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How Jonathan runs Nigeria

*The weight on Yar’Adua, Jonathan relationship
*Gags aides, N-Delta Elders
*Reduces Yar’Adua’s 7-Point Agenda to 3
*Power, N-Delta, Electoral reform top priorities
*The Abiola connection

By Emmanuel Aziken, Abuja

Acting President  Goodluck Jonathan is set to confound political pundits and jobbers with a resolve not to contest next year’s presidential elections, associates of the Acting President have told Saturday Vanguard.

Jonathan, the first Acting President in the nation’s Fourth Republic, it has been learnt,  is poised to leave a history that will differentiate his legacy from that of many of his predecessors after May 2011.

The Acting President, according to associates, has set power, Niger Delta and electoral reform at the top of a sub-set of an agenda derived from the seven point- agenda inherited from President Umaru Yar‘Adua.

Acting President Goodluck Jonathan

Giving an insight into how Jonathan’s is running the country, one of his associates who spoke to Saturday Vanguard on the basis of  confidentiality said:

”He is a highly consultative person and you need to see this in how he responded to the crisis in Jos. Besides the strict instructions to the security agencies to restore normalcy on the Plateau, he has also had many consultative meetings with Plateau stakeholders that have greatly helped in defusing the tension and reducing mutual suspicion among the people,” one source said of the meetings that were held without media exposure.

One notable effort by Jonathan in addressing the Jos crisis was his decision not to set up another panel of enquiry on the most recent crisis.

“He said that there were many panels of enquiry that were established in the past on crises in Jos since 1994 and he pledged that this would be the last one and one of his directives was that the reports by past panels should be implemented.”

It was thus not surprising that the reports of some of those panels are now being released, it was noted.
Also indicative of the direction of the Jonathan presidency, according to his associates, was his attitude towards the recent Anambra gubernatorial election and the re-run election for the Etsako Central Constituency seat in the Edo State House of Assembly.

Remarkably, Etsako Central is the home base of his Principal Private Secretary, Chief Mike Oghiadome, who served as deputy to Governor Lucky Igbinedion between 1999 and 2007.

“In both elections, he called the Inspector General of Police to ensure that there is no security incident and he vowed that the will of the people must prevail.”

“Etsako was indeed a test case for anyone watching the resoluteness of  Jonathan as he did not mind the interest of Oghiadome.”

In both Etsako Central and Anambra, Jonathan’s dominant Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lost and without much security incidents.

His consultative approach it was learnt is, nevertheless, time stretching.

Jonathan, it was learnt, wakes up around 5 a.m. in the morning and between 6.30 a.m. and 7.00 a.m. he attends the daily morning devotion that holds in the chapel within his Akinola Aguda residence within the Presidential Villa. From there, he commences a daily routine of presidential activities that many times stretch up to 11.00 p.m. and sometimes when he takes files and memoranda home for further action.

Jonathan, according to one of his associates, is also determined to remain faithful to his boss, President Yar‘Adua in the belief that the more than two months stalemate that affected the governance of the country was deliberately stoked without the President’s knowledge.

In exonerating President Yar‘Adua, the associates point to the political background of the President’s family. “The Yar‘Adua family has paid its dues to Nigeria and have also paid the cost and don’t forget that the President’s elder brother died in prison on account of his inclination to democracy,” the associate said in reference to the suspicious death in Abakaliki prison of Gen. Shehu Musa Yar‘Adua, the former Army General who later became a thorn to the military dictatorship of Gen. Sani Abacha.

Noting the bond between Jonathan and President Yar‘Adua and how the kitchen cabinet repeatedly sought to
damage that relationship, one insider disclosed how President Yar‘Adua gave Jonathan the task of filling board appointments in the nation’s parastatals.

That job, it was learnt, was subsequently subverted by some elements within the kitchen cabinet.
Besides, it was also disclosed that when President Yar‘Adua wanted to go on leave last year,  that he wrote a letter to the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives informing them in fulfillment of section 145 of the constitution. That constitutional requirement was meant to transfer power to Jonathan as Acting President.

The letter, Saturday Vanguard was intercepted by elements within the kitchen cabinet who instructed the National Assembly Adviser, Senator Mohammed Abba Aji not to deliver it.

“Their argument was that Obasanjo didn’t do it. But they also said that it could set up a dangerous pattern that could cost the President much politically.”

”The President was told that the National Assembly could refuse to acknowledge his letter when he tells them that he is back,” one source privy to the development disclosed.

Remarkably, associates of then VP who spoke on condition of anonymity revealed Dr. Jonathan’s abiding loyalty to President Umaru Yar‘Adua, even as they absolved the ailing President from the perceived disdain poured on him by elements within the President’s kitchen cabinet.

Besides drawing a scene of efforts made by the kitchen cabinet to break the initial bond of comradeship that trailed and followed President Yar‘Adua and Dr. Jonathan in their first days in office, the associates disclosed how Dr. Jonathan bound his immediate staff not to talk on the issues of the President’s illness and the transmission of a letter to the National Assembly on his medical vacation.

Following the President’s medical evacuation and the brouhaha that followed, Dr. Jonathan it was learnt, instilled dread into his aides when he told them that their mobile telephones were being monitored and warned them not to discuss or insinuate anything that would bring disharmony within the presidency.

Besides his aides, the VP, it was learnt through one of his trusted aides, also mobilized political leaders from the South-South not to see the issues affecting the transmission or lack of transmission of a letter of medical vacation to the National Assembly as his issue or a South-South issue.

“Abiola’s mistake was that his June 12 mandate was reduced by some people from a national issue to a South West issue, and those around him learnt from and so when this issue started, the first thing he did was to help silent opinion leaders from the South-South.

”The issue of transmitting a letter or not is not a South-South issue. It is a national and constitutional issue which he,  from the beginning, determined not to see as a personal issue or from the prism of a South-South issue,” a long standing associate of the Acting President confided.


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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.