold, mediocrity multiplies. Imoke's public display of a basement-level intelligence quotient - which is 50 divided by two - inspires deep-throated guffaws of amusement. Democracy is not sustained when governors, elected - and mandated by the Constitution - to govern, abandon that non-negotiable function with self-pampering indulgence and engage, instead, in unproductive enterprise. Governing is a governor's "crucial role" in a democracy. The arithmetic of political influence is not part of it. Which leads to the question every Nigerian ought to be asking, and answering, right now: shouldn't these governors rather be governing?

The answer is a simple and straight "yes, they should get with the business their tiltle and office confer on them." There are development miles to go in each state of the federation, and that is being temperate - putting it mildly, modestly. But the irresponsible non-charlance of the governors belies the enormity of mass misery so profound. Individual happiness has been eclipsed by poverty, disease and an ever-expanding jobs market. At least 40 to 60 percent of 15- to 25-year-olds - according to Finance Minister Olusegun Aganga - are out of work in each state. Interpretation: each state's most active population is jobless and, consequently, potentially disposed to criminality. Indeed, crime is spiralling out of control, as armed robbers, kidnappers and their cousins unleash themselves with audacious impunity. With criminals marauding and menacing a defenseless public - which is the inevitable consequence of the absence of governance - personal security spirals down-hill at the speed of light. Thus, life expectancy dwindles in an endless continuum. Public healthcare is non-existent, schools are no more than boot camps for growing future criminals, who do politicians', including and especially governors', dirty work.

Evidently, the governors are not perturbed by this appalling reality. They are totally indifferent to it. Their pre-occupation is elsewhere - convening and re-convening, in an endless succession, to do political arithmetic, the arithmetic of how much influence they wield in deciding who becomes the next president. Which raises a crucial question: how many of these governors understand the concept of federalism? How many understand that the primary reason for having a state - by association or by creation - is socio-political autonomy, which allows the state to develop independent of the federal government? Federalism presupposes that governors are "presidents" within their own jurisdictions. But that was dispensed with as soon as soldiers, beginning in January 1966, confiscated the government and imposed thier stubborn will on our collective consciousness. Just by wielding their guns around, they ended federalism and replaced it with unitarism - actually, quasi-federalism, the depraved, weird and bizarre "system" of government in which a supposedly federal entity is run as a unitary one. States were arm-twisted and pistol-whipped into yielding their autonomy to a behemothian central authority overcome with arrogance and God complex. More and more, governors, appointed and empowered by the central government, owed their allegiance and survival to a Caligulan dictator, often psychotic. Thus, the true meaning and implications of federalism receded into haze, sacrificed on the altar of military hubris. Today's governors perpetuate the sickening tradition, to federalism's undoing. Which is sad, very sad.

When governors, who are constitutionally endowed with executive powers within their limited jurisdictions, pre-occupy themselves with the mathematics of national politics, they abdicate their constitutional function and abandon those they are supposed to function for. The 36 state governors - and their lone buddy in the FCT - are abandoning their people at the moment. And "it did not just start today," says Liyel Imoke of Cross River State. He said it, I didn't. You didn't either.
Comment by Darlington Ehondor on September 4, 2010 at 9:15pm

All the fussing and fighting over Goodluck Jonathan is classic Nigerian theatre. We've seen it all before. We've heard it all before. Maybe not exactly as it is shaping up in his particular case, but Jonathan's attraction, typical of Nigeria's gullible - almost insanely unthinking - public, has the outlook of a fly-by, a massive infection that eats itself out with the dwindling of time. Indeed, a big slice of Nigeria's population is afflicted by the Jonathan Syndrome at the moment, and the reason is because, in many hearts and minds, there seems to be no reason not to be. Coming out of pure political anonymity and riding into fame and fortune in quite unusual - some say "divine" - circumstances, Jonathan, in many hearts and minds, is pure, untainted, unadultrated," product." In a political milieu infested with mice and woodworms of the Ibrahim Babangida ilk, Goodluck Jonathan offers - or so it seems - a moral diversion from the behavioral indiginities of the last fifty years. The moral deficiency of the nation's leadership of the last five decades has been a monumental blight on the collective consciousness. Political leaders have approached the art of leadership with a scant subscription to any sense of public accountability. Political responsibility, once the sonorous sing-along of the political class, evaporated as soon as oil became a commodity to be deified for its inestimable, purely limitless, economic potential. Political and military leaders acquired a new kind of hunger: the depraved proclivity to intemperate self-fulfillment, with absolute disregard for altruistic imperatives. Thus, the nation was swarmed by a wave of corruption, which is a disease of the mind. Political business became business. Jonathan wobbled into the public's consciousness promising and wielding the promise of change in many different aspects of national organization. He promised to drain politics and government of their moral ugliness. He promised to deliver "light" at the flick of a switch. He attempted to rally the country into a sense of community, although the constituent communities had, and still do have, disparate, irreconcilably contentious, political temperaments. A few months down the alley way, opinion is divided about his score sheet. Still, Jonathan's attraction - mostly inebriating in the southern half of the country, for obvious reasons - is infectious because, despite his lack of charisma and political experience, he is no Babangida. He is none of that ilk, which is good for him. The public's conclusion: he is different from the rest of the putrid pack. But that is pure conjecture. There is no art to accurately read, and draw positive conclusions about, the mental disposition of a Nigerian politician. They all reek of the same repugnant odour. In Nigerian politics, corruption is contagious. In fact, the art of corruption - characterized by depraved greed and avaricious incontinence - has its particular pull. It's a magnet that draws even the most pious and holds them in a python grip. It is the over-riding motivation for political participation, by the way. So, Jonathan, still dogged by lingering questions about his wife Patience's financial conduct, may not be entirely untainted, after all. Yet, his attraction festers in a population ravenous for change, which, in many hearts and minds, Jonathan represents. So, as he prepares to declare his 2011 presidential ambitions, he binds himself into a corner, which may be his ultimate undoing. Burdened with a population with a notoriety for impatience, Jonathan's popularity may run its full course before he even has the time to blink. If he is nominated by his party - the humungous mammoth called the PDP, which has grown into an irritating political nuisance - and goes on to clinch the office, goodluck to him. He should arm up for war - that is, load his guns and stack up his sandbags, to fight the fight of his life and win it. But since the end of war is not the end of battle, he must prepare for the even fiercer battle for the Nigerian mind. Which is easy to win but hard to hold.
Comment by joe okuns on September 4, 2010 at 7:23pm
A refree must not be part of the game. if must be free and fair, Presiden Jonathan should not contest
Comment by Henry on September 4, 2010 at 5:46pm
Why must Goodluck Jonathan wait for people to be begging him to declare? Even if no one begged him he must also delare to contest....So why all these petting?
Comment by Endurance Inavhelhegbovioya on September 4, 2010 at 12:15pm
Any presentation of a concensus candidate exclusive of Ribadu by the north will be vanity. A prompt showcase of an acceptable candidate by the north may help to change the firmly resolve of the majority populace. I personally don't like foot dragging in declaration of intention by the incumbent president. Majority of us are still much sceptical about his intention
Comment by OKODASO PETER ENAJITE on September 4, 2010 at 10:01am
Goodluck wud be unstoppable go GOODLUCK go
Comment by Alfred Arientatcha Mrakpor on September 4, 2010 at 9:10am
We are waiting for "Goodluck-declaration" , so much "political-distractions". Goodluck declare now.

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