BY OBINNA OKWUAKA
IN a recent discussion, a concerned Nigerian harped on the results of the concluded National Assembly (NASS) elections, expressing confidence in the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) and stating that Nigeria can restore her values and preserve her unity if the voting pattern is sustained.
One of the discussants also noted that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) underscored its supremacy in the Northern states over the Congress for Progressive Change,CPC, and the All Nigeria Peoples Party ,ANPP, and advocated a replication of it in the impending presidential election to enhance Nigeria’s full integration.
They must have had the South-South zone in mind who seem to be cautioning on anything that will tamper with the unity of the nation by not allowing them to produce the president of Nigeria in the next election or dispensation.
They are not happy that it took a political force majeure by the death of the former President, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, for them to produce the President of Nigeria for only 10 months. That now they want it for four years, only one term, there seems to be a deliberate policy by a section of the country to deny them of that.
Indeed, they have grimly agitated for the presidency of Nigeria to the extent of embracing militarism and sounding tantrums of national disintegration. To them, if they cannot produce a president for the country with their overwhelming contribution to the national economy what remains of the future of other minor ethnic groups of the country in doing so?
They are not pretending about contesting or having it this time around and have put forward one of their own, President Jonathan. Other contenders for the office include Gen Muhammadu Buhari of the CPC, Malam Nuhu Ribadu, Action Congress of Nigeria,ACN, and Malam Ibrahim Shekaru’a, Kano State governor and flag bearer of the ANPP.
To all intents and purposes, the personages are worthy combatants who have a track record of public service. In my assessment, the least among the lot is Nuhu Ribadu who only rose to prominence during the Presidency of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. He was the Chairman of the anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,EFCC.
But of all the gladiators, Goodluck Jonathan stands out highly educated. He has a humble background that felt poverty, understands the common touch and feels the common pulse. Many people have commended his political deft moves, his dexterity in social and political engineering, high sense of vision and mission, humility and personal success story, hardwork and dedication to duty.
It is unfortunate that the race track is crowded with no less than 19 contestants. The saying that the more the merrier certainly will not apply here. The presidency of a country like Nigeria or any country for that matter should not be an all-comers affair. There was this vice presidential candidate who appeared for debate and insisted on using his own mother tongue to answer questions. Haba!
But there are supposedly serious candidates who should not have offered themselves for the office. At least not this time around. One such person is Nuhu Ribadu, running on the ticket of ACN. For a start, not too long ago he described the then AC(without Nigeria) as a congress of thieves and its founder as a man who should be in jail.
In the elections, Ribadu will be on the ballot as ACN candidate. And the man he said should be in prison has been campaigning with and for him throughout Nigeria, an obvious fact he has been living in denial. And that calls to question his honour. And when you have seeming lack of honour with scant regard for gratitude, you have problem on your hand.
Ribadu is a beneficiary of Jonathan’s large heart. For years he was a man on the run. Former President Yar’Adua would not have spared him but for death. Jonathan came and let him back to Nigeria, restored his controversial police rank and rehabilitated him. The only way he knows to show gratitude was to begin to work against his benefactor. How can such a man be trusted?
Ordinarily, the presidential election should be a no contest. But it is not because a few persons in the Northern part of country made it a duty in the run-up to the PDP primaries to pick its president, and even after, to whip up emotions and sentiments, and to inflame passion by stoking the controversial issue of zoning of the Presidency.
It is sad and regrettable that Ciroma and his co-travellers still appear not to have accepted that the dominant currency is the Nigerian consensus. With just days to the presidential poll, it bears reminding them that the presidential election in which Jonathan is running, and in which he is adjudged the front-runner is, among other things, a payback time for the North.
Mr.Okwuaka, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Lagos.