It is all but out of the bag now – President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election ambition. Recently, organs of his party, the PDP, gave him the carte blanche to go into the 2015 presidential election as its flag bearer. Reacting to his endorsement by the party’s BoT , governors forum and NEC, which effectively rules out the possibility of an internal challenge, Jonathan declared, “The party leaders endorsed me; by that endorsement I have the right of first refusal. That is what is done in advanced democracies. It shows that the PDP is advancing”. He mentioned, in particular, American democracy.
We have no problem with PDP over how it decides its presidential candidate. Even when it chooses to hold primaries it is in name only. Or when Jonathan keeps holding up the façade of indecision.However, when the President of a country of 160 million, some of them among the best historians in the world, blatantly lies through his teeth, it is cause for real worry.
Firstly, it is not true that in America, all an incumbent needs to stand for re-election is arbitrary endorsement by the organs of his party. He still has to go through the ritual of primaries to decide how many delegates he will take to the party’s national convention which will confirm his nomination. It is also not true that sitting American presidents have the “right of first refusal” to stand for a second term of office.
A PDP topnotch from Adamawa state, Dr. Umar Ardo, could not hide his embarrassment by a lying President and leader of his party. In a 700-word article published in several national dailies, he proved that in America, some sitting presidents had been dumped in favour of more saleable presidential materials. He said, for instance, “In 1912, former President Theodore Roosevelt challenged incumbent President William Taft, but was defeated by the incumbent. In 1976, Gov. Ronald Reagan challenged President Gerald Ford but was narrowly defeated in the Republican Party’s Presidential Primaries. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter was challenged by two prominent politicians, Senator Ted Kennedy and Jerry Brown. Carter narrowly won the primaries with 51% but lost in the general election to Governor Reagan of California. President Ronald Reagan as the Republican Party incumbent himself was challenged in 1984 by Harold Stassen and Benjamin Fernandez who together scored less than two percent of the total votes cast.
“The successor to Reagan, George Bush, Senior, was also challenged as an incumbent in 1992 for the Republican Party’s presidential ticket by a broadcaster, Pat Buchannan, who polled more than 22% of the votes in the contest. Also, President Bill Clinton who defeated Bush in the general elections was similarly challenged in 1996 by Lyndon La Rouche, a political activist who first contested the Democratic Party presidential ticket in 1976, and former governor of Pennsylvania, Bob Casey. The latter’s challenge was so serious it was widely believed that but for his poor heath, Casey was most set to defeat incumbent President Clinton in that year’s presidential primaries.
“To top it all, even President Barack Obama did not go unchallenged in 2012. It is all too well known that there was presidential primary election in 2012 in which John Wolfe Jnr., a renowned lawyer from Tennessee, contested against Obama for the Democratic Party’s presidential ticket. Of course, Obama roundly defeated him, but the president was not left unchallenged”.
Those are facts that a goggle search on the Internet would reveal. But the President’s men are too lazy to do that. And we have a president that simply does not care to confirm what his bootlickers tell him. Recall that last year, his speechwriters misinformed him that Transparency International had reported a hefty improvement in Nigeria’s corruption rating, from ”one of the most corrupt nations” to one of the most improved. TI denied it. But Jonathan had taken the lie and fed it to the whole nation.
In this current case, it is possible the President knew he lied. That was not the first time. Another lie would do no harm, not even to his re-election ambition. His endorsement by his party means he can lie his way into office again next year, using PDP’s massive rigging machine.