Yes, A President We Can’t Trust,By Ali M Ali



President-Goodluck-jonathan 600This is a repeated column published more than two years ago.In the build up to the 2011 election, the President, Goodluck Jonathan behaved exactly the way he does now. It was published in Leadership early 2011 just before the election.
Yes, A President We Can’t Trust,By Ali M Ali
Last week, I had a dream. This week I am living a nightmare. President Goodluck Jonathan has finally confirmed what we all know-he is running for president. Unless there is drama, it is as certain as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west, that President Jonathan is tired of waiting for good luck to steer his affairs. It seems he is dissatisfied with ‘good luck’ alone.
‘Mother luck’ has brought him this far politically. Now he has come of age. He doesn’t need her. He is the president. Not just that. He is a sitting president. He is running. Yes. Good luck is for aspiring presidential wannabes. This one is here already. That bears stressing.
Like my kid will say each time he kicked the house rule ‘I am a big boy dad, I don’t need rules’. I dare to say our president is a ‘big boy’. He doesn’t need good luck. Good fortune comes in the shape of ‘zoning’. But he and his fawning crowd are averse to it. It is anachronistic. It is old fashioned. Outdated (not outlawed…note that)
Now he is going to try his luck on Nigeria’s kalo-kalo politics. He is taking charge. Confirming what all Nigerians old enough to know the difference between men and mice, the president is billed to declare by the end of this week. Already coordinators of his vaulting ambition have been named.
In each of the six geo-political zones, a sitting governor with enough local political excess baggage to crash a cargo plane is coordinating. With their second term ambition threatened, some of the governors need federal might to return to office. Without that and with immunity gone, they are more than likely to head straight to jail. Most of our governors are corrupt. Some of them are thieves.
Nigeria’s current High Commissioner, old man Dalhatu Sarki Tafida is listed as the Director-General of the Jonathan-I almost forgot-Sambo campaign organisation. And of course, there is a motley crowd of jostling ‘Jonathan Support Group’ led by Sama’ila Saidu Sambawa. Jonathan has the right to ‘run’. It is legitimate. There is nothing illegal about that. The constitution guarantees that.
The Nigerian rule book says all Nigerians of free born, provided they are qualified, can vie for any elective post. It also says that to run for office, a candidate must, of necessity, be sponsored by a political party. It provided not for an independent candidate. In simple terms, a qualified Nigerian can only ‘run’ for office on a party platform.
President Jonathan is a party man. Without the party and to a lesser extent, zoning, he is more than likely would have remained an obscure fella known only by his students. He is the president now with a Ph.D strutting around the world in presidential jets. That is a record. It is also a record that he is the first to occupy the exalted office without being ‘truly’ elected. He was not ‘directly’ voted. He assumed office as Commander-in-Chief by the grace of a dead president. Zoning brought him to office as Vice President not his Ph.D
The president often mouths ‘rule of law’ and ‘credible election’. It was in furtherance of these, he forced Ogbulafor out of office as chairman of his party, the PDP. Ogbulafor was axed on account of a resurrected crime of corruption committed ten years ago. He also appointed Professor Jega INEC chair. We lauded Jega’s appointment. We booed Ogbulafor’s successor, Nwodo.
Jega has a cast iron reputation of virtue. I know this. He was my teacher. He lives what he preaches. Nwodo has a similar case with Ogbulafor but a dissimilar stand on zoning. Ogbulafor was categorical-he said zoning remains. Nwodo said exactly what he was brought to do-that it was irrelevant now!
Zoning is a serious matter in the PDP. It is second only to contempt for internal democracy. To underscore this, governors elected on her platform from the north toed Ogbulafor’s line. To save their skins from the hound that is EFCC, they added an escape route. The president can run, they collectively chorused, but zoning remains. This was in June. Fast forward to early August. The Expanded Caucus of the PDP, met in Abuja. It too, sang a similar song. Jonathan may wish to try his good luck as guaranteed by the Constitution but zoning remains. It was a clever way to tell the president that no vacancy exists in the party to accommodate his quest until 2015.He can run but not in PDP.
Adamu Ciroma was ‘blunter’. He didn’t shy away. He didn’t beat about the bush. He was direct. He told LEADERSHIP not too long ago that ‘Jonathan Cant run on PDP’S platform until 2015’.But the president is not reading the hand writing on the wall. He is blinded by his ambition. He says he believes in the ‘rule of law’ but his actions clearly betray that ideal. His unwavering determination to run against party rule and ultimately against the constitution, knocks off the moral high ground of a respecter of ‘rule of law’. He can still redeem his battered image though. He could do either of the two-eat humble pie and conduct a free and fair election and handover to a handpicked successor. Secondly, dump PDP and run on another platform. In both he loses. His reputation is, for now, tainted because clearly he is a president we can’t trust. A man who will subvert his party rules willfully will do anything to remain in power. Fellow countrymen and women, we are saddled with an incipient Richard Nixon. We can’t buy a used car from this president. He can’t be trusted. With Obasanjo, we know where we stood. With Jonathan, God help all of us. Chasing this president out of power through the ballot is an onerous task. It is akin to chasing the colonial master out of Nigeria and the military junta out of office. It is a collective task in which we can’t afford to fail as Nigerians.

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