By Tony Momoh
Oh yes, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is a property, someone’s property.  But who owns him or who are those who own him?  It is obvious from the question that it is possible that he can be owned by more than one person.

The first claimant is the family, that is the father, mother, wife and children.  Our concept of the nuclear family in Africa is to include uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews in the category of father, mother, wife and children.

This African concept of the family unit is the one I adopt in my presentation today.  It has the first claim on Property Jonathan.  They know about his birth and growing up and the final return home wherever else he may go to.

But for the fact that we know him at post today where he is the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, we would not be discussing him here now.

His being president thus widens the ownership claim.  We own him, as Nigerians, 140 million of us.  He is our father because he is the one on the driving seat.  Yar’Adua was, for the same reason, our father when he was there.

So also were Olusegun  Obasanjo and Abdulsalami Abubakar and  Sani Abacha and Ibrahim Babangida and Muhammadu Buhari and Obasanjo at his first coming, and Murtala Mohammed and Yakubu Gowon and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa/ Nnamdi Azikiwe.

You see Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and Nnamdi together!  They shared the job that one man does today, that Jonathan handles today .  While Abubakar was Prime Minister and so the chief executive of the country, Azikiwe was the president, head of state and commander in chief of the armed forces until 1966 when the military intervened.

When we returned to civil rule in 1979, we changed the simple parliamentary system we inherited from Britain.  Britain still sticks to that more manageable form of governing the people in which the only full time workers are the prime minister and his ministers.

The claim on Property Jonathan at the level of being on the driving seat at the centre seemingly has nothing to do with the fact that he is Izon from Bayelsa State.  But because of what we have made of office-holding in Nigeria, it does have everything to do with where you come from.

So whether we like it or not, the man in charge today is Izon, from Bayelsa State, from the South-South geo-political zone, from the South, from Nigeria.  And because his presence there is a result of a political action, the claim on him as property at the level of political parties is first by the Peoples Democratic Party.

This excludes claims by the Action Congress of Nigeria, the All Nigeria Peoples Party, the Congress for Progressive Change and 59 other registered political parties in Nigeria, at the last count.  I do not know whether you can sense what is emerging from this aspect of a claim to the property that Jonathan is.  You see, property is there to gain from, not to lose having it.

A house brings you rent and a farm brings you crops.  Politics for us is a business and should bring you the gains associated with  such businesses.  From the family level to the national level, in the order of claims on Property Jonathan, it is to be conceded that the group that would be most empowered would be the family group, and all other groups that buy into or invest in the Property that Jonathan is.

Can you begin to see why there is this explosive demand on Property Jonathan to contest the 2011 elections?  Look at the roll call of those asking that he goes for the top seat – Obasanjo,  Lar,  Anenih, Jerry Gana, Nzeribe, Zwingina, Daboh, Mantu. There are other names in support but they do not belong in the category of those mentioned for reasons anyone interested in public affairs would know.

During last week, leaders of 1,027 groups (a Vanguard report said) supporting Property Jonathan’s 2011 presidential ambition urged the President to declare without further delay his intention to run for the top office.  Did you see that?  A whopping 1,027 groups!  And on the same page of the paper was the report that only 10 per cent of Nigerians are now in paid employment and that 40 per cent of the youths are idle.

On the same day, there were reports that South-East and South-South leaders had met and had agreed to work together to ensure the actualisation of the push for Jonathan to be elected in next year’s election. The host was Izon leader Chief Edwin Clark.

Edwin Clark and Alamesieyegha as Izon leaders and so members of the Izon family, would be failing in their duty not to market Property Jonathan.

Is it not obvious then that the loudness of a call to market Property Jonathan will be a function not only of the closeness of the trumpeter to the family and the widening circle there-from but also the party you belong to and your place in it its structure?  If Umaru Musa Yar’Adua had been alive, even on his sick bed, the call for him to continue to rule would never have been less.

History is my witness.  So, Jonathan who as Vice President, was sidelined even by some of his own people is today the song  on every hungry person’s lips.  And because of the high stakes involved and because it is not everyone that can be fully catered for in due time, the value of Property Jonathan will drop when he tells the world that he will contest the elections of 2011.

I will be proud to hear that as a South-southerner, but that is where the commitment will end if I must be honest with myself.  My disqualification is that I am not a member of PDP.

I know that at the end of the day when the chips are down, PDP will not look sideways when they pounce on the cake of contest to share it, the cake everyone has refused to be part of baking.  To have me support Property Jonathan therefore, I must know what is there for me at the end of the day.

The work to endorse Jonathan must therefore be seen to start from his home base, Bayelsa State, which was Brass Division in the old Eastern Region and so is too insignificant in population to hold anybody to ransom.

Why?  Because the whole country, repeat, the whole country is just one ward in the presidential election.  Neither the South-West, nor even  the local government area of Obasanjo in Ogun State  endorsed him  in 1999.  But he won because the North gave him the vote.

Today, even if Bayelsa seems to be in disarray (the deputy governor impeached and his property bombed; the new deputy governor’s property bombed and the governor’s property bombed), Nigeria’s Property Jonathan can still win in a free and fair election if he is endorsed by the other zones.

But there must be value added to his name.  I am worried that a lot does not seem to be happening in the direction of  pin-pointing  priorities that should add that value to Property Jonathan.

elebrating 50 years by laying out massive programmes cannot be a priority in a country that is not restructured to being a true federal state, nor the purchase of three brand new jets for the presidential fleet that already has eight operational aircraft.


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