BY: Barrister Franklin Otorofani
“In this responsibility of consolidating and deepening our democracy, we are committed to ensuring that the remaining period of the administration is not a transitional period but one which, we hope, will one day be viewed as a watershed, a transformational time in our young democracy. For us in Nigeria, this is our time. Either we continue with more of the same or we change the game.”— Then Acting President Goodluck Jonathan, in an address to the US Council of Foreign Relations
Note to the Reader
In order to enable the reader easily navigate the materials presented herein as well as properly comprehend the infinite complexities of the issues addressed herein, this article has been segmented into five unequal parts, namely: Behold! The Chosen One! PDP Zoning Conundrum; Inauguration and the Hidden Bumps; Agency Relationship, and; Conclusions. Cumulatively, they run into several pages.
Due to the quantum of materials presented in this work, however, each segment has been configured as self-contained mini article although linked together overall, allowing the reader to skip any segment and go straight to the one that is of interest to him/her at a time. Should the reader decide to take it all in at a time, however, I should advise that this is not a hit and run (guerilla) journalism, but a full plate of materials that demand investments in time, intellectual and perhaps spiritual resources as well to fully comprehend. This series has been carefully and painstakingly put together to enlighten and to educate. It should not be read in a hurry.
I’m, therefore, soliciting the readers’ time because walking his way through this pathway may not have the feel and ease of a walk in the park. That said, whoever is unwilling to invest the resources indicated above is seriously advised to proceed no further and take his leave here. For those with those investible resources and staying power, however, it is my hope that their investments will be richly rewarded as they cut through in this presentation the thicket of Nigeria’s public life in its immediate past into the present and transiting into the future under the budding Jonathan presidency. Bon voyage!
Behold! The Chosen One!
In a world that is actively in denial of the divine and steadily drifting away albeit calamitously from God like a melting iceberg cut loose and, instead casting its lots with speculative theoretical pontifications of man as the sole driver of his fate, it is infinitely gratifying and refreshing indeed to perceive or hear even the faintest acknowledgements of the divine in the affairs of modern man. Yet even as the high priests of science, which is the art of probing into and discovering the laws and principles governing natural phenomena (God’s creations), are working hard night and day in secluded laboratories formulating and propounding theories designed to severe the umbilical cord connecting man to his God in order to bring into fruition the Godless society that is after their Godless hearts, humanity has, on the whole, refused to be derailed from the path of the divine through subtle scientific manipulations. And this defiance is noticeably more pronounced in the developing world like Nigeria than in the so-called advanced societies, such as for example, the United States, where God has been all but completely taken out of public life altogether, and replaced with the god of secularism to fill the void.
The deliberate attempts to exclude and banish God from public life as public policy in the United States and consign Him only to private life in an attempt to please atheists, agnostics, and non believers, is tantamount to pleasing man rather than God. The United States constitution does not provide for freedom from religion but freedom of religion and religion is all about God and nothing else. How is it then that the wishes of an insignificant minority have been allowed to override the greater interests of the great majority of the people in a democracy where the minority is supposed to have its say and the majority its way? It’s mindboggling. It is extremely doubtful if the Founding Fathers of the nation wanted it that way since as with other civil rights, freedom of religion was not originally provided for in the US constitution at inception but only brought about through amendments in subsequent years in the Bill of Rights. Therefore, it can be said without equivocation that freedom of religion was an afterthought, which though necessary to prevent the imposition of a state religion as it was in Britain, has now been abused and interpreted to mean freedom from religion. This has now led to a society that has progressively and steadily moved away from God and anything God. This is gradually heralding the Godless society in our own time! Indulging the aberrant wishes of unbelievers and every fringe group in society is the new meaning of “political correction.” Political correction has gone haywire putting society and morality in great jeopardy as our children are brought up not to know God in schools and in public places as more and more parents are alienated from places of worship. An average child knows nothing about God in the US in any substantial sense except those schooling in educational institutions owned and operated by religious organizations like the Roman Catholic Church. The teaching of the utterly speculative theory of evolution coupled with slavish adherence to political correctness has made certain that God is banished from public consciousness, which has in turn helped in no small way to banish Him from private consciousness as well in huge swathes of the population.
The other day I made a quote from the Bible while chatting with a gentleman in his mid twenties of African-American ancestry at my place of work and he looked at me with an attitude of bewilderment seemingly perplexed at the mention of Bible. I then asked him whether he had ever read the Bible to which he answered vigorously in the negative as though I had mentioned an illegal or harmful document to him. It wasn’t like he belonged to any other religion other than Christianity using different scriptures. He just didn’t belong to any. Period! Was he an atheist? Not necessarily. I walked away shaking my head in disbelief. Millions are like him, cut off from God in their formative years through deliberate public policy. Where do they pick up their moral values from? From the drug and sex infested streets, of course! This is the type of society that political correction is helping to create.
But we’re about Nigeria here not the US with different sets of reality. Did God have anything to do with the emergence of Jonathan as president of Nigeria? Associating “God” with the emergence of a president in a country like the US is an anathema that might provoke serious constitutional crisis in the polity as atheists and non-believers alike would forcefully demand a retraction of such statement, but not in Nigeria. Below is a whiff of an acknowledgement of the divine in our public life with particular reference to President Goodluck Jonathan, which can only be publicly voiced as it is in a developing and religious nation like Nigeria that still has a place for God in her public affairs even though individual government officials might be steeped in unbridled corruption. But do not for a second imagine this as a one-off personal opinion, but the main current of the flow of public opinion in Nigeria concerning the president. Therefore, it can be said to be fairly representative of the national mood.
“My stance is informed by the fact that Jonathan is obviously a leader that God has given us. He could not have become the leader of Nigeria without divine direction and intervention. You can see very clearly, he is the first person in Nigeria to rise from deputy governor to acting president and president of this country. Obviously without spending a kobo because he did not spend any money. When he contested to be deputy governor, he was on Alamieyeseigha ticket. He contested on the platform of Obasanjo/Yar’Adua ticket, these were the people behind that ticket; he did not spend any money. Then to become acting president, he did not spend any money.
“God anointed him. Then from there, he became president. It is the first time in the history of Nigeria, that one individual has held these three positions; it had never happened.
“What I am saying is that there must be a generational change in this country. Those Nigerians who are above 60 years should give chance to a new generation to take over.
The author then takes aim at his own generation and concludes there is need for generational shift in the nation’s governance even as he rules out IBB and rules in Jonathan.
“Because our generation is a failed generation. We have held power for 50 years and we have nothing to show for it.
“In the PDP, Jonathan will have the ticket because the way all the PDP leaders had reacted, he is going to have the PDP ticket. Nobody else is going to have the ticket because of the goodwill he has got. Because of the humility he has exhibited. And because of the way God has been backing him.” —High profile anti-corruption crusader and PDP chieftain, Godwin Daboh.
As the above quote clearly indicates, it has been observed severally of the unusually fast-paced political career trajectory of the man, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, as one with the touch of divinity. It’s simply impossible to demur. Consequently, I have found myself concurring with that position held by many at home and abroad. And that makes me a true believer of the divine dimension in human affairs, which postulates that the growth and evolution of humankind is coded as much in our biological as it is in our spiritual genealogies. And Jonathan is perhaps one of the best living examples of that postulate. He just might turn out as the one with the Midas touch as well to rescue our nation from the doldrums.
There’s no gainsaying the fact that his rise to political stardom has been nothing short of meteoric and unheard of, particularly in a predatory political environment with “Pull Him Down” (PHD) tendencies—carefully navigating slippery slopes and terrains, effortlessly dislodging, and leaping over daunting obstacles mounted on his path to greatness by his political enemies. And the more he overcomes the more obstacles are erected on his path by those who refuse to see or too blinkered to see the inexorable hand of God at work.
There are parallels in history the most notable of which dates back to the Biblical times of King Saul. Quite like the “Chosen One,” David, during his tribulations in the hands of demons-possessed King Saul, it would appear that nothing thrown at Jonathan by his political enemies ever sticks to his slippery “Teflon” skin. (See my article, “Jonathan Fits the Bill in 2011: Could He Be Nigeria’s Obama?” http://www.focusnigeria.com/jonathan-2011.htm). Recall how King Saul, tormented by evil spirits, refused to give up plotting the death of David. And the more David overcame Saul’s evil plots the more plots were hatched by Saul to exterminate him. But in the end we are told that Saul paid with his own life with the triumphant David assuming the throne in fulfillment of the divine plan for him. Unknown to King Saul, he was plotting against God! I can see history repeating itself with regard to Jonathan and those plotting against him. He had barely overcome the plot to prevent him from assuming the office of acting president when Ogbulafor and his men at Wadata House erected another road block to prevent him from becoming president by contesting the next presidential election. Yet if the David analogy teaches us anything this new roadblock will go the way of the others before it—practically bulldozed out of the way with Ogbulafor & Co. from Wadata House, because it is being erected on the path of the Chosen One! And unknown to them, they just might be fighting against God. Yet other political adventurers, thinking themselves smarter than the rest of the bunch, will continue to try their luck to block Jonathan from exercising his God given right to contest the next election in the name of zoning. But as it was with King Saul so might it be with them because man does not learn from history and therefore doomed to repeating it over and over again. He is doomed to the path of perdition, because he is arrogant and hard-hearted. More often than not, man tries to play God when he is only a mortal. Many are playing God in Nigeria!
Let me put it in Biblical terms: No weapon fashioned against Jonathan by political enemies has prospered and people should draw appropriate lessons from that. That doesn’t make him infallible or superhuman but one who has found favor in the eyes of the Almighty. And he seems also to have found favor in the eyes of Nigerians of all ages and persuasions as well, including, take this, politicians of opposing parties even with elections just around the corner! And it seems that the only people against Jonathan are the very same people who fought tooth and nail to deny him the title of acting president, not ordinary Nigerians and politicians in opposition parties in particular, who ordinarily would be up in arms against the head of the government formed by the ruling party. So far, the reverse is the case with Jonathan.
A while ago I read in one of the dailies that opposition parties are not averse to Jonathan’s candidacy for the next presidential election because they are hoping that it would cause division in the PDP and thus give them a leg up to upstage the party in the next elections. If that is truly their strategy, it would not only be a tacit endorsement of Jonathan for the race but a recipe for his eventual victory, which would translate to their crushing defeat because their hope of a splintered PDP on account of Jonathan running is forlorn and therefore not realizable. So long as the PDP remains the ruling party its internal bickering will never result in its disintegration and anyone counting on that is a political neophyte. It’s not only a dumb strategy but a self-defeatist move, because Jonathan is the only man out there in the PDP who can redeem the tattered image of the party before the next election. This new reality is gradually dawning on the party. Those in doubt should go and read and re-read his “Democracy Day” speech and watch how that resonates with Nigerians at this moment in time. He sure knows the right buttons to press for effect and he is only one of few politicians around with no known stain on their names. All those crowding into the field bear liability names that their own children would be glad to drop if given the opportunity.
What can we make out of the Jonathan phenomenon? What conclusions can we draw from his endless honeymoon with Nigerians? Godwin Daboh the author of the quote reproduced above was a high profile IBB supporter only a few months ago, but he has switched camp to Jonathan all of a sudden. And even former AGF, Michael Aondoakaa, booted out by Jonathan has come out to condemn PDP’s zoning and declare him eligible to contest the next presidential election. Quite uncharacteristically, the NLC has come out to make similar declaration and so also has the CNPP of all groups, just to mention but a few who have added their voices to the groundswell of support for Jonathan’s candidacy.
What then is responsible for this? It is far from an ordinary honeymoon because Jonathan has been around with us for a while since Yar’Adua’s ill-health thrust him suddenly into national limelight in November 2009 and, therefore not entirely new to the nation. It’s far from performance because Jonathan has yet to make his mark in the sand of times having just assumed office as president. It’s not about his popularity with Nigerians because he was little known before he became acting president under the Yar’Adua administration. What is it then? What makes Jonathan tick?
There is a better explanation and we must turn to the divine for answer. And this reminds me rather uncannily of the derogatory description of then candidate Obama by his Republican opponent, Senator John McCain, during the 2008 US presidential campaigns as “The Chosen One!” Gosh, though meant to mock and belittle Obama, how apt and prophetic that description turned out to be! Unwittingly, McCain had crowned Obama “King of the Jews” so to speak even before the US elections were held. And the American people only came out on election-day to simply adopt God’s choice as they, per divine force, must. McCain may have fancied himself mocking candidate Obama but he was indirectly mocking God. And what were the results? He found himself blown out in the race as his campaign went into complete disarray afterwards after losing the wheels of his “Straight Talk Express.” And as they say the rest is history. God is not mocked.
Although the Republicans in the US always wear religion on their foreheads as head bands, they’re spiritually tone deaf to the realism that Obama, just like David, had been pre-ordained as president of the United States long before the elections actually held. And it was reason he came when he came barging on the political turf like hurricane with all the stars in alignment. The same is equally true of Jonathan and indeed every other remarkable leader in the world. God-ordained leaders burst onto the scene at critical moments of a people’s history to effect a change in direction and redeem its people usually from either self-inflicted or externally imposed maladies and conditions. So, as it was with Moses so it was with Martin Luther King, Jnr., George Washington, and Nehru Ghandi. And so it was with Chairman Mao Zedong and Winston Churchill.
While not laying any claims whatsoever to prophetic visions, that recognition has left an indelible and unmistakable impression on my clairvoyant mind to the effect that President Jonathan is not about calling it quits just yet until God is done with him in His divine plan for the plundered, harassed and abused nation by swarms of political locusts since her flag independence, even if Jonathan wants to. This is because there is no running away from God’s mission when the call comes as the Biblical Jonah found out the hard way. Jonathan will soon come to the conclusion that he cannot run away from this mission even if he wants to.
His life has been a series of miracles. A man of humble beginnings who rose from the position of deputy governor to become the president of the biggest and, arguably, the most influential black nation on the face of the earth in under three years, is nothing short of a miracle of Biblical proportions. And it will go down as a pivotal moment in the history of our dear nation that is still groping in the dark and in search of a new direction in a new beginning. It appears to me that by some divine plan the salvation and redemption of our nation may well come from a leader from a minority ethnic group in Nigeria since leaders from the majority ethnic groups have grounded the ship of state and left us high and dry. In the 50-year old history of our beloved nation in which all ethnic groups have equal stakes in the affairs of the nation, not once have the minority ethnic groups produced a leader of the nation until now, by an act of providence rather than by design, except General Yakubu Gowon who hails from the Middle-Belt state of Plateau.
Those who mischievously claim that former President Olusegun Obasanjo (OBJ), had set up the North with late President Musa Yar’Adua at the helm to be succeeded by his deputy, Jonathan, because he knew that Yar’Adua would die in office are only being clever by half, because they are imbuing OBJ with supernatural powers that he doesn’t have. OBJ is not God, not even a medical or traditional doctor, for that matter, who could foretell the death of Yar’Adua or anyone, for that matter. Was it OBJ that put Yar’Adua in the Katsina state Government House for eight consecutive years too? These same people are quick to tell us that only God gives and only God takes power as He pleases. So when did OBJ become God who determines who will die in office and who takes over power from him? It’s the silliest claim that has ever assailed my ears and speaks to the primitive and superstitious character of those spreading that cow dung. And if some misguided power merchants in the North that have been swimming in power for 38 out of the 50 years of our nation’s existence are now threatening fire and brimstones for being out of power for a mere four years should Jonathan decides to run for the presidency, my gut reaction is to say to them: Bring it on, baby! But I’m not going there yet. Rather I would say to them: Go, get some help! These people need help and I’m dead serious about this.
Certainly any group that cannot survive in Nigeria on its own without political patronages needs help to wean it from its dependency status. The shrill cries of desperation emanating from sections of the North since the death of Yar’Adua and the morbid fear that has gripped them by the prospects of being out of power for four years if Jonathan runs are all symptoms of economic dependency and describe a people who cannot survive without political patronages, which is a sad situation indeed. If the Ibos, Yorubas and the entire minority groups have been surviving without political patronages in commerce and industries, there is no reason why the North or sections thereof cannot survive outside of power and feels threatened with extinction whenever power shifts from its base even for a few months. This power dependency syndrome needs to be broken for good now before it threatens the unity and stability of the nation because the status quo is not unacceptable as other regions increasingly and trenchantly lay claim to the presidency as well as their birthright and collective patrimony.
If the minorities in Nigeria ever had the right to preside over the affairs of this nation, this is the time to press it firmly within the ambit of the constitution. And it just might turn out to be what the nation needs to forge ahead. Unity, progress and stability in Nigeria which have eluded the nation since independence may well lie not in the petty jealousies and acute political rivalries among the major ethnic groups of the Yorubas, Ibos and Hausa/Fulani stocks, but in the political ascendancy of the so-called minority groups, who undoubtedly constitute the majority population in the nation’s ethnic demographics. Yet they do not begrudge any of the major ethnic groups for holding political power over them. The nation as a whole, particularly the Hausa/Funlani stocks in the North, has a lot to learn from the minorities in Nigeria who have allowed others to exercise political power over them since independence without complaining like the major ethnic groups. Unlike other major ethnic groups, they have no ex-this, ex-that; ex president this or that; ex-military ruler this or that. Yet they do not complain and exhibit the highest level of patriotism not easily found in the majority ethnic groups whose selfish actions have always brought the nation to the brink of precipice.
PDP Zoning Conundrum
Now here is one of such ex-this, ex-that, ethnic bigot from the North, Senator Jubril Aminu, former ABU VC, former NUC Chairman, former Federal Minister of Education, former Nigerian Ambassador to the United States and now chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations—a man one would think should know better than the talakawas in the North mouthing this trash in a Tribune interview (05302010):
“I am disturbed on this issue of retaining power in the North in the spirit of the PDP’s principle of zoning/power rotation because it is pretty difficult to remove a sitting President, with all the powers and influence, from office”.
“The South has had eight years and the North ruled for three years before the death of President Umar Musa Yar’Adua. So, the agreement has expiry time and we should honour it,” the Senator added.
To say the least this is more than unfortunate. It’s a disgrace to Aminu’s academic and democratic callings to play the ethnic card. Still wondering why Nigeria is not keeping pace with her peers in the world? Still wondering why Northern Nigeria remains a Republic of Panhandlers? You’ve got the answers right here from Aminu! It’s precisely because retrogrades like Aminu many of whom are garlanded with chains of degrees hanging down from their necks to their ankles are in power in Nigeria. He’s the clan head of those who would readily sacrifice meritocracy for ethnicity. He wants zoning to override the constitutional rights of Nigerians to vie for elective offices in their own country. He wants half of the nation disenfranchised by the PDP zoning. He wants half of the nation to sit and watch the other half produce the president for eight years before ever thinking of running. Yes, he wants their sons and daughters reduced to political spectators not players in their own country all in the name of zoning. He wants to perpetuate the North/South divide in so far as it puts the North back in power. But Aminu will not tell us what the North has done with power for 38 years as Daboh queried.
Now we can see how deep-rooted the virus of ethnicity really is in Nigeria with even supposedly educated people like Aminu as its carriers. If educated elites in the North are still harboring the virus of ethnicity in their bloodstreams as to get “disturbed” because a Nigerian from an ethnic group other than his own is vying for the presidency in this 21st century, what hope there is for our dear country? And you begin to wonder if some of these people who claim to be our leaders actually understand the concept of the supremacy of the constitution? And you begin to wonder whether Aminu has even the minimum understanding of democracy at all even as a senator. Mind you Aminu is the chairman of an important committee. He is one of the “leaders” in this dispensation that Nigerians are counting on to deepen and solidify our democracy now trying hard to rubbish the constitution. And you begin to wonder where they got their degrees and professorships from in the first place? Is it any wonder why the North remains the most backward region in the nation despite the fact that it has been in power for 38 years with people like Aminu in charge? In this 21st century, not 15th or even 14th century, Professor Aminu and his ethnic gladiators are still vectors of the ethnic virus that is still ravaging parts of Africa, including Nigeria, rather than the common folks one might suspect as vectors.
Elements of the old order in the North like Adamu Ciroma, Abubakar Atiku and, of course, Jubril Aminu, are harping on power zoning claiming it was a party agreement. But they would not tell us who and who were at the table when the agreement was allegedly made or the precise terms thereof.
Now let’s look at the issue a little closer because so much of it is still up in the air. They tell us that the presidency was zoned to the North in 2007 as it was allegedly zoned to the South in 2003. Fine! But the problem which immediately arises with such proposition is that there are no “north” and “south” zones in Nigeria. In fact the terms “north” and “south” are alien to the Nigerian constitution and cannot be found in any statutes in Nigeria except in colonial times when we had “Northern” and “Southern” Protectorates. What exist presently in Nigeria albeit informally are six geographical zones, namely: North/east, North/west, North/central, South/east, South/west, and South/south zones. There are no “northern” or “southern” zones.
So where is this talk of zoning the presidency to the north or south for eight years coming from when neither of them is a zone even in the informal sense? If we are going to zone the presidency it should be zoned to the zones, not to non zones. It should be borne in mind that the six zone arrangement is informal not legal or constitutional and has therefore never been used to deny any one from another zone his/her constitutional rights in any shape or form. If anything, the zoning is used for administrative not political purposes, because the constitution only recognizes states and local governments not zones of whatever description. But if we want to do zoning that means beginning with and ending with the six zones mentioned above. In other words, if we truly want to practice zoning it should be in the law and the constitution permitting the presidency to be zoned to any of the six zones at any given time and see where that gets us as a nation. Head or tail, the South/South that has never, ever tasted power is as good as any if not in a much better position to produce the next president. If there is no Northern zone nothing can be zoned to the North. And if there is no Southern zone nothing can be zoned to the South either. I don’t know about Aminu but it seems pretty simple and straightforward to me.
Aminu cannot and will not be allowed to rely on a secret agreement allegedly made by his party men in smoke-filled backrooms to bind every Nigerian and the nation. It will not happen because the PDP does not and cannot represent Nigeria and Nigerians. Aminu says he’s “disturbed” at the prospect of President Jonathan exercising his constitutional right to present himself for election in 2011 and possibly prevent power from shifting back to the North.
And you begin to wonder where Jubril Aminu was when Abubakar Rimi and Barnabas Gemade contested PDP primary with OBJ in 2003. And you begin to wonder also where the man was when then VP Atiku was grandstanding to upstage OBJ in 2003 with PDP governors lined up behind him. And you begin to wonder aloud why PDP’s zoning beast was left slumbering on a back bench at the PDP convention in Abuja and nobody, not even Aminu, the apostle of zoning, remembered to wake him up. Could it be because all the North was interested in then was dislodging OBJ from power, zoning or no zoning? If zoning meant nothing then to the North why would it mean anything now when a man from a zone that has never tasted power at the center is in the saddle? Why is the North always agitating for power? It bothers me that one region would be so inured to power that it literarily goes berserk at the thought of losing power to another region.
What the PDP action shows conclusively is that zoning has never been implemented or enforced by the PDP and that’s why the party would allow all comers from any zone in the country to contest its primaries. If zoning was in force it wouldn’t have allowed others outside of the favored zone to contest its primaries as it has always done since its inception. Again this is a no brainer. I don’t know about Aminu but it’s pretty straightforward to me. But don’t take it from me. Take it from a PDP chieftain and President-General of Ohaneze, Professor Ralph Uwechie, who went through the PDP primaries with OBJ, Rimi, Gemade and a host of other aspirants from both north and south, as reported by Vanguard 053110:
“I am saying that the idea of zoning to the North was the personal idea of Obasanjo who was not chosen in 1999 as a Southern candidate. He was not. It was at the end of his term that he promoted the idea of zoning Presidency to the North. It was never so at the beginning. If it was so at the beginning, why is it that many people from the South, registered by the party were screened in 2007 to contest presidential election?
They were screened, including myself and certified okay and we paid N5 million each for the contest. If it was zoned to the North, why were we screened and certified okay and then N5 million accepted from us which was non-refundable.
They should have told us to go, that the presidency was zoned to the North. They should not have screened us and then asked us to go and pay N5 million because we are from the South and the Presidency was zoned to the North. I was not the only person. Donald Duke was there. Horsfall was there. Nobody told us that we were not qualified. If it was zoned, they should have told us no, you are not qualified, we won’t screen you and we won’t accept your money. So, there was no zoning in PDP.”
Get the point? Uwechie is telling us that there was no “zoning” in PDP in 1999 and OBJ was not nominated as a “Southern candidate” in 1999! Zoning therefore was an afterthought apparently sold by OBJ to the North to let him have his way with them. But even this is speculative as OBJ himself has publicly disavowed the so-called zoning agreement of the PDP.
Now Aminu, who has not told us he was party to the agreement he now fervently seeks to enforce, says the South has had eight years and the North three before Yar’Adua’s death. Therefore he wants the North to have another five years to equal OBJ’s eight years in office. How about someone in the South telling Jubril Aminu, the ethnic jingoist, that the North has had 38, not 3 years in power and the South only 12 years, therefore the South should be allowed to complete her 38 years in power to equalize the North’s cumulative tenure? How about that? Is the North talking about equality, equity, and fair play? That sounds like it to me. The south should and must insist on equality or parity of tenure with the North if the North is now suddenly interested equality and fair play and we still have a long way to go to achieving that parity. And the North has a really long wait ahead of it.
Aminu is talking about the turn of the North? How about the turn of the South/South that has never, ever produced a leader for the nation? Is he trying to tell the South/South that it has no right to produce a leader or that it should be satisfied with rounding up Yar’Adua’s four-year term and quit for the North? That sounds like an unwarranted provocation. These people are really out to provoke another civil war for real! Let them start it by denying Jonathan his right to contest the next election. The South/South will not start a civil war, but if it is taken to them they will answer it in kind. I would, however, advise the Aminus of the North to quit the PDP now if they insist on the North producing the next president because PDP will jettison that so-called “gentleman” agreement and throw the contest open to all in accordance with the supreme law of the land—the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
After all, Abubakar Atiku, who is another ethnic bigot insisting on transfer of power to the North, quit the PDP to become president of the Action Congress (AC), only for him to jump ship when it became clear to him that he’s a stranger in the land of the Bola Tinubus and Bisi Akandes of the South/West! He is back to the PDP to continue to play his self-serving politics of ethnicity and division. But Aminu and Atiku would have to contend with the first Chairman of the PDP, Solomon Lar, who publicly declared that the PDP zoning arrangement was not meant to be permanent and could be jettisoned by the party at any time it deems appropriate, which position has been reiterated by the party itself through its officials as reproduced extensively for the records somewhere below in this article.
Yet it must be recognized that Aminu’s cry carries security implications for the nation that should not be glossed over by the nation’s security agencies. As far as I’m concerned, it has raised a red flag. His statement carries a subtle threat and a hint of desperation. He is lamenting the difficulty of preventing Jonathan from contesting. Is this not a coded message to Northern military elements to move against Jonathan and possibly abort his plan to run? Jonathan should move to put his house in order and that’s why I had earlier called on him to put his stamp on the military hierarchy inherited from Yar’Adua, especially now that he has a northern VP at his back ready to step in to grab power for the North. We are all witnesses to what Abacha did to Ernest Shonekan to return power to the North. It’s within our collective living memories. We are also witnesses to what they did to MKO Abiola of blessed memory.
Only OBJ has survived their machinations and put them in their proper place perhaps due to his military background and that’s part of reason why he’s now hated in the North. Jonathan should watch them because the same desperation for power is now being openly exhibited by northern elements in civilian garbs. These people must be watched carefully with eagle eyes for possible mischief because I will not put anything past them in their desperate attempts to regain power for the North. Vigilance is the eternal price for democracy, freedom and liberty.
God works in mysterious ways and He is truly in control. After this article was rounded up and put away, I checked with the Nigerian online news reports before retiring to bed only to be confronted with this report posted at the African Herald Express with this screaming headline: “They want to poison Jonathan—cleric, http://africanheraldexpress.com/content/they-want-poison-jonathan-%E2%80%93-cleric. Although I’m not ordinarily carried away by clerical utterances emanating from Nigeria owing to their mercenary tendencies, I took this one quite seriously enough as to retrieve the article to add this report to since it buttresses the security concerns I had expressed in the preceding paragraphs only a few hours earlier.
It’s remarkable and quite instructive that the same threats being made on the life of President Barack Obama in the United States by racial bigots and on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jnr., before him, are now being made on the life of President Goodluck Jonathan by tribal bigots in Nigeria who want political power back in their zone by all means necessary. What happened to Chief MKO Abiola must never be allowed to repeat itself in Nigeria else the long predicted break up might just be realized well ahead of its predicted arrival time. This is not about ND militancy, and the North or more appropriately, those who are using the name of the North to cause mischief, must be warned that any harm visited on the person of the President that is calculated to return power to the North will swiftly and automatically be translated to a declaration of war and a break-up of the country and let’s see who suffers the most from the divided country, the South or the North. North and South Korea already provide the template about the resulting consequences. However, my sense of patriotism will not permit me to say more.
The troubling report states that the Dr. JCF Onuoha, Pastor in charge of Foundation Miracle International Chapel, had warned President Goodluck Jonathan “to beware of those around him to avoid being poisoned.” In the words of the pastor:
“God came to me in a revelation that some powerful people have been holding series of meetings to poison Jonathan and get rid of him. He has to be careful because many of them come around him pretending they are with him but they came with evil intentions.
“The group I am talking about includes some powerful royal fathers from a particular section of the country. They are not happy with Jonathan and they are hatching all kinds of plot to get rid of him”, he emphasized.
The cleric said that according to the revelation, the plot is to kill Jonathan and create an opportunity for his vice, Namadi Sambo to take over.”
Just what I hinted at above, folks! Was this mere coincidence that both the pastor and I are getting these same terrifying vibes at the same time and issuing forth warnings to President Jonathan to put his house in order? I don’t think so. God is fully in control in Nigeria. Aminu is fighting against God who put Jonathan in there. So far as we know, President Yar’Adua died a natural death and no one was responsible for his death. It was a good thing with the benefit of hindsight that Jonathan never saw Yar’Adua upon his return before he gave up the ghost otherwise mischief makers might have insinuated and concocted all manners of theories. Jonathan did not give them that window to speculate dangerously. That being what it is why should any individual or section of the country forfeit his/its right to contest election because of Yar’Adua’s death? From where did Aminu get the notion that God put Jonathan in power merely to conclude Yar’Adua term and then quit for the North because a Niger Deltan is not fit to rule on his own term?
These clowns are playing with a time bomb and the unity of the nation. He should ask all those who stood in the way of Jonathan in the recent past what became of them. Niger Delta has come of age politically and not ready to play second fiddle to any other region in this and future democratic dispensations. We are here on equal terms in this clobbered union of ethnicities or mini nations called Nigeria.
The redemptive feature of it all though is that the Aminus and the Atikus are in the minority even in the North as many credible Northerners and north based civil groups have publicly voiced their positions acknowledging and affirming the right of the president to contest the next election, “if he so wishes.” And that is as it should be, for, no one should be disqualified from contesting election except in accordance with the laws of the land and the constitution. It’s all we ask for—the enforcement of constitutional rights and nothing illegal or extra-constitutional.
Inauguration and the Hidden Bumps
(a) Administrative Bumps
It’s my humble conviction as it’s indeed of millions of my fellow compatriots that Jonathan’s meteoric rise to power in the face of man-made obstacles is not without a divine purpose. And he may well fulfill Senator McCain’s prophesy concerning Obama in Nigeria. However, of all the transitions that Jonathan has undergone within this short timeframe, the most dramatic and historical were those that occurred within the late Yar’Adua presidency. Jonathan started off with Yar’Adua as vice president in May 2007. However, between November 2009 and May 2010, Jonathan had metamorphosed from VP to acting president and from acting president to president in less than six months! It’s a transformation that is probably unequalled anywhere in the world. But there are hidden bumps along the way.
Unknown to many the Jonathan presidency has been off to a bumpy start not only on account of the series of obstacles thrown in its path by enemies of democracy and Yar’Adua death, but the many unfulfilled promises he inherited from Yar’Adua. Unlike Yar’Adua, Jonathan did not inherit a buoyant or even a decently performing economy with budget surplus and close to $50bn stashed away comfortably in foreign reserves. He inherited a near bankrupt economy with budget deficits and notoriously underperforming budgets year in year out.
He didn’t inherit a successful administration but a failed government that lived its entire life in the bubble of sloganeering and in inconsequence thereof was being transposed by some undiscriminating Nigerians on Nigeria as a “failed” state.” Thus the term “failed state” in relation to Nigeria gained currency under the Yar’Adua administration. Ordinary and notable Nigerians alike were openly describing Nigeria as a failed state under the Yar’Adua regime. It was that bad because there was no progression but retrogression virtually on all fronts—from power, energy, security, political reforms, constitutional amendment, Niger Delta and all the way to foreign relations, producing nothing but a climate of hopelessness and despondency in the citizenry.
That is the very definition of a failed government. And if we equate a failed government with a failed state as some individuals have done, it would mean that Jonathan inherited a “failed state” from Yar’Adua. The proper position, however, is that it was the government that failed not the state because the state is a permanent and an ongoing concern while a government is a temporary agent of the state. Jonathan inherited a failed government rather than a failed state. And although the failure of a agent could be translated to the failure of his principal under the principle of agency, such can only be momentary because the government, as the agent, is never permanent and must quit being the agent of the state at some point in time to be replaced with another agent who might perform as it has indeed happened. Therefore, Yar’Adua’s failed government cannot rightly be transposed on Nigeria as a failed state as both entities are different even if one is temporarily the agent of the other.
But it wasn’t only in the domestic arena that Yar’Adua failed signally. He failed spectacularly in the international arena as well. Jonathan didn’t inherit a nation that was highly regarded in the international arena. He inherited a nation with crumbled international profile downgraded from its heights barely a few years ago into the abyss of nothingness and placed on an international terror watch-list at will. Jonathan didn’t inherit a nation that was robustly engaged with the world as was its predecessor, but a nation on retreat and seemingly heading the way of reclusive North Korea.
What did Yar’Adua leave behind for Jonathan? We know about the ad hoc Amnesty deal that was hurriedly, haphazardly and shoddily put together for militants but soon grounded until Jonathan stepped in. We know about power supply and electoral reform promises that were never meant to be fulfilled and weren’t fulfilled under Yar’Adua. We know about the callous and opportunistic cancellation or suspension of railway modernization projects and NIPP power projects without clear cut alternatives. We heard a lot about rule of law, probes and sundry acts of willful distractions from the problems on ground. Yes we sure heard a lot too about “the war on corruption” from Yar’Adua. Didn’t we? It makes me want to laugh!
But in the end the question remains: what value added tangibles and intangibles did Yar’Adua leave for Jonathan? I look around but see none except a truckload of ballooning slogans billowing in the air Yar’Adua left at the presidency that Jonathan must have to figure out deflating to end the era of mass deception and cheap propaganda.
(b) Legal Bump
The Yar’Adua locomotive had run cold before Jonathan took over and must be restarted to usher in a new administration not a carryover. Although President Goodluck Jonathan has been around the nation’s presidency since the inauguration of the Yar’Adua administration on May 29, 2007, his presidency actually began on May 06, 2010, pursuant to and in fulfillment of constitutional provisions for presidential leadership succession following the death of President Yar’Adua on May 04, 2010. However, between Yar’Adua’s death on May 04, 2010 and the swearing in of Jonathan as president on May 06, 2010 (approximately 48 hours apart), Nigeria was without a substantive leader. It is understandable, however, that a nation that declared 7-day of mourning the passing of her leader would even notice let alone be concerned with legalism and constitutionalism more so as the then acting president Jonathan was obviously in charge and control.
But being in charge and in control after the president’s passing, is not the issue here. Although Ag President Jonathan was firmly “in charge” as the nation’s leader at the time, nevertheless, he was not the nation’s “substantive president” at the time of Yar’Adua’s death and there was no “substantive president” either, in the intervening period immediately following after the death of President Yar’Adua. This might sound academic but it is an issue of practical significance.
The fact of the matter is that “Acting President” Jonathan was “acting” for nobody upon Yar’Adua’s death before he was made the substantive president on May 06, 2010, since he could not have been “acting” for a dead president. Jonathan was still functioning as acting president after Yar’Adua’s death for 48 hours (two clear days) before he was made president. The question then is who was he acting for post Yar’Adua’s death between May 04 and May 06, 2010, before he was sworn in as president? The clear answer to that question is, nobody! This is because there could be no “acting president” without or in the absence of a substantive president.
The title “acting president” presupposes the existence of a principal or substantive president in whose behalf and in whose place another could lawfully and constitutionally function in acting capacity pending his return to power, death, resignation, abdication or removal from office due to medical unfitness to discharge presidential duties. At the occurrence of any of the above mentioned events, Jonathan would immediately have ceased to function in acting capacity and either reverted back to his former position as VP (in case of Yar’Adua’s return to office), or made (sworn in as) president immediately upon Yar’Adua’s death, within minutes, not days to avoid power vacuum. But what did we witness instead? That principal, Yar’Adua, demised on May 04, 2010, yet Jonathan continued to function in acting capacity until May 06, 2010. He must have been acting for himself or a dead president!
I will not however make that an issue in this presentation because it requires an exhaustive treatment to ascertain the status of Jonathan within that brief passage of time. It’s hoped that students of constitutional law would have to work out the implications, if any, of that presidential lacuna that existed momentarily upon Yar’Adua’s death and its possible effects on our constitutional democracy. Suffice it to state, however, that under no circumstances must the nation be left without a substantive leader for a second because the constitution doesn’t contemplate such presidential lacuna. Those in charge of the review of the 1999 constitution must, therefore, urgently advert their minds to the existence of that “black hole” in the power configuration at the time and address this danger because, God forbid, it could happen again in the future.
It is, however, submitted that Ag President Jonathan should have been sworn in as president immediately upon the death of Yar’Adua in order to avoid creating any lacuna whatsoever in leadership succession. It is further submitted that Jonathan’s continued functioning as acting president after Yar’Adua’s death was illegal and unconstitutional with the further implication that the Nigerian nation/state was without a constitutional leader between May 04 and May 06, 2010.
Therefore, all acts purported to have been carried out by Jonathan as acting president during that brief period in question were illegal, unconstitutional and, therefore null and void although they may be covered by the doctrine of Omnia presumuntur rese ese acta by which the acts public officials are deemed to have been carried out under valid authority unless and until the contrary is proved or established. In this case however, I hold that the contrary is indeed provable.
It’s perhaps fair to conclude that had the National Assembly and the Federal Executive Council (FEC) been true to the letters and spirits of the constitution Jonathan could have been made the substantive president long before Yar’Adua’s death due to the late president’s clear medical incapacitation and thus avoid the leadership void alluded to above. Regrettably, that was not to be the case. Prior to his inauguration as president, however, Jonathan had functioned as the acting president courtesy of the doctrine of necessity ingeniously and graciously invoked by the National Assembly to invest him with presidential powers as an interim measure following the refusal and/or inability of the late president to transfer presidential powers to him while hospitalized abroad at the King Fahd Hospital, Saudi Arabia. Factually, Jonathan has been in power only since May 06, 2010, and not since he became acting president back in February, 2010. This means that prior to May 06, 2010, Jonathan was only carrying on the functions of president on behalf of President Yar’Adua who, though medically incapacitated at the time, was constitutionally the substantive president and Head of State.
It’s important to make this clarification lest some mischief makers later come out to claim that Jonathan has been in power since November, 2009, when Yar’Adua took ill and rushed abroad for treatment! No, Jonathan has not been in power that long and nothing could be farther from the truth. For the records he has only been in power for about four weeks at the most so far.
A lay person might begin to wonder: if Jonathan was not in power, how come he had been running the show in the absence of late President Yar’Adua since he became acting president— signing and implementing budget, deploying troops to Plateau state to quell ethnic strife, firing the National Security Adviser, demoting former AGF Michael Kaase Aondoakaa, dissolving and reconstituting the federal cabinet, ex-cetera—all of which are acts that can only be carried out by someone who is in power?
The answer to the above poser can be found in the law of agency. And it is simple even if somewhat esoteric. Here it is: Jonathan was Yar’Adua’s agent and Yar’Adua was Jonathan’s principal! And believe it or not, Jonathan did all that he did not because he was in power but because he was an agent of President Yar’Adua his principal, and merely carried out the functions of his principal as constitutionally delegated to him in the president’s behalf.
In other words, he was merely exercising power belonging to someone else without actually being in power! There is a difference between being in power and exercising power on behalf of another. It’s like the difference between a nanny/babysitter, who is temporarily exercising power over a child on behalf of its mother and the mother of a baby, who is the repository of power over the baby, which powers she can easily withdraw from the babysitter/nanny at any time and send her packing. Metaphorically, Jonathan was no more than a babysitter. The babysitter/nanny is temporarily empowered by the baby’s mother to do what the mother could do in relation to the baby in the interim without the nanny/babysitter being in power. Folks, whether we knew it or not, Jonathan was our nanny/babysitter, babysitting us for President Yar’Adua while he was away!
Thus all that Jonathan did prior to May 06, 2010 he did as agent for and in the name of Yar’Adua and per force belongs to Yar’Adua who was his princicipal and not for himself. Therefore if, for instance, Jonathan had heeded the motion of then Yar’Adua’s Information and Communications Minister, Professor Dora Akinyuli, asking the FEC to invoke the provisions of section 144 of the constitution to declare President Yar’Adua medically incapacitated and unfit to perform his duties, Jonathan would have carried out that act on behalf of Yar’Adua and in the name of his administration whether or not it was in the interest of the president. It makes no difference whether or not the actions of an agent are ultimately beneficial or harmful to the interest of his/her principal so long as they’re within the purview of his/her powers under the agency.
This might sound fictional and totally confusing to the lay person not schooled in the mechanics of the law; in particular, the law of agency. However, where an agent acts on behalf of his/her principal within the powers conferred by the agency relationship, his acts belong, not to him/her, but to the principal who then assumes total responsibility for the acts of the agent for good or ill, whether the acts are harmful or beneficial to the principal. Be that is it may, the principal is not without a remedy. In the event therefore that the principal disapproves of the actions of his agent, the only course open to him, in this case, President Yar’Adua, is to forthwith terminate the agency relationship and recall his acting presidential powers, and thereafter proceed to reverse the actions of the his agent—in other words, undoing what Jonathan had done where possible. But only if he himself had not been removed from office already by his agent, altogether! Interesting!
The law of agency is writ large in public affairs, more so in a democracy and in no way limited to this instance alone. For instance, when the state prosecutes criminals, it does so on behalf of the people in general not on behalf of the victim of crime because the state is the agent of the people as a whole, who are the principal of the state. When voters go out to vote during elections to elect their representatives in parliament, and Federal and state executives, they’re in law, directly creating an agency relationship between themselves and their representatives in government from the president on down to the local government councilor, who are agents of the voters (electors), and the voters are their principals. Again, when a voter goes to the polling station to cast his/her vote for a candidate he/she is appointing that candidate as his/her agent in government who is thus empowered to act on his or her behalf and in his or her name although the average voter might not understand what he/she has done with his/her vote.
A ballot is a powerful legal instrument that creates important legal relationship between the voter and the candidate and therefore the government that results from the vote. It’s a legal-cum constitutional contractual relationship with the principle of agency at its core. Therefore, whatever these officials do in office is done in the name of and on behalf of the voters whether or not the voters approve of their actions. The only course left for disaffected voters is to recall the offending representatives. A governor, Gray Davis, was recalled in the US state of California a few years ago by disaffected voters who wanted him out and that paved the way for the emergence of the present Governor of California, Arnold Schwartzeneger. And in Nigeria attempts have been made to recall offending representatives, e.g., Senator Jubril Aminu, the new apostle of zoning, from Adamawa state, who was faced with parliamentary recall by his antagonists back home. The same was true of Senator Ibrahim Mantu of Plateau state, who suffered a recall process by angry constituents.
In the same vein, President Yar’Adua could have moved to withdraw Jonathan’s acting presidential powers and undo his acts if he had recovered from his illness in time to bounce back to power if he disapproved of his Jonathan’s conduct in any particular instances. But that was not to be and Jonathan acted on his behalf as his agent till death snatched him away. Therefore, at least in law even if not in fact, it was Yar’Adua that was still ruling us till May 04, 2010, when he passed away. Like the nanny example cited above, he was still mothering us as babies through Jonathan his babysitter, babysitting over 150 million babies in Nigeria! But for Yar’Adua’s death, Jonathan would still be babysitting us till today perhaps till May 29, 2011. It should pass for a world record and a decent spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Thus if former AGF, Aondooakaa was demoted it was Yar’Adua that did it through Jonathan. If Jonathan dissolved and reconstituted the FEC, it was Yar’Adua that did it in law. If ex-governor James Ibori and former PDP chairman, Victor Ogbulafor, were being brought to Justice on corruption charges, it was Yar’Adua that did it in law, and so on and so forth, so long as he remained the head of the administration and Jonathan’s principal and would not relieve himself of the title of president and invest it in Jonathan.
But the reader might protest thus: President Yar’Adua bluntly refused to and never transferred power to VP Jonathan before he died. The National Assembly did. So how come was Jonathan Yar’Adua’s agent? Could an agent be forced on an unwilling principal? Put another way, could a third party create an agency relationship for other parties who are not themselves privy to the agency creation? Great question! The answer to this question lies in the Resolution of the National Assembly transferring power to then VP Jonathan to act for and on behalf of President Yar’Adua with the title of acting president. Ordinarily, agency relationships are created directly by the parties themselves. But it can also be indirectly or otherwise imposed by operation of law and the constitution on parties without their consent or imprimatur. Presidential agency relationship is a creation of law and the constitution and the parties consent is implied by law.
In this connection, it will be recalled the National Assembly based its action in part on the Doctrine of Necessity. Was that enough to ground its action? No, because it also stated that Yar’Adua’s BBC interview in which he admitted his medical incapacity was deemed sufficient as transmission of notice to the National Assembly that he was on medical admission abroad and thus satisfying the requirements of the constitutional provisions to trigger transfer of power to his vice. This is an instance of an agency created by operation of law. Since President Yar’Adua did not challenge this and he in fact subsequently referred to Jonathan as “acting president” through his spokesman, Olusegun Adeniyi, upon his secreted home coming from Saudi Arabia, he had constructively ratified and/or acquiesced in the agency relationship created on his behalf by the National Assembly.
The legal implication of this is that he had transferred his presidential duties to VP Jonathan as acting president thus creating an agency relationship in which Jonathan could do whatever he wanted in his (Yar’Adua) name within the law. Armed with those powers Jonathan wasted no time in exercising his newly acquired presidential powers as acting president by kicking out AGF Aondoakaa and National Security Adviser, dissolving and reconstituting the FEC; in short, completely taking over the Yar’Adua administration and knocking out Yar’Adua men in the cabinet and reversing Yar’Adua policies—all in the name of Yar’Adua!
What then is the whole purpose of the above legal treatise? It’s to show that Jonathan’s rule has only just begun since May 06, 2010, and that his actions prior to that date properly belong to Yar’Adua, and not to Jonathan. It is also to draw attention to the leadership void in law created by Yar’Adua’s death when Jonathan was still functioning as acting president albeit unconstitutionally so that it can be addressed in the ongoing constitutional amendment.
That said I’m concerned here with the Jonathan presidency, not Yar’Adua’s, even though Jonathan necessarily played a part in the latter first as deputy president and later as acting president. And as with every dispensation the Jonathan presidency has a beginning date. However, it’s yet to have an end date. What is the end date of the Jonathan presidency? No one knows for sure because the answer is buried in the womb of time and only those steeped in the esoteric arts of clairvoyance can venture an answer. I don’t know if I’m one.
But one thing is for sure though: constitutionally, it will come to a screeching halt on May 29, 2011 to bring to an end this troubled constitutional dispensation for democratic renewal. It will be up to President Jonathan to renew his mandate for four years. There is no reason why he shouldn’t and every reason why he should for the sake of our young democracy that needs to be nourished, deepened, and perfected through democratic renewals of electoral mandates.
But how I’m I sure that Jonathan will run in 2011 given the position of his party regarding zoning? It’s because I’m, if you like, Nigeria’s political oracle, for want of a better word. I’m a student of history and I understand perfectly the political dynamics in Nigeria on the basis of which I made the prediction in a previous article titled: “Jonathan’s Date with History,” that “…just it has always done in the past, the same PDP will meet to reverse itself…”
In a well publicized interview granted by the party’s auditor, Dr. Ortom, who, by the way, is from the North, the party literarily reversed itself contending that the ex-Chairman, Chief Victor Ogbulafor, “spoke for himself” and not for the party when he unilaterally zoned the presidency to the North and arrogantly ruled out Jonathan from contesting.
In his own words as reported by the Tribune (052210) edition and other media:
“Though there is position of zoning in PDP’s constitution, it is not a rigid arrangement. It is a flexible arrangement made by the forefathers of this party who wrote this constitution. But I want to let the public know that since 1999 when this party came into existence and started election and appointment of political offices, there has never been a time that anyone who is interested in vying for any position in this party has been excluded.
“From 1999, you will recall that the election was keenly contested by Dr. Alex Ekwueme and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who came from different zones and in 2003, the election was keenly contested by the incumbent president, Chief Obasanjo and Chief Barnabas Gemade who was from the North Central and at no time did the PDP screen them out.
“They were allowed to participate, they went through the process as enshrined in the constitution and the guidelines and a candidate emerged at the end of the day and we jointly worked together for the success of our party.”
The national auditor also referred to the participation of late Alhaji Abubakar Rimi alongside then incumbent President Obasanjo in the 2007 PDP primary, even though the position was supposedly zoned to the South.
“President Goodluck Jonathan is free to contest election if he so wishes or desires at any time. If he decides to contest, nobody can stop him. He is free to do that; the constitution allows him because the constitution of our party is subject to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he stated.
What more could have been said to prove my prediction right? Not a word more! And like I stated further in that article, Ogbulafor himself would have uttered those very same words if given the chance to remain as PDP chairman. Nigerian politicians have no enduring principles but flow with the wind wherever it blows. The PDP has effectively reversed course and all that remains is for Jonathan to formally declare his intention in the affirmative. The waiting game begins.
In fairness to the party, however, it never met to take the position announced by Ogbulafor in the first place, and so it was easy for Dr. Orton to dissociate the party from the statement credited to Ogbulafor. The question is why did he wait so long to disavow his chairman’s unilateral outburst in the name of the party?
He alone can answer that. But my guess is that everyone in the PDP hierarchy was counting on Yar’Adua’s recovery given the propaganda messages that were spewing forth from the bowels of the presidency to deceive the people and no one wanted to be in the bad book of a recovered and smoking President Yar’Adua out to take his pound of flesh from those who betrayed and abandoned him, never minding that they might have acted in accordance with the constitution! Like ordinarily Nigerians they were victims of con-men in the presidency euphemistically referred to as Yar’Adua kitchen cabinet, and deserve some pity.
That said, Ogbulafor’s statement was not only inflammatory but extremely damaging to the fragile unity of the nation for which he must be made to account. If Nigeria was tinderbox, Ogbulafor would be the one who provided the spark that set off a conflagration that consumed the nation. He is unfit for a leadership position and therefore rightly removed as head of the ruling party.
The damage control now embarked upon by the party would have been totally unnecessary but for Ogbulafor’s gratuitous and self-serving outbursts. That said, every indication points in the direction of the Jonathan presidency subjecting itself to democratic renewal for the next four years in 2011, in which case we can look forward to the Jonathan era ending in 2015, making a total of approximately five years in office.
So far as this writer is concerned and subject to the sovereign will of the Nigerian people in the forthcoming election, the Jonathan presidency is already extended to the year 2015 and this series is entirely based on that assumption without in any way, shape or form, pre-empting the outcomes of the 2011 general elections.
This prediction does not, however, call for lethargy or complacency on the part of President Jonathan in delivering the goods as promised, because he will be held to account for his promises made to the nation in prime time.
Lethargy should die with the Yar’Adua administration and never to be associated with the Jonathan administration. If indeed he has been called like Jonah to serve as many have come to believe, he should deliver to us the purpose of that call before the next elections not necessarily in full scale in all areas due to time constraints, but in significant strides that produce tangible results and not mere plans of actions, preachments and platitudes. He should walk the walk.
And the evidence of that should begin to manifest itself in increased energy and power supply in our homes and offices; in improved conditions of our highways; in total and devastating war on corruption with all gloves off for a surgical operation to excise the malignant tumor from our polity; in security of lives and property and better quality of life for our citizens and; generally in the unleashing of the innate, creative and entrepreneurial geniuses of Nigerians so demonstrably manifested elsewhere around the globe, but in Nigeria. It’s time to turn the page.
God bless Nigeria.
Franklin Otorofani, Esq. contact: firstname.lastname@example.org