Between ASUU’s Demands & PDP Crisis By Odusote Oluwakayode
The fashionable definition of strong leadership takes an eccentric and limited form. A party leader is deemed mighty if he or she is brute on members, same is the mentality attached to governance. A party leader who fails to do so is dismissed as weak and incompetent. The PDP political turmoil provides an opportunity for President Goodluck Jonathan to be judged on these terms. His dramatic emergence was billed in advance as the ultimate opportunity for the minority group be subjected to the test of Nigeria’s leadership. As a man believed to have a poor background, the mass poor population believed in his “Fresh Air” agenda and he was expected to provoke a sudden positive change.
I do not hope to express pity or defend his failing rating profile; political leadership is not a child’s play of picnic. Before becoming president of the nation, President Jonathan should have explained more fully what he was seeking to achieve with party hierarchy and interests and how such would fit into his plans for the country. Personally, I have never understood why the link, quest and aspiration for power and wealth have endured in this form in our country for so long without recourse to human dignity.
Apart from Goodluck Jonathan, potential candidates within the various political parties seeking elective offices are of questionable characters, those whose track records of sincere agitations for the country are given opportunities to govern are very few in number. Party’s structures are deliberately weakened to suit selfish ambitions. In most political parties in Nigeria, it will be an act of political suicide to challenge the leadership that installs or bestow powers. Sometimes there are no choices for the elected officials. But on the whole, it is probably better for any leader of any party to avoid prolonged political war. As a nation is expected to progress, allowing political and internal fury in the quest to exert authority is not always a sign of strong leadership.
In a political environment that players stays thirsty to become clear winners-however it comes- mock losers and operate on a self glory as the PDP platform provides, the stalemate within the party may just be the beginning.
This turmoil is too serious to be subjected to the rules of Jona-Tukur’s game. It has broken down the normal “Family affair” propounded by former president Olusegun Obasanjo. On one side are some of President Jonathan’s supporters, who are always convinced that he’s the blessing of a man that Nigeria deserve at this critical moment of our national life.
On the other side are those who have simply called themselves the “New PDP, convinced that the Tukur led party rules with autocracy, insult and disrespects- who else? Expectedly, not the other ordinary party members but the esteemed governors. Therefore, he should be punished by being sacked, in order to ensure the unity of the party.
For the past weeks of fantasy, Keen watchers are monitoring events with interests. Whilst some people may pray for a resolution, some may wish the party should just collapse with the hope that the nation’s massive problems would collapse with it going by popular negative public opinion about the government.
As far as it is a case of leadership problems, the warring factions in it have not helped matters in resolving the crisis- help matters I said? That’s just the point. With so much energy lost in the battles- for now no life is lost, it is fundamental to note that the resolving the crisis is more of a political fantasy than reality. Beyond the promises of a amicable understanding and sheathing of verbal swords, the reality of a resolution will be based on sacrificing self interests for needed party unity – who then amongst the warring faction is ready to make such sacrifice?. The truth stares in the face that president Goodluck Jonathan has a second term ambition which is not going down well with some powerful party stalwarts and northern interests.
For them, this is not about an opposition to the party but the man called Goodluck Jonathan’s second term ambition and many of them seem to have reconciled their support for the president with their resistance to this ambition.
Now, one of the problems with all of this focus on PDP’s crisis is it’s missing the ball from what we should be focused on – issues of national concern- one of which is the grave threat the strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities has on our educational system. So into this illogical, mixed-up crisis of odd alliances against the interest of the president — whether genuine or not — to defuse his political grip on the party machinery which is expected to give him another mandate, the president has been involved in several meetings to resolve a crisis within his party than an attention needed to resolve the lingering negative effects of the strike action by ASUU.
That’s just a style of leadership by president Goodluck Jonathan- saving a personal political ambition is of more importance than saving the education sector of a nation.
Now, the “New PDP” members are winning the war through public opinion, they have nothing at stake, it’s just Jonathan’s credibility and integrity that is at stake. In the end, history will tell us that president Goodluck Jonathan could not resolve the endemic problems affecting the country because he just doesn’t have a clue.
What is of a priority to the president and other opposing side of the whole crisis is tied to personal interest, ego and power. The beginning of the crisis is based on personal interests. Segun Gbadegesin explained that how does resolving any of these disputes or acceding to any of these conditions impact the fundamental interests of Nigerians? The New PDP faction has not made any case that focuses on issues of party accountability to the people. It has not faulted a governance style that has emboldened terrorists and sentenced innocent citizens to a life of perpetual insecurity. Indeed, the New PDP has not worried itself about the conditions of existence of the poorest of our fellow citizens.
Sacking Nine ministers without genuine justification is a proof that the crisis is having its toll on the nation with political calculations planned to checkmate Kwankwaso with Ghali Na’Abba Kano state, and Senator Kabiru Taminu Turaki to checkmate Sule Lamido in Jigawa state. Other rebel states are not immune to these political calculations of checkmate which is considered an exclusive matter to the president in realization of his ambition of a second term in office.
The students languish at home idle, looking at a future unnecessarily subjected to waste in the midst of a hopeless tomorrow, ASUU is adamant with its demands and the president is preoccupied with a personal war of political realization. ASUU could just be the first among the stakeholders of a nation’s development that will be ignored in a quest to fight a war of survival.
Beyond the fantasy of a cease fire, the only likely guarantee for peace within the party is if Goodluck Jonathan will just resolve to lead the party and nation out of a pending political crisis by encouraging internal democracy which is healthy for the survival of our democracy. The PDP is renowned for winning elections through manipulation of mandates. They have been successful doing that to the opposition but the tide is turning against them.
It is not necessary manipulating party structure to assure victory. A performing president, irrespective of sentiment would get popular support from the electorates if votes are allowed to count. A concerned president and leader will not neglect the problems of ASUU to keep vigil in resolving the crisis within his party.
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