By Clifford Ndujihe
THOSE opposed to President Goodluck Jonathan spending another four years at Aso Rock have some high hurdles to scale.
One, they must stop him from agreeing to run. If that fails, they must stop him from picking the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential ticket. If they stumble on this hurdle, then they must mobilize Nigerians and vote him out at the election proper.
A host of opposition politicians across the country have been working on the first hurdle for a while, moving from advice to criticism and threat. Some have even gone to court to determine whether or not Jonathan’s re-election is not equivalent to a third term.
Although, President Jonathan has not said whether or not he is going to seek re-election events indicate that he is likely to run. That leaves his opponents with stopping him in the PDP or the election proper.
As things are, stopping him at the polls is the only option left if the avalanche of endorsements the president is getting across the country is anything to go by. Most of the people that would have made it difficult for President Jonathan to get the PDP ticket have left the ruling party for the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).
Currently, he has the support and endorsement of most of the PDP governors. He also has the South-East and South-South PDP. Penultimate week, South- South leaders and members of the PDP in the zone adopted President Jonathan as their presidential candidate for the 2015 general elections.
Most of the 18 PDP governors and governor-elect (Ayo Fayose) are in support of Jonathan. If the entire PDP Governors Forum (PDP-GF) buys into the move, which was part of the resolve of the Governor Godswill Akpabio-led body months ago the party’s presidential primaries will be a coronation ceremony for Jonathan.
At a meeting mid-July between the President and the PDP Governors led by the Akwa Ibom state governor, Godswill Akpabio and PDP members of the House of Representatives, Jonathan was also endorsed to proceed with his second term ambition.
The meeting was reportedly attended by Governors Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa), Sullivan Chime (Enugu), Theodore Orji (Abia), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Martins Elechi (Ebonyi) and Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta), Idris Wada (Kogi), Gabriel Suswam (Benue), Seidu Dakingari (Kebbi), Ibrahim Dakwambo (Gombe), Isa Yuguda (Bauchi), Ibrahim Shema (Katsina) and the Deputy Governor of Sokoto State, Mukhtar Shagari.
If things go according to plans, the president is expected to declare his intention this month or early next month after the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party would have summoned a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting to approve the guidelines for the presidential, governorship, National and State Assembly elections.
The Calabar endorsement
The South-South PDP leaders and members’ endorsement of Jonathan on August 5 in Calabar, Cross River State, sources said, is a peep into what is to be expected across the country very soon.
Speaking at the Calabar stakeholders meeting, convened by the National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu as part of his tour of the six geo-political zones of the country, members of the party assured Muazu that the South-South zone will vote overwhelmingly for President Jonathan in 2015.
The meeting was attended by Governors Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta State), Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom) and the host, Senator Liyel Imoke as well as the Chairman,Board of Trustees of the PDP, Chief Tony Anenih and other officials of the party including political office holders.
Commending the people for their confidence in President Jonathan’s administration, Mu’azu called for caution to check destabilizing moves of the opposition political parties, saying: “You must not allow opposition to put us on coalition course. We must be very careful as we move ahead, if you have facts and figures, challenge me or those who matter but don’t spread rumours. Our leader, President Jonathan has performed creditably well and we must work and have respect for one another, we must work together for the purpose of today and the future generation.”
On his part: Chief Anenih said: “South-South is the home of PDP, I want the national chairman of our party to go home with a word from the father of President Jonathan that come 2015, Dr Jonathan will run for the Presidency.”
Governor Akpabio stated: “In our state, there is no shaking when it comes to victory for the PDP. Akwa Ibom is safe for the President and our state will be among the first states to give the PDP more than one million votes in the 2015 Presidential elections.”
On his part, Dickson said: “We in Bayelsa are very happy with the support you are giving Mr. President who is building a new Nigeria; Bayelsa is safe and steady for the PDP.”
Also, Imoke noted, “the cry of endorsement shows that President Jonathan is performing, we thank the president for bridging every gap that has existed and we will work with you to deliver our successors to the PDP.”
Others who spoke at the occasion and enumerated reasons Jonathan should re-contest and be re-elected in 2015 include, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, Deaconess Elizabeth Essien, Senator Ita Enang and Chief Dan Orbih.