Even to the politically blind, the path is no longer a convolution, and to the deaf, the musical tones and lyrics are no longer hard to hear. If you are deft in the sign-language of politics you will agree with me that by now, every indication imaginable points to the fact that Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is running for a second-term in office as the president of the most beautiful nation in the world.
Although he has not affirmed it officially, GEJ is running not as the old Goodluck with a potluck that anybody can just shove around like a hopeless and hapless houseboy, he is running fast and furious with wits, wisdom, and whooping monetary wherewithal as the sitting president of the giant of Africa.
The daily jarring din, and the hourly hoopla and brouhaha from quarters in and outside of Nigeria adjudge that on the watch of GEJ as president, the hand of the clock of progress has not ticked forward, but tilted backwards. The promises of regular supply of electricity have not been fulfilled, the nation’s economy is on a life-support, our monies are missing in stashes and batches, and corrupt fellas in this administration are shielded from comeuppance as they continue to enjoy the molly coddles of a presidency that has become an activist in cronyism and clannishness. These are the claims of the president’s many opponents.
Many have asked and queried why the president won’t just pro bono publico renege from running. It will serve the co-existence and unity of Nigeria best if he does, they have counseled. But this man is adamant on a surprise sprint without the Generals who bottle-fed him politically to fame and power. His mouthpieces who are now hourly growing in number as the Declaration Day (D-Day) draws closer, are feeding us with what is going on in the palace of “King Jonathan”, a man many may be grossly underestimating as a politician. What are the feelers this president is picking up on his political GPS emboldening him to run? I will discuss just one in this piece and I will make it simple.
Although the president’s party, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) controls 18 of the 36 states in the nation while 3 opposition parties control the rest, the party is now perceived a cankerworm, palmerworm and caterpillar that are ruining Nigeria. Many of those bigwigs who used to beat their chest about the indomitability of the party have also voiced this same opinion over the last several months, hence their mass movement to the opposition party All Progressives Congress (APC). The movement of these men, as hard as it can be on any sitting president seeking to retain his seat, is now seen by the president’s men as a blessing in a scary masquerade’s mask.
During my short visit to the country last week, I spoke at length with sources in the presidency in Abuja who told me that the men and women who are now kicking the president and his party to the curbs were the ones who stalled the president’s agenda in the first place with their godfather-like sway and swagger. Their dictatorial antiques have thwarted projects and policies that GEJ personally believes could move the nation forward, and their reckless and wanton impositions on the president regarding who and who-not to appoint to certain positions and offices have made the man look bad in the eyes of Nigerians, my presidency sources claimed.
Whatever happened with this administration in missteps and mistakes at the onset were largely due to brash and bruising counsels and hamstringing hand-twisting by these men and women to whom the president couldn’t initially say “no”. We were told that the president is not losing sleep over the men who have left the party in droves, but a handful of them in the Northern part of the country are being courted so that their loyalties to the president’s cause of winning a re-election can be reawakened. How far this move will douse the raging fire in the hearts of politicians from a region that believes it is its time to reign remains to be seen through our observatory. What does this now mean for the president as a person? The mass movement has now given him the opportunity to carve out his own identity and be his own man, and the new brand when perfected, will be an irresistible attraction to Nigerian voters, the president’s men believe.
GEJ is not a master orator, he will not sweep you off your feet like the Obamas of this world, but is this man not being grossly underestimated by those who seek to take the plum job from him? Is this president not being grossly underestimated by those who think he is slow and jaundiced cerebrally? Is he not being perceived as “small” by those who believe he owes them because they made him? In my three decades of public communication I have learnt that persons any wise man must fear and not ignore are the quiet ones who are not mesmerizingly loquacious, and GEJ falls in that category. This man may send shockwaves across the circuits of the terrain, and he is beginning to do so as he pursues carving out his own identity and being his own man.
Recent appointments of service chiefs banged through the walls of many who thought they knew this man well, and very few expected them to happen the way they did. Even some people in his South-East and South-South camps were shocked by the stirring of the pool. The pressure mounted by the president himself on Bamanga Tukur to vacate the party chairmanship shocked big, boastful Bamanga who had earlier said that not even the president could remove him. But the president did. More shocking re-arrangements we learnt are in the pipeline, and they will further reinforce the fact that this man is carving out a base, a structure and a network for himself that may be as strong as any other we see in modern-day Nigerian politics. He is weeding off the old and breeding the new. I think the silence of this president over his run is not a stage-show of quandary, but a definite and definitive political calculation to be his own man. Will this new carved-out man with mettle and might be able to move mountains in the 2015 elections? We are on the watchtower and our eyes are wide open.
If Jonathan runs and wins, the era of the Army Generals’ influence on our politics is essentially over, and the season of “godfatherism” will be buried in the solitude of a graveyard. If he runs and wins, it will be the first time in Nigeria’s history that the military, active or retired will not have a hand in who gets to be the president of Nigeria since Tafawa Balewa.
Will he win? It’s about twelve months to the election, and in politics twenty-four hours is eternity so twelve months is mega-eternity. All we know now is that the man is carving out an identity for himself, a brewing brand his livid godfathers cannot fathom, and a structure that can help any political will see the light of day. Will GEJ win? Votes will be cast in the 2015 presidential election largely based on emotion not performance track-record of candidates. Whoever wins the emotion game will win the presidency. You heard it first from me. In my last piece I opined that winning the election for this president will be a long shot. The shot is getting shorter, and I will let you know why I think so in my next opinion.