By Emmanuel Edukugho
Whether President Goodluck Jonathan will run or not looks like an open-ended question. Who becomes the next occupant of Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja in 2015 is generating weird calculations among political power mongers when the incumbent has stayed barely one year out of four.
Politicians think of the next election after being elected, even before thinking of what can be achievable in terms of economic development and well being of the people within the constitutional limit of their tenure. Jonathan may not be different. In most cases, priorities are misplaced and good governance compromised, in a country that has become a by-word for corruption and wanton looting of public funds.
Security challenges manifest in serial, unceasing, brutal, deadly terror attacks by rampaging terrorists threatening the unity of the country.Coming on the crest of popular support from the Nigerian electorate that thought power can shift this time around to the South/South which had been crying about being marginalised since independence in 1960 in the central power game, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, an Ijaw, was voted president in April 2011. His election was adjudged as free and fair by domestic and international observers and later upheld by the Supreme Court.
His rise to the presidency was meteoric. The journey began in Bayelsa State as Deputy Governor, and later Governor when the substantive holder was removed after conviction for corrupt enrichment.
Jonathan was picked as running mate of Alhaji Umaru Shehu Yar’Adua in 2007 and the ticket won the presidential election. Even the ailing Umaru Yar’Adua was not the favourite choice of the northern political oligarchy but the out-going President Olusegun Obasanjo preferred him as his successor at any cost. It was speculated by political observers that Obasanjo had in mind a South/South or Ijaw presidency to pacify the restive region which produced the oil wealth upon which the country depends economically.
So by pairing Jonathan with a visibly sick Yar’Adua whose days on earth could be counted and the clock ticking towards his apparent demise, it was believed that the Otuoke, Ogbia LGA, Bayelsa State born politician would eventually become the president.
Obasanjo ran and won a second term as president. He was first elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in April 1999 for a 4-year term and re-eleceted in 2003 which expired on April 29, 2007. When his unconstitutional bid for a third term was aborted by popular will, Obasanjo descended heavily upon his Vice President, Abubakar Atiku, for having the courage to say that he (Obasanjo) had vowed not to run for a third term.
So eliminating through clandestine reasons all other formidable contenders who could succeed him, he single-handedly bulldozed the ticket of Yar’Adua/Jonathan in 2007. As many people feared, Yar’Adua’s illness worsened and he later died in Saudi Arabia, paving the way absolutely for a Jonathan presidency in 2010 in acting capacity. The doctrine of necessity was invoked by the Senate to confirm Jonathan, amidst grave uncertainty. From acting president, he became substansive president at the demise of Yar’Adua.
Then came the 2011 presidential election. The PDP zoning arrangement was altered in favour of Jonathan, introducing a woeful internal democracy process, ladened with corrupt practice, manipulation, vote-buying, arm-twisting, intrigues and political horse-trading.
Jonathan’s lethargy to act promptly on crucial issues affecting the people, especially fuel subsidy, Boko Haram, corruption involving political office holders, unwarranted tenure elongation, insecurity, growing unemployment, dilapidated infrastructure, poor power supply, bad roads, declining education system, weak and bad governance had all combined to cast aspersion on his presidency just barely one year after his election. His main opponent, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), just short of calling for armed revolt, reminded Nigerians that the Arab Spring style, especially the Egyptian-type revolution is possible in the country. Making the country ungovernable for the elected president had been threatened by the opposition.
Curiously, President Jonathan and his ruling circle seemed not to be raising any serious eye brow. Reckless bombings, killings, murder, destruction of properties and human lives have over-awed the regime, occurring virtually on daily basis with no end to the anarchy, particularly in the north. Churches are being bombed intermittently, with high casualty figures. Police stations, public offices, security formations, markets, banks and schools were attacked recklessly. Thousands have been killed so far. In the face of these calamities, politicians are already focusing on 2015, who will or will not run while there was still fire on the mountain.
President Goodluck Jonathan, the man at the eye of the storm, may still be nursing the ambition of running in 2015.
Even when he had told the nation when assuming office that he is not going for more than a 4-year tenure, it is doubtful that he still stands by that declaration. The PDP is preparing to draft him into the race.
Is he trying to make a u-turn? The President has said he is yet to announce anywhere that he would contest the presidency in 2015, pointing out that, he is still serving his first term in office.
This is in response to a suit filed in an Abuja High Court asking it to disqualify him from contesting the 2015 presidential election.
Jonathan recalled that on May 6, 2010, he was sworn-in as the President after the demise of late President Yar’Adua and so completed the 12 months of Yar’Adua’s four years tenure.
He said that he is currently doing his first term of four years in office as President of Nigeria, provided by the 1999 Constitution as amended, adding that the constitution only makes provisions for a president to contest for not more than two terms of four years each.
The PDP is believed to be throwing his weight behind President Jonathan’s right to contest in 2015 as the constitution provides for a second term. Indications are pointing to the obvious reality that President Jonathan with the backing of the ruling political elite of the PDP and the 1999 Constitution providing for two terms, is not likely to stay away from the 2015 presidential vote.
To many people, feeling betrayed so early in the Jonathan presidency due to promises made at the electioneering and build-up to the 2011 voting without any sign of being fulfilled, it would be an uphill task to successfully face the electorate in 2015, if things still remain stagnant.
It won’t be business as usual in 2015 as the electorate is becoming conscious of the exclusionary tactics, unbridled imposition of candidates, intimidation, lack of transparency and undemocratic culture that throw up people seeking political office who don’t serve the populace but accumulate ill-gotten wealth using their party platform.
Unless the Jonathan administration can find lasting solutions to the spate of bombings and effectively contain the fury and outrage of northern Islamic fundamentalists, politically inspired violence, insecurity, high profile corruption and looting; social injustice, youth unemployment, unccountability, fiscal indiscipline, poverty, and stem the forces of disintegration, the coast won’t be cleared enough for him to run in 2015.
Nigerians can’t be taken for a ride any longer. By 2015, the people would have seen the benefits accrued, development initiatives accomplished, number of roads constructed across the country, employment enhanced, housing, water, electricity, health and education qualitatively driven. Ethnicity and religion must be considerably downplayed. It is only then that considering Jonathan for another running will become a fait accompli.
Click below to read more on this issue
Jonathan should keep to his one term promise – Raph
2015: Jonathan has the right to run again – Gowon, Umar, others
He has no grip on the polity — Ade Oye
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