Azikiwe, Jonathan Are The Mandela of Nigeria, Says PDP
Although the party initially declared the first President of Nigeria, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, as the “Mandela of Nigeria,” it went on to say that Jonathan follows the late nationalist ‘closely’ in order of ranking.
A close observation shows that Jonathan topped the list of living past and present Nigerian leaders, which is posted on the PDP Facebook page.
The ruling party said its judgement was based on the result of online votes by its loyal Facebook followers numbering about 26, 500.
In a message posted on its Facebook page, the PDP noted that the outcome of the voting process, which lasted 24 hours, was “decidedly” transparent.
“Great fans, after 24 hours of voting, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe is decidedly – by the strength of your vote – the ‘Mandela of Nigeria’. He is followed closely by Dr. Goodluck Jonathan,” the message reads.
The party ranked the first Premier of the Northern Region, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello; the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo; former President Olusegun Obasanjo and ex-Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth positions, respectively, on the same list.
The late President Umar Yar’Adua; the late Prof. Chinua Achebe; former military dictator, Ibrahim Babangida and Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, came next in the seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth positions, respectively.
However, many Nigerians practically invaded the party’s Facebook page to register their displeasure with the PDP over the list.
While many of the protesters noted that the country lacked real leaders that can be compared with Nelson Mandela, others said Jonathan could not have emerged as the runner-up in any transparent ranking. They accused the PDP of manipulating the voting process as against the opinion of a truly representative proportion of the populace.
A cross section of those angered by the ranking also accused the party of using the death of Mandela as a tool for self-promotion.
A visitor to the PDP Facebook page, Imoh Okon, urged the party not to soil the image of the departed South African leader with its deceitful ‘Mandela of Nigeria’ project.
“Mandela fought to restore human integrity. In your (PDP) case, what is your goal? Is it tribalism or regional relevance or party supremacy? The least honour you could give Madiba is to keep his name away from this deceit. The PDP can surely do better than this by getting right thinking minds to maintain this page with some sensible packaging,” he wrote.
Another respondent, Bello Kolawole, described the list in its current form as the “joke of the century”.
Kolawole said it was unfortunate that eminent Nigerians like the late human rights lawyer, Chief Gani Fawehinmi and the late environmental activist, Ken Saro Wiwa, could be pushed aside in preference for the President.
“This must be the joke of the century. Nobody made Mandela a hero. His goodwill and struggle for the emancipation of his people wrote his name in world’s history books. We do not have his likes in Nigeria,” he said.
Obviously irritated, Ibrahim Abdullah wrote, “The online poll must have been rigged as a tradition of the PDP. I stand to remain the last Nigerian to believe Goodluck Jonathan is Nigeria’s Nelson Mandela. This is impersonation, nothing more!”
Summing up the opinion of dozens of other people who lambasted the PDP for the ranking, Eghweree Ovie said, “None of the so-called leaders have made sacrifices for Nigeria, compared to what they have benefited from Nigeria.
“The PDP should please stop this nonsense analysis or comparison. Nigeria does not have Mandela or his like. What we have are the name that you just listed. Imagine you adding Goodluck Jonathan to the list. Even the Ijaw won’t consider him as their Mandela. The Mandela of Nigeria are the citizens who forgive those embezzling the public funds.”
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