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Published On: Mon, Dec 1st, 2014

2015: Will Jonathan survive the battle?

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President Goodluck JonathanThere is no doubt that President Goodluck Jonathan and his party, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are fighting fierce battle from all angles for lead position in the political firmament of the nation. The desperation each is displaying shows they are doing everything humanly possible and even stopping at nothing to make sure they capture power come 2015. Could they both lose out? Ochiaka Ugwu writes

These are certainly not the best of times for both President Goodluck Jonathan and PDP. GEJ as he is fondly called by his political admirers is still unrelenting in the grudge war against his main opponent the All Progressives Congress (APC) over its wide acceptability even by Jonathan’s own people. It is on record that most South South big wigs are not impressed by his performance and have vowed to teach him a bitter lesson in the coming election. The former Bayelsa governor, Timipre Silva, who has since pitched tent with APC has vowed to give the president a serious challenge in his home state over Jonathan’s leading role in stopping his gubernatorial pursuit in 2012 which was won by Hon. Sarieke Dickson. Besides fighting opposition, Jonathan is now engaged with his fellow party members who are bent on putting a clog to his wheel of progress in clinching the party’s presidential ticket.

Despite his political acumen, his name is becoming a uniting factor for all those who claim that it is time to see the back of the Ijaw born Zoologist in Nigeria politics. Even worst of enemies have become best of friends and strange bed fellows have started realigning together with the intent of stopping his reelection bid in 2015 by adopting the popular saying that enemy of my enemy is my friend.

It was no surprise that when he was slated as sole candidate for the ruling party that some PDP members and even Nigerians from the larger society put aside their many differences to oppose the proposal. It was because of the controversy it generated coupled with the pressure put on the party by these people that made the president to down tool by asking the party to widen the horizon that will ensure a level playing ground and to accommodate the aspirations of the likes of the son of the former Prime Minister of the nation, Alhaji Abduljalili Tafawa Balewa and Mrs Duke Abiola all gearing up to square it out with Jonathan in the primaries.

The first battle for survival was when President Jonathan in collaboration with party establishment tried to foist himself as sole candidate. It all started early last year, when Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT), Chief Tony Anenih, mooted the idea that the PDP should consider granting automatic ticket to Jonathan as the Party’s candidate in the 2015 presidential election and gave expression to the idea at two important meetings of PDP stakeholders, first in Asaba and second in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, some members among them former Political Adviser to the President, Alhaji Ahmed Gulak, had declared that Anenih was on his own.

It was gathered that Jonathan sought the offer of first refusal through most of his trusted aides in the party fearing that he may lose the primaries since he cannot trust most of the stakeholders who may not be well disposed to his presidency. The proponents of sole ticket did say that, over the years PDP primaries have been the most serious sources of rancour and disunity in the party and it makes candidate invest so much resources and energy fighting party men in the primaries that should have gone into the larger battle against political rivals.

They contended that they don’t need to continue the tradition of internal warfare and hope that they would have enough energy left to win elections. Consequently, they however, proposed to evolve a new system of selecting flag-bearers at the presidential and governorship levels that would preserve unity and reserve energy and resources for the greater battle for political power.

Although, Jonathan successfully installed his cronies in party positions just to concentrate all powers around himself knowing full well that loyalty has its own limit in social reengineering. It was said that he single handedly made the former Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur even when it was crystal clear that most governors and party sympathizers were opposed to his candidature.

Hardly has Bamanga set down to work, Jonathan was to discover to his disappointment that the Bamanga who was once his loyalist would be taken from his grip by his rivals in the PDP. This explains why Bamanga was marked for slaughter and was removed subsequently. To punish him more for his political inequities, he was appointed Chairman of a dormant National Railway Corporation (NRC).

The opposition against Mr. President is increasing by the day. It reached to head following his decision to contest for the presidential ticket of the PDP.

However, the problem of the economy is another case in point that may throw a spanner in the plans of the Ijaw born politician. Our revenue earning is dwindling by the day, under the stress of falling price of oil in the international market. Due to the drastic and persistent nature of this fall from the highs of $115 in June of this year, economic experts have expected President Jonathan to put on his thinking cap towards salvaging the nation. Moreover, the fact that it continues to fall unabated means that it is not getting better. Yet nothing drastically has been done to remedy the situation before things get out of hand.

As it is right now, our economy cannot fully withstand the current trend of the current oil market. Agreed it is not Jonathan’s fault that the market is volatile but it will be his fault if he refuses to learn from the mistakes of previous price falls, especially 2008, to plan quickly on how to ease the pain of the people. This is not the time to paint over the rust, discussions and the choices he must make now must be based on economics not politics.

To address this issue, he came up with austerity measure which most analysts have described as a gimmick, an intention to deceive Nigerians that something is being done to bring back the economy on track. They queried the sincerity of Jonathan’s austerity noting that the president and other political officeholders are still living flamboyantly by keeping long convoy which is a drain on the nations till.

The submission to the will of President Jonathan by his party nonetheless, the former Vice President is still expected to have a difficult time trying to retain his political hegemony given the many political wars waiting at his doorstep.  His party members’ desperate attempt to displace him in the party primaries, the impeachment threat by the National Assembly and the mother of it all which will certainly come from the opposition APC in the event of Jonathan winning the PDP ticket will be a tough one for him. Whether President Jonathan will scale these hurdles lined up for him, only time will tell.

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