President Jonathan: A Prisoner of Power By Nnamdi Anekwe-Chive
The current crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is not about fairness and equity. The disagreements are not over Nigeria’s ability to achieve the 2015 Millennium Development Goals. It is about the 2015 presidential elections and how Northern politicians have sworn to stop President Jonathan, a Southern politician, from contesting at all cost. They allege that he signed an agreement to spend only one term in office.
Recent meetings held to resolve the PDP imbroglio have stalled. The opposing camp comprising one Southern and six Northern governors and a former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has insisted that one of the conditions for peace is for President Goodluck Jonathan to abandon his plans for a second term.
The questions now arises, does the president have the sole right to renounce his second term ambition? What is he going to tell his supporters and his Niger Delta constituency? So what does he do: Forgets his ambition and returns to Otuoke? Is this condition not outrageous? Constitutionally, are they being fair to the president?
President Jonathan as a person is incapable of solely taking the decision of not running for a second term. It is on record that the president has never indicated any interest in political position up from being a deputy governor to his current position. His ascendancy has always been brokered by political godfathers and powerful interest groups. These sorts of groups exist across the various geo political zones of the country, and have ensured they controlled the presidency through proxy and often by some diabolical practices. They direct the affairs of the presidency and ensure that their interests in various sectors of the Nigerian project are protected and defended, even at the cost of thousands of Nigerian lives.
These kinds of powerful political interest groups held General Ibrahim Babangida to ransom, and forced him to annul the freest and fairest elections in the country. Same type of interests drafted General Obasanjo to become president in 1999. Similar forces cajoled Umaru Musa Yaradua to become president and held Nigeria hostage when he became terminally ill. The current power group is the one holding President Jonathan captive and directing him as they wish, even to his detriment as a person.
It is cowardly and wicked to blame President Jonathan for all the crises in the country, but because he is the elected leader of Nigeria we hold him accountable and ignore the unseen hands of the political godfathers. Some have averred that the president should resign and call it quits, but in a country like Nigeria that is subdued by prebendalism and crass geo-politics, it will be difficult for anybody to throw in the towel and walk away. The consequences of such an action will be dire for his personal life and also that of his region, ethnicity, religion and generations yet unborn.
President Jonathan is embattled and clearly does not have the luxury to solely take the decision not to run for a second term. His admirers describe him as very humble and a good man, but his detractors have also seen him from the angle of weakness and incompetence. The president has gone down in history as one of the most maligned leaders in the history of Nigeria, as a result of inability to articulate policies correctly and the apparent lack of readiness for the big task of leading a complex country such as Nigeria. He is being held hostage possibly against his will by a combination of factors that has hindered him from being a statesman to being seen from the prism of a regional leader.
However, the current geo-politics is hinged on the age-long bitter struggle for national power between the Nigerian parasitic regional elites. These are men who have perfected the art of inter-ethnic and trans-ethnic political divisions for the sole purpose of acquiring power, pillaging the national treasury and under developing their own people.
Nigerians should understand that President Jonathan is not at their (Nigerians’) beck and call, and no president whether south or north will be at their service as long as political godfathers and interest groups who congregate in secret chambers and decide how to run the nation aground are allowed the freedom to continue.
The only option open to the president is to free himself from the shackles of these powerful political cartels by delivering the democratic goods to the impoverished citizens, and not just the usual earmarks heard at every Federal Executive Council meeting but landmarks and visible infrastructural projects. Until then, he’ll remain a prisoner to the powerful minority.
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