Jonathan v Obasanjo: Who Kisses The Dust First? By Tony Icheku

The intrigues to emerge victorious 2015 are being hatched by politicians and their paid hirelings. And even before former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s interview on CNN, President Goodluck Jonathan had been severely bashed at home by a former Inspector-General of Police, and former Adviser, NSA,  Mohammed Gambo-Jimeta, who expressed  fears the country could be heading for a sudden collapse due to bad governance.

Gambo-Jimeta,  decried  growing insecurity and poverty the country, lamenting that successive governments had failed to lay a solid foundation for national development.

According to him: “The security situation Nigeria, recent times, has been a source of great concern to all patriotic citizens and to the international friends of Nigeria. The security challenges posed by the oil politics resonated with militancy the Niger Delta, the rampant kidnapping in South-East, communal, ethnic and religious crises prominent in the North; and the current terror crimes exemplified by the Boko insurgency, combined to inform the urgent need for a summit of this nature.

“Things are going wrong, poverty is everywhere. When you travel from Lagos to Kano, people are living in poor conditions: no water no security. Criminals are well armed, government functionaries are well guarded while ordinary Nigerians are left to the mercies of criminals.

“There is a disconnect between the people and the government. Strangulation of the aspiration of the people will result into a big implosion.

However, it appears that handlers of President Jonathan fear that   former President  Obasanjo has the capacity to  deliver the killer punch that may knock  President Goodluck Jonathan out for good.

Should that be the case, then the prelude to that punch is Obasanjo’s interview to the CNN where he verbally jabbed and punched Jonathan mercilessly for failing to tackle the Boko menace

Politically,  former president’s influence within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, need not be taken for granted. It played out in the stalemated meeting of the party where the party’s  Chairman, Board of Trustees, BoT, would have emerged. Obasanjo alleged pulled strings to ensure that his loyalist, Col Ahmadu Ali, (retired) emerged winner or no one else.

Obasanjo vehemently opposed to Jonathan’s choice, Chief Tony Anenih.

Obasanjo’s long held  grouse with Anenih  climaxed on  June, 2007 at the Kano Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, where Anenih unceremoniously sacked as chairman, of the BoT.

Therefore, though Obasanjo   absent at the meeting in the Presidential Villa, he plotted  to ensure that his candidate, Ali, emerges. But the election ended inconclusively.

The battle for selection of the  next Chairman of BoT is not unconnected with the 2015 Presidential election against the backdrop that whoever chairs the BoT will play a major role when the comes for the emergence of a presidential candidate for the PDP.

From this premise, Obasanjo’s premeditated jabs at Jonathan seem like a long term battle. But it appears Jonathan’s  media handlers were as usual caught napping on the job by the latest Obasanjo gimmick. If the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati had read his stars right or consulted the star-gazers, he would have seen that punch coming.

Late last year, Asari-Dokubo had said he was ready to assist Jonathan win again 2015, but warned that the President  was not very focused, and that the North could use the advantage of his inadequacies to defeat him.

“I am ready and willing to help him in 2015 but there is something wrong with him (Jonathan), he has been hijacked by some people and he is not doing anything to remove them, Jonathan is not on course at all. Jonathan is destroying his presidency”.

Rather than engage Alhaji Mujahideen Asari-Dokubo, the Leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, NDPVF, in witty exchanges, Abati (should) have gone down history lane to understand the relationship between Asari-Dokubo, Obasanjo and Jonathan. But he did not.

Asari-Dokubo’s statement above was made when he went to the rooftops to cry that Obasanjo is fighting Jonathan. Abati reacted  to his allegations from superficial knowledge.

Asari-Dokubo had at a press conference asserted that  “Everybody knows that there is a quarrel. Has Obasanjo not been criticising Jonathan openly?

“Has Obasanjo not said that he was not prepared to keep quiet if things are wrong? Do you need to be told that there is a rift when Obasanjo, who took his position as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, BoT, of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as between life and death suddenly gave up the job just like that?”

“Was it not reported that Obasanjo has threatened that Jonathan would not be president in 2015 and that he (Obasanjo) vowed to continue to criticise him (Jonathan)?”

From this quote, Abati had a shopping list. But rather than  go seeking knowledge, he reportedly dismissed Asari-Dokubo’s  declaration as “a load of crap,” contending that the Ijaw leader spoke   from a skewed reasoning that is antithetical to the prevailing dispositions of many Nigerians, the present administration and the president.

Asari-Dokubo may not be  about to pull down Jonathan’s administration. But Obasanjo is definitely plotting that game , even if he fails, he hopes to  damage the Jonathan presidency substantially and  hurt Jonathan politically.

At face value, Asari-Dokubo’s was sending strong message to Jonathan which they failed to decode.

The Ijaw leader had  claimed  he has no love lost for Obasanjo:  ‘’I don’t like Obasanjo, I don’t like his face, I hate him, but he was instrumental in bringing Jonathan to power. And the greedy people around Jonathan have not managed him well enough to prevent an open clash between him and Obasanjo.

‘ ‘what has Jonathan’s government achieved to show that it is a departure from other governments that have existed since 1956?’ For us, nothing has changed.  So, what is the advice that Obasanjo gave to Jonathan that is so difficult for him to fulfil, that made him to decide to fall out with the former president?’’

Down history lane, Asari-Dokubo once declared that ‘’General Obasanjo does not even deserve respect for the dubious constitution of the Nigerian State. He dips his at will into the federation and takes whatever monies and amounts without recourse to fiscal policies. The judiciary is comatose. Labor action has been destroyed. Student unionism is dead. Progressive organizations compromised. Religious leaders have turned charlatans. Obasanjo’s government is governance by blackmail.’’

Nonetheless, it appears that Asari-Dokubo has faith in Obasanjo’s ability to deliver Jonathan in 2015, thus he urged  Jonathan to reconcile with  Obasanjo.

He however added a caveat:  To regain confidence of Nigerians, Jonathan should urgently deliver on his electioneering promises; And  to do away with self seeking and selfish aides around him.

The former militant leader described the former BoT Chairman of PDP, Chief  Anenih as “a liability to the Presidency,” saying it was unfortunate that Jonathan continued to associate with Anenih despite his “credibility baggage.”

Even as Jonathan is yet to recover from two successive killer punched, a bigger embarrassment has emerged with a court judgment .which sacked the party’s national secretary, Olagunsoye Oyinlola last Friday.

Still ahead 2015, Obasanjo is said to have tapped Gov. Sule Lamido of state and Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers state for the 2015 presidential election.

Obasanjo CNN outburst is not his worse bashing of Jonathan, In November last year, in Warri, at an event marking the fortieth year calling to Christ of  CAN President Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, whe here he described the Jonathan  for his  government’s lukewarm approach to the Boko crisis and the pervading insecurity in the country that could have been effectively tackled if decisive action had been taken by the Jonathan administration. This was interpreted that he is recommending the Odi treatment for Boko

However, Jonathan  in a televised media chat as he reacting  to Obasanjo’s prescription, described  the invasion and decimation  of Odi as futile as it only resulted in bloodshed and lose of innocent lives. .

From this point, it would appear that the battle line is drawn between the duo

From his many political battles, while as President, Obasanjo sacked party leaders, state governors and Presidents of the Senate at will, and only the likes of Atiku Abubakar his former and   former Speaker of House of Representative, Umar Ghali  Na’Abba withstood him to the end, but not without lasting political bruises, perhaps, Jonathan and Abati should ask for survival lessons from them .

Tony Icheku,journalist, writer, blogger

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