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Does President Jonathan have supporters in the sky?

Tonnie Iredia

Considering that Africans have come to be known as people who prefer to associate with a ruling political party, there is no need to dispute the claim of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that it is the largest political party in Africa. These days, it is becoming clearer that the party is set to clinch another title-the party with the largest number of Nigerians in the diaspora.

If the PDP is attractive, the presence in its fold of the President of the Federal Republic is a greater attraction. Against the backdrop of the uncountable number of people looking up to the party for government patronage, some people who live in the sky may have joined the bandwagon

To identify Nigerians who live in the sky may not be easy. We can only assume that those whose behaviours are not in consonance with what is on ground in the nation probably live in another world-perhaps the sky. Whenever the nation is praying hard to avoid political turmoil, these sky inhabitants often damn the consequences and for personal gains, instigate our leaders to embrace what is transparently wrong. They were in active service when our President had to step aside after June 12, 1993 and when the third term agenda rocked our collective peace. Quite often, these protagonists behave as if they have more at stake than the leaders they seek to perpetuate in office.

SENATE PRESIDENT DAVID MARK; PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN AND THE  PDP NATIONAL CHAIRMAN, ALHAJI BAMANGA TUKUR AT THE PDP FAMILY DINNER IN ABUJA ON THURSDAY
SENATE PRESIDENT DAVID MARK; PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN AND THE PDP NATIONAL CHAIRMAN, ALHAJI BAMANGA TUKUR AT THE PDP FAMILY DINNER IN ABUJA ON THURSDAY

Now, they have emerged, this time to campaign for the 2015 election. Yet, President Jonathan for whose sake they are supposedly working tirelessly says he has not made up his mind on the subject. His appeal to them to wait until 2014 before embarking on the venture, if necessary, has not only fallen on deaf ears, they are ready to damn the consequences of distracting the same President from his transformation agenda.

They are not also bothered by the condemnation of their activities by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which has had to draw attention to Section 99(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (As Amended), that: ‘the period of campaigning in public by every political party shall commence 90 days before polling day and end 24 hours prior to that day’.

The people concerned appear to be above the law because nothing has happened to any of them despite the call by INEC to security agents to apprehend any political party or politicians who are seen campaigning and pasting posters towards 2015 general elections.

It is doubtful if they all live in the sky because we have come face to face with a group identified as the South West chapter of the PDP, which has openly endorsed President Goodluck Jonathan for a second term in 2015. In a communiqué signed by one of them who was described as the Chairman, South West Caretaker Committee of PDP, the group said it endorsed Jonathan because of his leadership qualities and transformation efforts. Should the President not be wary of any group that does not know the difference between the time for electioneering and the time for governance? Besides, is the South West PDP in a position to give the President valuable support?

These questions are pertinent considering that none of the six states in the south west geopolitical zone has a single governor. Of the 18 senatorial districts in the zone, the PDP has only one senator. This appalling poor performance is replicated in the House of Representatives. The PDP is indeed, virtually irrelevant in the local areas because in Nigeria it is governors that “elect” chairmen and councilors of the local governments.

The political adviser to the President ought to take a census of those who are anxious to be seen as friends of Jonathan but who distract the man by jumping the gun. They should be separated from real democrats. Meanwhile, some other PDP leaders of the same south west zone last week took the President to task on the need to accommodate the region in the remaining executive positions in the federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). Even if this group has some sky people, it is a truer reflection of the political reality in the zone as it claims to be meeting to re-strategise and reposition the party in the zone

Are there prominent Nigerians among the people of the sky? If the allegation by the powerful Arewa and Northern Elders that General Onoja and Senator John Pam went to endorse the President for a second term is true, such behaviour belongs to the sky. It is similarly an attitude of the sky if the anger of the elders is that it was not a northerner that their two colleagues went to endorse. The point here is that the sky is not necessarily for the hungry.

A look at the political history of Nigeria would easily show that there are many VIPs in the sky. Not too long ago, our first lady who was in her state –Rivers- for some family engagements visited some traditional rulers. At the palace of the Nyewali of Rumeme community in Port Harcourt, she was assured of the support of the people for her husband come 2015. The monarch also reportedly condemned those he described as Northern apologists, accusing them of betraying their brother, President Jonathan by supporting a candidate of Northern extraction for the 2015 elections.

A traditional ruler, who knows the candidates of an election before the nomination process starts, is obviously a seer with sky powers. If many of our traditional rulers are that powerful, it is probably because as the companions of the gods, the sky is a natural habitat for them.

Is it surprising therefore that they have already endorsed Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State for a second term ahead of the coming governorship election in the state? At a recent public event in the state, the Ataoja of Osogbo speaking on behalf  of the Obas told the governor that “All Obas in Osun are saying emphatically that you should move forward, because, we know that one good term deserves another”. It is not likely to be different from the wishes of the Osun oracle.


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