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Published On: Mon, Sep 22nd, 2014

2015: The many obstacles facing Jonathan

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President JonathanBy Ese Awhotu

Nigeria is yet again at the cross road of electing new leaders come 2015.Historical data attest to the fact that Democracy has not been easy in the Nigerian context, arising from many years of-military intervention.

Since the advent of democracy in 1999, the nation has witnessed an unprecedented wave of power tussle sweeping across the country.

Manipulations, attacks, killings have become common place, but ironically, in all of these Nigeria has survived as a nation.

With barely few months to the 2015 elections, intrigues by politicians and their associates have begun to manifest in different shades and proportions. At the centre of it all is President Goodluck Jonathan, whom has been cajoled into contesting the 2015 presidential elections, yet without any personal pronouncement as to whether he would contest or not.

Born on November 20, 1957, President Jonathan, a former Zoologist became Nigeria’s vice-president in the year 2007. He was the Governor of Bayelsa State from Dec 9, 2005 to May 28, 2007, and was sworn in as the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 29 May 07. He became the official President of Nigeria in May 6, year 2010; this comes as the nation prepares to bury its former leader Umaru Yar’Adua, who died on the 5th of May 2010, after a prolonged illness that saw his Vice-President stepped in to his shoes as Acting President. There had been tension in the country as rival political groups fought to assert authority in what was seen as a power vacuum during the period of the illness of Yar’Adua.

Jonathan Goodluck’s political career began when he became involved with the nascent People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the late 1990s. He was elected deputy governor of Bayelsa state in 1999 under the party’s banner. He served in the position until year 2005, when he was elevated to the governorship after the incumbent was charged with corruption and impeached. In 2007 he was selected to be the vice presidential running mate of the PDP’s presidential candidate, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. He and Yar’Adua were elected in April and inaugurated in May.

Jonathan, despite the insecurity problems bedeviling the country enjoys wide support within and outside the PDP.Reports indicates that over 7,000 groups are calling on him to run for the 2015 general election.

The Board of Trustees of the PDP last week resolved that Jonathan should be the sole candidate of the party in the 2015 presidential election.

Professor Jerry Gana, a member of the board told newsmen that by that resolution no governor elected under the platform of the PDP is allowed to contest for the office of the president against Jonathan.

The coast now appears clear for President Jonathan as the four governors of PDP in the North-east and the party’s bigwigs have endorsed him for the 2015 presidential election in the country.

But Jonathan, while expressing gratitude to the PDP for giving him the opportunity to fly the party’s ticket in the 2015 presidential election, said that, “I also have the right of refusal and I thank the party for giving me the opportunity.

However, despite the seeming support enjoyed by President Jonathan in the five states of the South East geo-political zone, some Igbo in the Diaspora under the aegis of World Igbo Congress, WIC, have enjoined their kits and kin back home to shop for a replacement for the president during the 2015 election.

According to a communiqué issued after its convention, the WIC asked each political party in Nigeria to consider nominating an Igbo as its presidential candidate for the election.

The communiqué dated September 9 signed by WIC Chairman, Larry Udorji, and Secretary General, Cyril Nwaorgu, and released to the media, urged Igbo people to unite above partisan politics, internal division and external hostility.

However, without mincing words, it is apparent that the PDP has settled for Jonathan as the party again on Monday declared that no responsible and committed member of the party would challenge the authority of its National Executive Committee (NEC) by seeking to contest its Presidential ticket with President Goodluck Jonathan.

While Jonathan is having a sweet and smooth sail in the PDP,the nation’s main opposition, the All Progressive Congress(APC) is busy strategizing on the best candidate to outwit the president in 2015.This is even as a group of lawyers have headed to court to get legal backing to stop the president from running the 2015 presidential election..

Arising from developments in APC, Jonathan is likely to face former military Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari ; former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar; Kano Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso, Imo Governor Rochas Okorocha and Edo Governor Adams Oshiomhole for the presidential ticket of the APC.

Muhammadu Buhari, born December 17, 1942 is a retired Major General in the Nigerian Army and a former military ruler of Nigeria from December 31, 1983 to August 27, 1985. The term Buharism is ascribed to the Buhari military government. He also ran unsuccessfully for the office of the President of Nigeria in the 2003, 2007 and 2011 elections. His ethnic background is Fulani, and his faith is Islam; he is a native of Daura in Katsina state.

He successfully founded the CPC from where he joined the APC, the general thinking was that Buhari would be the sole presidential candidate of the APC.But this may not be so.

In contention with Buhari is former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.Born 25 November 1946, served as the 2nd elected Vice President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007, on the platform of the PDP, with President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Abubakar’s second term as Vice President was marked by a stormy relationship with President Obasanjo. His bid to succeed Obasanjo did not receive the latter’s support, and it took a judgment of the Supreme Court to allow Abubakar contest after he was initially disqualified by the Independent National Electoral Commission on the grounds that he had been indicted for financial misconduct by an investigating panel set up at Obasanjo’s behest. The Supreme Court decision ordered the electoral commission to restore Abubakar’s name onto the presidential ballot. Abubakar ran on the platform of the Action Congress, having quit the PDP on account of his issues with President Obasanjo. Atiku lost the election, placing third after the late Umaru Yar’Adua and Muhammadu Buhari of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP).

Also in APC presidential race is Mohammed Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, born in Kwankwaso village of Madobi Local Government Area of Kano State in 1956.He was Governor of Kano state from 1999 to 2003. He was re-elected for a second term as Governor on 26 April 2011.Governor Kwankwaso is currently on nationwide consultations over his ambition.

Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha, governor of Imo state is also in contest. He was born 22 September 1962, won the 6 May 2011 gubernatorial election in Imo state. He ran on the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) platform. Rochas defeated his closest rival, incumbent governor Ikedi Ohakim, by a close margin of votes.

The APC is definitely going to have tough primaries as the incumbent governor of Edo state, Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole is been drafted into the race. Born on 4 April 1952, Adams is a former labor leader, turned politician who recently won a landslide victory for a second term as the Governor of Edo state on the platform of the Action Congress

While the APC believes that Jonathan is Nigeria’s problem and lacks the capacity to fix the nation’s woes, the PDP believe that Jonathan is right candidate and has done tremendously well as president; towards this end the party is embarking on a nationwide tour of projects executed by its officials to justify this position.

But as the intrigues of the 2015 presidency heighten, the question being asked is, can these personalities in the APC, including lawyers stop Jonathan. The electorates are to decide, all things being equal.

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