- Category: Politics
- Published on Thursday, 26 August 2010 06:40
- Written by Niyi Oyebode/Punch
- Hits: 1633
His name alone could not have fetched him his academic laurel (a doctoral degree). At a time when examination malpractice was a rarity, it must have been a fruit of hard work. Those who named their children Goodluck after May 6, 2010, forgot in a hurry that there were touts that are Jonathan‘s name sake. Events of the last two months must have taught the son of canoe makers that if luck had taken him this far, he needs more than fate as he opens a new chapter of his life.
For a man, who until 2006 , was a deputy governor, September 2010 will definitely be a decisive month as he unfolds his political ambition. So far, he has wormed himself to the hearts of Nigerians with his patience, responsiveness and perseverance in the face of persecution. But in the next few months, he needs more than these and luck to remain in the good book of Nigerians. So far, the coast seems clear for him to contest the presidential poll in 2010 as his army of supporters keeps growing every day.
But if Jonathan was convinced that there were no obstacles on his way, he must have been jolted on August 17, 2010 when an international news agency, Reuters, reported that the he had decided not to run for the 2011 presidential poll. Before the report was denied, initial reactions of many was that the President chickened out of the race and opted for his calling as a teacher for fear of old politicians, who have mastered the murky politics of Nigeria.
For a man that hails from the Niger Delta, a region that harbours the wealth of the country, but has never produced any of its presidents, he would have incurred the wrath of his kinsmen, who believe that his emergence will address their years of neglect.
Already the President has been told in a very plain language that he has no option but to run for the Presidency. Many Niger Deltans feel that the only path of honour for the President is 2011 presidency. A Senator representing Rivers State, Lea Meaba, said, ”If he refuses to contest, he should not come back home. He should look for a place in Abuja and live there because there will be no place for him in Bayelsa and there will no place for him in Rivers.”
Reuters had reported that although the Peoples Democratic Party had given the President the go-ahead to contest in spite of its zoning arrangement, the party permitted Jonathan to run because it did not want to offend him.
”He is a man that always ensures equity, fair play, so he may allow the North to have the remaining four year-term, if that will ensure peace and stability,” Reuters quoted a Presidency source as saying.
But from all indications, the President will run for the presidential poll. That he has not declared should not be a surprise. In a media chat on June 20, 2010, he said that he would decide whether or not he would run after the Independent National Electoral Commission had released the timetable for the poll.
He had said, ”It is better to wait for INEC to announce its timetable and guidelines. If I were to contest, I would declare my ambition close to my party‘s (PDP) primaries after INEC must have announced its guidelines.”
Although INEC is yet to release its timetable, Jonathan’s opponents seem to be cashing in on the President‘s silence on his ambition to score cheap political goals. Jonathan‘s aides must have read between the lines when they alleged that Reuters‘ report was the handiwork of interested parties.
Jonathan‘s spokesman, Ima Niboro, had said, ”Information at our disposal indicates that this is a story sponsored by interested parties. Unfortunately, the highly rated global news agency was misled into publishing it.
”The truth of the matter is that the President has not said he will not run. Neither has he said he will. At different times, he has given clear reasons why he considers it premature, in the interest of governance, to make any commitment both ways.
”At the appropriate time, the President will inform his country men and women of his future plans. Until then, every comment on the subject remains a mere speculation.”
While Niboro did not give a definite answer, the President‘s Special Adviser on National Assembly Matters, Senator Mohammed Abba-Aji, did not mince words when he said that Jonathan would announce his interest ”anytime from now.”
Describing the report as the handiwork of ”detractors” Abba-Aji said the President would declare his interest in the Presidency after signing the 2010 Electoral Bill.
Whoever believes that Jonathan will not run must be deceiving himself or herself. Just last week, there were reports that the Presidency had directed over 1,000 groups supporting the President‘s ambition to merge for better coordination.
At the last count, Jonathan is enjoying the support of more PDP states than his opponents in the party. The states that the President has been assured of support include Plateau, Benue, Adamawa; Kaduna and South-South states.
While the President‘s 2011 ambition is not bumpy, his opponents‘ presidential voyage seems to be in troubled waters. For example, Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has been told by the PDP that he cannot contest on its platform. The PDP has waived its requirement for Abia State Governor Theodore Orji. The requirement forbids members, who rejoin the party from contesting elective posts for a year. But it asked Atiku to go back to his state, Adamawa, and clear the cloud over his membership.
Atiku, who formally declared his presidential ambition on August 15, has been undeterred. On August 16, he said that he had applied for the waiver. The optimist in him said, ”I have filed for a waiver and I would want to know how I would be denied the waiver. I don‘t know how the PDP will get out of this. But if they try to get out of it, then the court will decide.”
While the former Vice-President said he had returned to the PDP, the Governor of his state, Muritata Nyako, disowned him. Nyako said Atiku had not met necessary requirements for readmission to the PDP.
The governor did not hide his disdain for Atiku when he said, ”If he (Abubakar) is coming back with a nuisance value, he is not welcome.”
Also, former military president Ibrahim Babangida, is being haunted by the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election. Every move by the evil genius to paint himself a saint has failed.
Just last week, the Afenifere Renewal Group, told Babangida that he would meet his Waterloo in the South-West. The group, in a statement by its spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, said, ”Contrary to the false impression the political renegades of Yorubaland are giving him (IBB), the South-West geo-political zone is going to be IBB‘s political Waterloo in 2011.”
Feelers from the PDP governors‘ meeting in Abuja on Tuesday showed that most of them were in support of Jonathan. This was confirmed by Abba-Aji as the President was said to have told the governors his intention to declare for the presidency
With his main opponents drowning politically, it seems the coast is clear for the President to clinch the presidential ticket of the PDP.