May 7, 2010

Struggle for Vice-President begins

By Ben Agande
The death of President Umaru Yar’Adua has brought to an end another chapter in the country and the beginning of another.

In the last seven months, Yar’Adua’s absence created a tense moment for the country as the uncertainty shrouding his true state of health continued to haunt vice president Goodluck Jonathan who was empowered by the national assembly to Act as the president of the country.

For the acting president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, the death of President Yar’Adua is the end of a distraction that the refusal of the then first lady, Turai Yar’Adua to allow him see his boss constituted. But it is also the beginning of another distraction as he would come under intense pressure in the next couple of days to name a candidate to be presented to the national assembly for confirmation as the next vice president.

Next vice-president to come from North

In the peculiar Nigerian politics, the next vice president would be from the northern part of the country and must be a Muslim to balance the sensitivity of a deeply religious and region conxious people.

But in making this decision, it is imperative for the President Goodluck Jonathan who has the opportunity of writing his name in gold in a country whose leaders are hardly bothered about how they are perceived by their countrymen, to look beyond the narrow prism of regional and religious balancing and pick a candidate that would truly help in realizing the objectives of his government.

Already, with the late president barely settled on his grave, the political permutation on who would be the next vice president that would be chosen by Dr Goodluck Jonathan who appears to be living his name.

Although names have continued to be mentioned on who would be the next vice president, the ultimate decision would be taken by Dr Goodluck Jonathan. It is clear that in the delicate political structure on ground, it is obvious that Dr Goodluck would need all the luck he has to be able to make a decision that would not only make his job of governing the country less difficult but would inspire the confidence of Nigerians in the political process.

Names being mentioned

Already, some names are featuring on the list of those who are seen to have the capacity or are well placed, bearing in mind their pedigree to be in contention for appointment as vice president.

Yayale Ahmed

Yayale Ahmed came to national limelight as it were when he was appointed the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation. He has since then, remained in government after being appointed Minister of Defence by President Umaru Yar’Adua before he was again redeployed as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

Sule Lamido

Another name that keeps popping up is that of the Governor of Jigawa state, Sule Lamido. He has a rich history of politicking and is largely seen as politically savvy and urbane. After several years of being on the sideline as a pro-masses politician, Sule Lamido whose knowledge about contemporary political issues is as profound as it is robust was appointed the Minister of Foreign Affairs by President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Nuhu Ribadu

Another name that is being mentioned as possible candidate for the vice presidency is the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu.

Some watchers have noted that with the expressed determination of Dr Jonathan to fight corruption which has become the bane of the country, the choice of Ribadu whose tenure at EFCCt sent fears into the minds of corrupt public officers, as the vice president would instill confidence in the people especially the international community.