Why President Jonathan Will Not Win Election: Nigerian Politics 2011


29 November 2010

By Shuaibu Fari shuaibu_fari@yahoo.com

The current developments in the political turf tend to indicate that Jonathan's political future is not guaranteed yet. In fact, his camp seems to be jittery and not in control of the machinery of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as well as the polity. Thus, political permutations do not seem to be in his favour currently. Recently, the National Assembly threw out the proposal Jonathan made for the amendment of the Electoral Act. The president had proposed that the lawmakers approved that a caucus of political parties should pick candidates for elections.

Political watchers had seen this as a desperate move of a man who was not sure he would win the PDP presidential ticket in a national convention, against such aspirants as former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. His proposition was, therefore, seen as an easy way out, believing that with such arrangement, he would be the chosen candidate of PDP.

Former head of state and presidential aspirant, General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) had looked asked the National Assembly to reject Jonathan's proposed amendment, saying he was not competent to lead the country. Speaking through the National Publicity Secretary of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Mr. Dennis Aghanya, the former head of State argued that Jonathan's actions thus far, portray him as someone without the requisite skill to lead the country. He, therefore, urged the Senate to throw out the president's prayers.

According to him, such demand "shows a president that is not in control, and is not capable of leading Nigeria. It shows a president and a party that has no programme for the people. The government of the PDP has shown to Nigerians that its leadership is for personal interests and not for the people."President Jonathan is not fit to rule Nigeria. How can you present an amendment for an electoral body for the nation and insert a self-serving provision. It shows a leadership without planning. Why didn't he include it initially if it is not for personal gain? He acts before he thinks and it is unfortunate he is the president. This is the same way he made hasty and unwarranted comments in the wake of the bomb blasts on the National Day. They don't think ahead and what that tells us is that the government is not organised."

The caucus option proposed by the presidency elicited umbrage from Nigerians who argued that it was anti-democracy. According to Lagos lawyer and public affairs analyst, Mr. Isaac Egbo: " The proposed system is anything but democratic. It is antithetical to democratic principle and the very opposite of President Jonathan's avowed promise to give Nigeria a transparent democratic dispensation."

The fact that the proposal from the presidency was treated with disdain by the lawmakers, most of who are in the same party with Jonathan, shows that his influence over them is nothing to reckon with. In other words, it means that Jonathan is not in control. Saturday Sun investigation also revealed that Jonathan has lost a measure of the goodwill he hitherto enjoyed due to the untidy manner the October 1 twin bomb blasts at Abuja was handled. Many believe that the president jumped into conclusions prematurely by attempting to exonerate the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), which had claimed responsibility for the attack.

In fact, the Abuja explosions were so mismanaged that the presidency and the leader of MEND, Mr. Henry Okah, engaged in war of words like women Okah said: " On Sunday morning, just a day after the attack, a very close associate of president Jonathan called me... that President Goodluck Jonathan wanted me to reach out to the group, MEND, and get them to retract the earlier statement that they issued, claiming responsibility for the attack and that they wanted to blame the attack on the northerners who are trying to fight against his coming back as president and if this was done, I wouldn't be having problems with the South African government. I declined to do this.

"It was based on this belief that I was going to do that, that President Jonathan issued a statement claiming that MEND didn't carry out the attack because they were expecting a kind of retraction from the group. They don't want it to look like Jonathan doesn't have the support of his people; you understand. For years, for months now, they have been lying to everybody that everybody is pleased with Jonathan from the region and he is going to bring peace to the region, which is what he is working towards. So, this attack now is actually going to be a big smear on his aspiration and he just needed the group to retract that statement and which is why I was contacted. But I declined to make such move."

The presidency, however, refuted the allegation in a statement entitled, Okah's Diversionary rhetoric. According to the statement from the presidential spokesman, Ima Niboro, " there is no question that Okah is a drowning man determined to pull others down with him, and there is hardly any purpose to be served by taking up with an accused murderer. Okah is a man who has been known to say one thing and do another, and we are not at all surprised by his diversionary rhetoric."Jonathan further declared that those behind the twin attack during the 50th anniversary celebration that claimed 12 lives and injured many were terrorists domiciled outside the country, vowing to name and shame their sponsors.According to the president, "it is a small terrorist group that resides outside Nigeria and sponsored to carry out the evil act. We are on their trail and we ensure that until they are arrested and brought to book, we will not rest. Government will no longer condone impunity and any culprits, no matter how highly placed or connected, will not go scot-free."

The president added: "We have contacted other members of MEND and they say they know nothing about it. Anybody that hides under the umbrella of MEND to carry out those acts will soon be exposed."Many political watchers contend that Jonathan spoke with undue haste, even as his general conduct remained unpresidential. They argued that it showed that he is jittery and desperate. Worse still, the arrest of the Director General of the IBB campaign organization, Dr Raymond Dokpesi, tended to heat up the polity, even as it was interpreted to mean that was not comfortable with the IBB challenge.

Effervescent reactions trailed the bomb incident and the management of the fallout. In a joint statement, the PDP presidential aspirants of northern extraction berated the president for poor crisis management skill as well as politicising the incident. They also condemned the arrest and interrogation of Dokpesi. The statement said: "It is apparent that the present bellicose posture of the government stems from a desperation, which has already been given eloquent testimony by curious exoneration of MEND as the authors of the bomb blasts by President Jonathan. MEND not only issued a widely circulated warning about the bloody act it wanted to unleash but had gone to accept full responsibility for it."

In the same vein, the Northern Political Forum asked Jonathan to resign over the matter. In a statement by former minister of finance, Mallam Adamu Ciroma, and 14 others, the group said: "Now that the president has proved that he is incapable of leading the nation justly and fairly and that he is desperate enough to want to hang mass murder on the neck of unnamed northerners to achieve his second term, we, as citizens of this country, have totally lost confidence in his leadership and hereby call on him to immediately resign. We state, without any equivocation that, as northerners and citizens of this country, we no longer feel safe and secure under his leadership."

Investigation revealed that owing to the bomb controversy and the perceived attempt to blame northern politicians, Jonathan has lost sympathy in the North, especially in the core North. Sources said that some of those who hitherto supported the president are having a rethink. Even some governors from the North, who had identified with the president are believed to be working against him now, but pretending to be his supporters.Also, the refusal of the IBB campaign train to stop in Kaduna is being used against Jonathan by some northerners, who accuse him of desperately aiming at frustrating other aspirants out of the race. This trait is eroding public confidence and trust on Jonathan.

The same rejection is also growing in the South East, over the abortion of a meeting of eminent Igbo leaders in Owerri. Indeed, the denial of Igbo leaders access to Imo conference venue was blamed on Jonathan, who is being supported by Governor Ikedi Ohakim, who allegedly gave the order stalling the meeting. To show how most South easterners perceive Jonathan now, many Igbo have risen up to condemn Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Igbo apex socio-cultural organization for endorsing the president for 2011. In fact, many accused the president-general of Ohanaeze, Ambassador Ralph Uwechue, who solely signed the advertorial announcing the group's endorsement of Jonathan, as working for the president. Igbo believe that members of Ohanaeze ever met to agree on endorsement of Jonathan, accusing the president's camp of using a few people to misrepresent the South East.

Observers say that the postponement of elections from January 2011 to April 2011 has done a big blow on Jonathan. Sources say that if the president were in control, he would not have allowed for such a long extension. They believe that Jonathan is not a political strategist, for falling for INEC request, as, by so doing, he gave away the advantage he had over other aspirants, particularly those of northern extraction because it gave them time to reach a consensus and generally put their house in order.

Observers contend that if actually INEC needed more time, a month would have been ideal because the commission said it lost three weeks when it waited for funds to be released to it. Therefore, pushing the election to April 2011 was a grand design by those opposed to Jonathan's presidential ambition to sort out things and move decisively against him.Again, Jonathan may have shot himself on the foot by appointing Prof Attahiru Jega as INEC chairman. Considering the INEC chair's antecedents, it is unlikely that he would work for the government, as some of his predecessors did for the government in power.

‘Rejection of caucus option is big blow'Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State may have raised the hopes of supporters of President Goodluck Jonathan when he declared: "The matter of Jonathan/Sambo presidency in 2011 is already settled, both in heaven and on earth." Justifying his position, he said: " I don't play politics with my spiritual life. I only say what the Holy Spirit directs me to say. We pretend too much in this country that we are religious people, but when it comes to saying the truth about the direction God is going, we start plying politics."

Ordinarily, Jang's take on the Jonathan/Sambo presidential aspiration appears politically correct. Indeed, Jonathan should be the man to beat in the race for the Nigerian Presidency in 2011, being the incumbent. In fact, at this point, he ought to be home and dry, dictating the pace of things happening in the political arena. For one, the buck stops at his desk as the sitting president and he has almost limitless resources to pursue his presidential aspiration. Also, he is in a vantage position to influence the opinion of men as well as create a measure of public goodwill through his actions and utterances.

But developments in the political turf tend to indicate that Jonathan's political future is not guaranteed yet. In fact, his camp seems to be jittery and not in control of the machinery of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as well as the polity. Thus, political permutations do not seem to be in his favour currently. Recently, the National Assembly threw out the proposal Jonathan made for the amendment of the Electoral Act. The president had proposed that the lawmakers approved that a caucus of political parties should pick candidates for elections.

Political watchers had seen this as a desperate move of a man who was not sure he would win the PDP presidential ticket in a national convention, against such aspirants as former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. His proposition was, therefore, seen as an easy way out, believing that with such arrangement, he would be the chosen candidate of PDP.

Former head of state and presidential aspirant, General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) had looked asked the National Assembly to reject Jonathan's proposed amendment, saying he was not competent to lead the country. Speaking through the National Publicity Secretary of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Mr. Dennis Aghanya, the former head of State argued that Jonathan's actions thus far, portray him as someone without the requisite skill to lead the country. He, therefore, urged the Senate to throw out the president's prayers.

According to him, such demand "shows a president that is not in control, and is not capable of leading Nigeria. It shows a president and a party that has no programme for the people. The government of the PDP has shown to Nigerians that its leadership is for personal interests and not for the people."President Jonathan is not fit to rule Nigeria. How can you present an amendment for an electoral body for the nation and insert a self-serving provision. It shows a leadership without planning. Why didn't he include it initially if it is not for personal gain? He acts before he thinks and it is unfortunate he is the president. This is the same way he made hasty and unwarranted comments in the wake of the bomb blasts on the National Day. They don't think ahead and what that tells us is that the government is not organised."

The caucus option proposed by the presidency elicited umbrage from Nigerians who argued that it was anti-democracy. According to Lagos lawyer and public affairs analyst, Mr. Isaac Egbo: " The proposed system is anything but democratic. It is antithetical to democratic principle and the very opposite of President Jonathan's avowed promise to give Nigeria a transparent democratic dispensation."

The fact that the proposal from the presidency was treated with disdain by the lawmakers, most of who are in the same party with Jonathan, shows that his influence over them is nothing to reckon with. In other words, it means that Jonathan is not in control. Saturday Sun investigation also revealed that Jonathan has lost a measure of the goodwill he hitherto enjoyed due to the untidy manner the October 1 twin bomb blasts at Abuja was handled. Many believe that the president jumped into conclusions prematurely by attempting to exonerate the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), which had claimed responsibility for the attack.

In fact, the Abuja explosions were so mismanaged that the presidency and the leader of MEND, Mr. Henry Okah, engaged in war of words like women Okah said: " On Sunday morning, just a day after the attack, a very close associate of president Jonathan called me... that President Goodluck Jonathan wanted me to reach out to the group, MEND, and get them to retract the earlier statement that they issued, claiming responsibility for the attack and that they wanted to blame the attack on the northerners who are trying to fight against his coming back as president and if this was done, I wouldn't be having problems with the South African government. I declined to do this.

"It was based on this belief that I was going to do that, that President Jonathan issued a statement claiming that MEND didn't carry out the attack because they were expecting a kind of retraction from the group. They don't want it to look like Jonathan doesn't have the support of his people; you understand. For years, for months now, they have been lying to everybody that everybody is pleased with Jonathan from the region and he is going to bring peace to the region, which is what he is working towards. So, this attack now is actually going to be a big smear on his aspiration and he just needed the group to retract that statement and which is why I was contacted. But I declined to make such move."

The presidency, however, refuted the allegation in a statement entitled, Okah's Diversionary rhetoric. According to the statement from the presidential spokesman, Ima Niboro, " there is no question that Okah is a drowning man determined to pull others down with him, and there is hardly any purpose to be served by taking up with an accused murderer. Okah is a man who has been known to say one thing and do another, and we are not at all surprised by his diversionary rhetoric."Jonathan further declared that those behind the twin attack during the 50th anniversary celebration that claimed 12 lives and injured many were terrorists domiciled outside the country, vowing to name and shame their sponsors.According to the president, "it is a small terrorist group that resides outside Nigeria and sponsored to carry out the evil act. We are on their trail and we ensure that until they are arrested and brought to book, we will not rest. Government will no longer condone impunity and any culprits, no matter how highly placed or connected, will not go scot-free."

The president added: "We have contacted other members of MEND and they say they know nothing about it. Anybody that hides under the umbrella of MEND to carry out those acts will soon be exposed."Many political watchers contend that Jonathan spoke with undue haste, even as his general conduct remained unpresidential. They argued that it showed that he is jittery and desperate. Worse still, the arrest of the Director General of the IBB campaign organization, Dr Raymond Dokpesi, tended to heat up the polity, even as it was interpreted to mean that was not comfortable with the IBB challenge.

Effervescent reactions trailed the bomb incident and the management of the fallout. In a joint statement, the PDP presidential aspirants of northern extraction berated the president for poor crisis management skill as well as politicising the incident. They also condemned the arrest and interrogation of Dokpesi. The statement said: "It is apparent that the present bellicose posture of the government stems from a desperation, which has already been given eloquent testimony by curious exoneration of MEND as the authors of the bomb blasts by President Jonathan. MEND not only issued a widely circulated warning about the bloody act it wanted to unleash but had gone to accept full responsibility for it."

In the same vein, the Northern Political Forum asked Jonathan to resign over the matter. In a statement by former minister of finance, Mallam Adamu Ciroma, and 14 others, the group said: "Now that the president has proved that he is incapable of leading the nation justly and fairly and that he is desperate enough to want to hang mass murder on the neck of unnamed northerners to achieve his second term, we, as citizens of this country, have totally lost confidence in his leadership and hereby call on him to immediately resign. We state, without any equivocation that, as northerners and citizens of this country, we no longer feel safe and secure under his leadership."

Investigation revealed that owing to the bomb controversy and the perceived attempt to blame northern politicians, Jonathan has lost sympathy in the North, especially in the core North. Sources said that some of those who hitherto supported the president are having a rethink. Even some governors from the North, who had identified with the president are believed to be working against him now, but pretending to be his supporters.Also, the refusal of the IBB campaign train to stop in Kaduna is being used against Jonathan by some northerners, who accuse him of desperately aiming at frustrating other aspirants out of the race. This trait is eroding public confidence and trust on Jonathan.

The same rejection is also growing in the South East, over the abortion of a meeting of eminent Igbo leaders in Owerri. Indeed, the denial of Igbo leaders access to Imo conference venue was blamed on Jonathan, who is being supported by Governor Ikedi Ohakim, who allegedly gave the order stalling the meeting. To show how most South easterners perceive Jonathan now, many Igbo have risen up to condemn Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Igbo apex socio-cultural organization for endorsing the president for 2011. In fact, many accused the president-general of Ohanaeze, Ambassador Ralph Uwechue, who solely signed the advertorial announcing the group's endorsement of Jonathan, as working for the president. Igbo believe that members of Ohanaeze ever met to agree on endorsement of Jonathan, accusing the president's camp of using a few people to misrepresent the South East.

Observers say that the postponement of elections from January 2011 to April 2011 has done a big blow on Jonathan. Sources say that if the president were in control, he would not have allowed for such a long extension. They believe that Jonathan is not a political strategist, for falling for INEC request, as, by so doing, he gave away the advantage he had over other aspirants, particularly those of northern extraction because it gave them time to reach a consensus and generally put their house in order.

Observers contend that if actually INEC needed more time, a month would have been ideal because the commission said it lost three weeks when it waited for funds to be released to it. Therefore, pushing the election to April 2011 was a grand design by those opposed to Jonathan's presidential ambition to sort out things and move decisively against him.Again, Jonathan may have shot himself on the foot by appointing Prof Attahiru Jega as INEC chairman. Considering the INEC chair's antecedents, it is unlikely that he would work for the government, as some of his predecessors did for the government in power.

 

 

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