Written by Donald Ojogo:
The seeming test of wits between the Acting President, Goodluck Jonathan and members of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s kitchen cabinet led by the First Lady, Turai, has more to
do with the latter’s perception that Jonathan is weak, lacking a strong political base and sagacity, Sunday Tribune investigation has revealed.
Some prominent politicians from the South-South zone who spoke with Sunday Tribune have challenged Jonathan to look more inwards for support and look for means of asserting his authority rather than allowing the current political situation to continue.
They include a former governor, three senators and a retired army general of South-South origin on Friday.
They spoke just as the main militant group in the Niger Delta region, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has refrained from making comments since the health position of the president culminated in the constitutional crisis because it was watching events.
“MEND has refused to make any comment on the political situation in the country because we are still watching events as they unfold;we will act at the appropriate time, and we do not believe the life of Goodluck Jonathan is in any danger”, MEND spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo said in an on-line response to our correspondent’s enquiry.
All the same, repentant General Commander of MEND in the region, High Chief Government Ekpomupolo(Tompolo) and other ex-freedom fighters in the region are expected to meet at Oproza today to take position on the lingering political crisis in the country.
Secretary of the Federal Government’s Peace, Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation Committee, Hon Kingsley Kuku confirmed that the meeting, the first since the political debacle,will hold under the auspicies of the Ijaw Youths Leadership Forum(IYLF).
But according to the former governor who was touted as a running mate to Yar’adua prior to the emergence of Jonathan in 2007, the power game in the presidency is purely a ‘game of survival by a group’. He nonetheless, decried the disrespect the kitchen cabinet has for Jonathan.
“People are just watching the power game that is on in the presidency, but it is not in the interest of this country, nor is it in the interest of democracy. I have said all I wanted to say on the issue. Those who call themselves kitchen cabinet or whatever you people in the media call them. Are not fighting for Yar’Adua, they are merely fighting for their pockets; it is a game of survival by the group.
‘But then, no one makes such political moves against a man in authority if he is assertive, they see him as not being assertive and believe no one, apart from his kinsmen led by the repected Elder Edwin Clark, can put his chest out for Jonathan.
“But how far can that old man go when it comes to real politicking and the Nigerian method, of course.
The three senators were unanimous that the acting president should shun sychopants and form broad-based national outlook.
While agreeing that the current situation was capable of igniting crisis in the country, they contended that Jonathan has a challenge, and that is to ensure political cohesion in the region.
“We did what we did not because of Jonathan as a person, but in the interest of democracy, so that the nation could move ahead; but the truth remains that he has been given power, how he uses the power is another ball game entirely; so instead of allowing praise singers to continue to posture as would-be beneficiaries of his position, he should ensure that he puts his house in order first; he has to start from his base.
“In my view, this so-called kitchen cabinet has no respect for him, may be because they feel he lacks political sagacity with reports that he is enstranged from some people in the region, but I feel strongly that this is not the time to allow people position themselves as future governors, senators, etc because Jonathan is now there; once he allows that, he will be going to the political war front with a depleted force”, the senator, who played a key role in the National Assembly’s proclamation said on telephone.
But to a former military intelligence chief, last Wednesday’s drama was a test of Jonathan’s authority.
“As far as I am concerned, as an intelligence expert, Jonathan was beaten to the game; it tells a lot about the acceptability or otherwise of the man in the security and intelligence circles. What happened on Wednesady is a very dangerous signal for Jonathan that he has to put his house in order because if he did not know how troops were moved out from their formations to the airport, it means a lot of things have to be done by the man to assert himself; it means he has no infiltrators in the ranks of the cabal even as the chief security officer of the country.
“I can tell you that with their success in bringing the president in without Jonathan’s knowledge, there are bound to be other surprise moves as well as options they might want to explore to undermine him.
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