To the Southwest and indeed to the not so kosher Obasanjo crowd in what is left of the PDP there, this is a joke taken too far! Whether Jonathan likes it or not, he will pay for these oversights!
If the Southwest were angry, try the core North! The President may be dashing brand new oil blocs to the Northern elites but the feelers on the street are not good at all for him both from the standpoint of the performance of the security forces against Boko Haram and the marginalization of Hausa-Fulanis by his government. The mixture of ethno-religious demagoguery that has become the daily stunt tactics of the PDP and the Transformation Agenda crowd is increasingly marginalizing this large pool of voters that will be motivated against this President come February. The Southwest-Core North coalition is one the President will ignore at his own peril!
It is in performance that the Western and Northern arguments unite, and this is the real underbelly of this president. Forget his comic jingles comparing him with Saintly Mandela, or the e-rats his party have now deployed online to convince us that he is the coming Messiah; Nigerians are unanimous that this President has underperformed. Take the issue of corruption, there is no doubt that a man that pardons an international fugitive, awards oil blocs to his family members and is now ranked the sixth richest African president will not need our help raping the treasury for another term! If those were not big enough scandals, remember the missing $20 billion? How about Malabu Oil or the Atlantic Energy $1.5bn deal? How about the arms deals gone sour in South Africa, or the 10 billion naira jet scandal? The chains of corruption strangles this administration and probably blinds them.
His performance taken further, people look at his half hearted implementation of the emergency infrastructure turnarounds be it the East-West Coastal road that is taking forever, or the Lagos-Ibadan located at the heartland of his opposition, or the rather disgraceful Port Harcourt International Airport and they approximate these anomalies to a bumbling President! Furthermore, the sham of a privatization of the power companies that have seen his government bailing out his buddies to whom he sold the companies, and who are now cranking fees out on innocent consumers without supplying power will not do him any good either! In short, this is a President that lacks a record of stellar performance.
Taken together, his greatest performance shortfall will however be Security. Even his ardent supporter cannot but agree that the Boko Haram crisis was badly handled. For years, this President blamed the opposition while bombs flew across the North and today; with three Shekaraus now dead and our boys now being slated for execution due to his thieving Generals the best photo-op the President could afford was once with the alleged sponsor of the criminals in Borno! It will be very unlikely the opposition will not remind us of his lack of backbone, or our missing girls- I don’t think the North or the West or the Majority States will simply write the President a pass if the opposition presents a credible alternative.
Of all the President’s Achilles heels, however, it is the misplaced confidence and sycophancy of his camp that promise to provide the greatest shocker in 2015. The fallacy of the President’s camp stands on few linked fantasies or actions. They tell the President that he is actually popular, while pocketing tidy sums that never go to the local level for distribution for election purposes. The president, as a result, commits to free and fair elections. To prove their theory, they have arranged a consensus nomination for the President in the PDP that is denying him the one singular opportunity to re-introduce himself to the Nigerian people as well as bunch of fake rallies. Because his constituency believes these half-truths, they’re banking on incumbency! These combustible mixes will make for a great Nollywood movie, but it is ongoing.
Taking this essay for what is worth, the elections ultimately will be decided by voters in an increasingly politically conscious electorate; social media, mobile phone cameras and a strong advocacy network will make the 2015 elections the most difficult one to rig by all standards. The mathematics ultimately will play a great role in the outcome, but so will the sentiments.
The prediction-based models (developed and can be downloaded at this link) based on the 2011 election have ominous signs for both parties; certainly, before the opposition pops the champagne, they should note the following: even in the worst-case scenario (with a popular ticket), the President only loses 49-51. This reality means a real hard fought contest awaits us in 2015 if the APC can muster balls to nominate a common sense ticket that breaks with the past. The ball is in their court.
Michael Oluwagbemi wrote in from Lagos