What if Jonathan Doesn’t Run?By Danlami Nmodu


DanlamiWe have all been to believe that President Goodluck Jonathan has joined the ranks of over ambitious politicians who place their personal interests above the nation.No one seems to have any doubt that Jonathan is putting his structures in place towards 2105.Even his fangled national dialogue, we are told may be borne out of his attempt to outsmart his opponents a yet to defined dark alley that may give the president an advantage in 2015.
Prior to the last special convention, it was his critics that fed us with this picture of reality. The defunct ACN and CPC were equally vociferous in this regard. Of course the critical wing of the media were all part of this patriotic campaign aimed at waking up the people against perceived tyranny. Now, this regular exposition of Jonathan’s plot has been masterfully inherited by the APC which has an indefatigable spokesman in Lai Mohammed.No right thinking patriot will fault him,politics aside.And every step by Jonathan seems to indicate that there is an ulterior motive.
It was easy top also dismiss all this as part of campaign by the North and its plot for power.Having failed to stop Jonathan in 2011,The North as revved up its campaign for the presidency ahead of 2015.Trouble so far is that the gladiators from the region are too numerous for anyone to have a clear hint of who will be Jonathan’s main opponent now.Neverthe less, they are all united in the plot to ensure he does not seek reelection.
Don’t forget too even the South East wants to produce the next president .And despite the antics of Peter Obi and co who give the impression that their people are happy with Jonathan, the voices of people like Orji Uzor Kalu among other who have insisted also that the south east it must produce the president have also added to the pressure on the PDP,sorry,Jonathan .So it became clear that something was going to happen to the party as northern elements and a section of the south east have all become suspicious of the Jonathan ambition.
Then the unexpected happened, all of a sudden:PDP split two in broad daylight. Yes, all of a sudden because PDP had told us they want to rule over us for at least the next 60 or so years.The split was truly like bolt out of the blue.Not quite 15 years the 60 year race, the party has a faction called the People led by renowned ‘fighters’like Atiku Abubakar and the now famous G7 rebel governors comprising Sule Lamido, Rabiu Kwankwaso Babangida Aliyu,Abdulfatah Ahmed,Rotimi ,Murtala Nyako and Magatakarda Wamakko.These men were joined by Bukola Saraki,Kawu Baraje(the PDP chairman) and Olagunsoye Oyinlola among others.Things appear so bad now that the fate of PDP in the next elections largely depends on what these men do.If they decide not to return to the fold,insiders said a mortal blow be dealt to the electability of PDP.Let’s wait and see!
And the split even threatened to get worse as it appeared as if the other half within: the Bamanga Tukur led faction became rattled and seemingly riven by distrust after Tony Anenih (the BoT chairman) honestly, yes, honestly said the rebels’ cause seemed justifiable. Of course they have seemingly papered over that further crack.But the party is struggling.And Nyako has threatened to help bury the party if reconciliation efforts fail.Uneasy days ahead in deed!
Yet all these and many more twists, we have been told are happening because of the suspicion or feeling that Jonathan will run.Shockingly, this over ambitious man himself has refused to open up.He will not openly tell anyone he will run he has repeatedly said.
Because I believe Jonathan will run,I was jolted some three months ago when one of those you may call an insider claimed that there was deep uncertainty in some circles about what the president do.He cited one example of a meeting of those very close to the president.My source claimed that Jonathan was also at this meeting .As the meeting progressed, people were reeling our scenarios.But at some point Jonathan shocked everybody when he unexpectedly asked those at the meeting:’What if I don’t run?’My source claimed that those at the meeting were so shocked that there was pin drop silence.The guess here is that those close to the president believe he will run,nobody is prepared to think he may not join the race.But what if he doesn’t?In reality, I think the pro-Jonathan campaigners have gone too far for anyone to truly think he will not run.
If he doesn’t run:What are the alternative scenarios?Will he pick a successor from the north ?Who could that be?It is unlikely he will chose a rebel.May be those who have been backing him will be rewarded .Will Sambo be a beneficiary?Will he support Sambo?He ordinarily have been the caliph(successor) but recall there have been stories about Governors Ibrahim Shema(Katsina) and Isa Yuguda(Bauchi) wanting to dethrone Sambo.Even lately there were rumours of Lamido and Kwankwaso also eyeing the vp’s seat,a report the rebels have dismissed as untrue.
But let’s face it ,if Jonathan doesn’t run is APC well organized to give Nigeria the much desired leap forward? My sense is that APC may be able to do something but the emergence of PDP has rather left the political space a little convoluted.Will the real leader among them(APC + PDP) rise up for Nigerians to see?
I have the feeling ,that as for the opposition parties,if Jonathan doesn’t run, the old warfare between the whole PDP and the opposition parties will be reignited .And we are likely to be told that whether old or new,PDP is PDP.But as the rebellion within PDP gathered momentum have you noticed that all of a sudden, a section of PDP is now viewed as a credible political wing that even the opposition seemed willing to relate with.Suddenly, the devil in PDP has given birth a to seeming angel.Political squabbles can lead to a strange transformation of the devil.This Nigerian politics,self!
Having delayed his decision thus far,if Jonathan finally decides to run, it will be a strategic blunder.As a president, the number one quality anyone expect from him is the courage to open up as swiftly as possible.His decision to delay an open announcement of his interest in the race has given room for his opponents to paint him as truly blinded by his ambition.His dribbling runs have not been quite Maradonic .The delay has given room for the opposition in his party to wax stronger.Why did he do this when he could have much earlier declared his interest in order to rally his supporters.Indecision is not a virtue in politics.
If Jonathan decides to run in 2015, the Bamanga Tukur faction of the PDP which is likely to be his platform is likely to be a weakened party.There is no genuine attempt at reconciliation within the party.As things stand now, the opposition and the New PDP are likely to come out stronger.Of course, the only option for Jonathan will be to rely on the apparatus of state like the Police and army and other security agencies.But he should not venture that at all because, this is a age where secrecy his dead and what ever he does will come to light sooner than later.
But there would have been no need to come to this pass if the president had thought strategically and given fillip to his ambition by openly declaring it and playing real politics of wooing friends and foes instead of trying to browbeat people into submission as his agents have been trying to do so far without success.We hear that there is clandestine mobilization along all Nigerian cleavages.But why would a sitting president choose to mobilize his people purely on ethnic and religious and other divisive lines.It beats me.
As things stands, if Jonathan doesn’t run,there is no clear sign that the rebels and opposition have the real master plan to defeat hi yet and truly transform Nigeria.Or may be we are not seeing the opposition plan because we are not politicians.Equally,if the president chooses to run,it appears his indecision,or delayed decision may have created an incubus that he will be battling against at the next election.
Don’t Forget ,there is now the X-Factor:another strange introduction by Jonathan which is the national conference.Will it be the political albatross that will bury Jonathan’s ambition.Will it pave for his reelection or kill it.Only time will tell.
..Article also published in The Union Newspaper

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