Yar’Adua-Jonathan Political Muddle: What Lies Ahead?

Since Yar’Adua took ill, a lot of developments, positive and negative have been elbowing the Nigerian political quadrangle. There have been the politically side-lined who have been exploiting the crevice created by Yar’Adua’s infirmity to relocate themselves into the main stage of the political space. This is because, both at the state and federal structures of the ruling People’s Disenfranchising Party (PDP), Yar’Adua’s sickness has brought about marked changes in the political chemistry and physics of balancing of interest. As a result, the PDP is now divided along multiple lines of authority which delicately revolve around the struggling Yar’Adua’s bloc and the fledging Jonathan’s group. This explains why there are the pro-Yar’ Adua’s senators and honourables as well those who belong to the Jonathan’s camp. Within the presidency, Federal ministries and parastatals, same dichotomizing politics of alignment prevails. Each of these multiple lines of authority has been pedaling their ulterior political interests by subordinating their agendas to either the Yar’Adua or Jonathan’s bloc.

Also, due to the political friction arising from the political struggle of survival between the Yar’Adua-Jonathan’s camps, some one time mighty and influential game players have been swayed by the centrifuging wave of political misfortune from the epic centre of political significance into the abyss of political fringe. Michael Aondaonka who rode on the tiger’s back and got consumed is a good example of those in this category. A small and powerful part of this clique is what the chameleon and politically prostituting Dora Akunluyi referred to as the cabal which wanted to misdirect the affairs of the country. Those, within this grouping may not be visible in the Jonathan “commandeered” Aso-rock leadership, nonetheless, they are on the one hand, spiritedly involved in engineering the plots that would see Yar’Adua un-impeached while his recuperation lasts. On the other, this group’s pro-Yar’Adua stance would in the face of Yar’Adua’s inability to stage a final come back wax stronger as this is essential for them to create instability within the fold of the PDP. With this, it would be easier for them to make some political gains, which may sustain their political relevance beyond the 2011 elections. As it would be latter argued in this piece, this group may realize some of its political stakes as the multiple lines of authority within the PDP have fostered a political situation whereby staging an impeachment proceeding against Yar’Adua would be politically impossible, and too risky a road to ply.

On both sides, there is another group whose sycophancy and indecision has seen them permanently banished from the political limelight into obscurity. During the struggle leading to the emergence of Jonathan as the acting president, some individuals who were double dealing by playing both Yar’Adua’s & Jonathan’s cards belong to this category. While few were smart enough as not to be detected, a substantial percentage who were discovered were neither favoured by Jonathan nor sympathetically disposed to by the Yar’Adua camp which cannot avoid to play along those whose loyalty is not one hundred percent.

Within the PDP structure exists the last category comprising those who had once been forced to eat the humble’s pie, that are now regaining their depleted political verve. This is the case with Ibrahim Gbadamosi Babanginda who is scheming on all fronts to emerge as the next presidential flag bearer of the Poverty Distributing Party (PDP).

Furthermore, the continuously resurging political ripples caused by Yar’Adua’s frailty, have, on the one hand, rekindled and on the other, worsened the dying lots of the opposition parties. This is the case with Action Congress as the much politicized withdrawal of Atiku and his followers from the party would summarily knock out the party from the national scene. The Atiku effect is predicted to be pronounced as Tinubu and other stake holders who would be left behind in the party do not have the national political spread that is required to sustain the party’s national visibility. Also, the probability that the party’s visible presence in the western part of the country will recede is high as it would be now difficult for Tinubu’s boys to be nominated as the party’s gubernatorial ticket bearers. In the event of this, Tinubu’s financial support for the party would reduce; therefore, the doom which befell the Alliance for Democracy, AD, is most likely to mark the end of the AC. The imminence of this is the more reason why Tinubu would like to be nominated as a running mate to any presidential aspirant as this is one of the ways he can maintain his nation presence. Another way is to be elected a senator. This is also difficult for Tinubu to achieve as stepping out to displace any of the senators that are representing Lagos state would make him to be an endangered political specie. The only option that can make this possible is for Tinubu to offer any of these senators his support for the Lagos gubernatorial elections and ensure that that the table is turned against Fashola’s emergence as the party flag bearer. Doing this would also eclipse Tinubu’s political relevance as Lagosians have seen in Fashola a governor whose years in office are remarkable and much more profitable than Tinubu’s eight turbulent years. But can Tinubu avoid to gamble with Fashola’s second term bearing in mind the hard times which the political godfather is going through in the hands of his political son? The peril ahead of such political computation has been highlighted by Oba Akinolu who pronounced that Fashola like Tinubu would spend eight years in office. The indisputable true son and paramount king of the land has spoken, so, let the adopted son of the land take heed of this warning or else?

In Edo state, the AC may as a result of political expediency, dissolves into the Labour Party. Without this, the Edo Chapter of the AC would lose its stronghold in the next election as those who offered Adams the political support which made him survive the PDP 2007 electioneering carnage would be relocating back into their formal party, the PDP. This is another setback which the AC would be facing. It may also not be impossible for Adams Oshiomole to join the PDP, however, the possibility is slim, because Adams may be wary of the public outcry against such attempt. But, the politician Adams seems to be different from the labour leader that is known to the masses, therefore, he may decide to ignore the public outcry as what would be prioritized by him would be the retention of his seat for the second term in office.

ANPP may conversely not suffer a penultimate collapse as it is likely to be with the AC. However, provided some of its political actors do not cross carpet into the PDP, it would at best, maintains its traditional stronghold. It has been difficult to predict the political impact of Buhari’s withdrawal from ANPP, but given his grassroots connection, the party is likely to lose the two-third control of the seats which it is controlling at the state levels. At the national level, one would expect that fifty percent of the seats under the party’s umbrella would be lost to both the PDP and the party which Buhari would pitch his tent.

There is also a high possibility that Orji Uzor Kalu’s PPA would dissolve into the PDP as the political atmosphere is now congenial for him to do so. Kalu’s defection is imminent as this is the only way he can continue to maintain his stronghold on Abia politics and remains visible for a long while at the national political landscape. Kalu’s control of the PPA cannot survive the next political dispensation as Theophilus Orji would put in place all the necessary mechanisms th

at would curtain the overbearing influence of the god father because this is the only way Theophilus can reposition himself for greater political height at the national level. Theophilus may as Gbenga Daniel has been checkmating Obasanjo, creates a new power matrix within the state PPA’s structure that would threaten to pull down Orji. This will degenerate into a political rift which would destabilize the PPA, thereby leaving the party in a state of limbo. Like his boss, Theophilus would make a move to cross carpet to the PDP, but, he would be outplayed by Kalu and possibly be impeached by the state house of assembly whose members cannot dare to look Kalu in the eyes. If Theophilus narrowly succeeds to gain a reasonable number of the members of the house and powerful party members to his side as this would expectedly dominate his game plan, then, the PDP may decide to offer him the olive oil as it would be easier for them to trade political support for an incumbent governor and not the out of power god father. The reality however is that Abia is too complex a terrain for political analysts and scenario experts to access and make authoritative predictions about its probable future. However, if the reason why Kalu left the PDP is well understood, the shape of things to come can be place in their proper context.

The indubitable reason why Kalu left the PDP was because of Obasanjo who launched a deadly attempt to get Kalu and his mother, Eunice Kalu, out of political reckoning. Obj succeeded in barring both the mother who was once on his swinging female politician list and Kalu from the Aso-Villa. Religious effort was also made to use the EFCC to get the duo behind the bar. Now that the likes of Theophelius Danjuma- a renowned anti-Obasanjo person- are back in the party, then, Kalu’s possible re-entrance into the party would find willing and supporting hands in some of these elements, thereby increasing the possibility that he would again, exert considerable influence if he crosses over to the PDP.

However, the idea of a mega party may in the face of the bleak future ahead of the opposition parties become realized, but, this would preclude Buhari who would be flying the ticket of one of the unknown registered political parties. The expected internal and unavoidable political crises which would render the AC and ANPP practically inactive and the much anticipated stability that the PDP would witness would create a sense of unison in the minds of some individuals who would genuinely sparehead the formation of a new mega party. Another factor that would assist in the convergence of minds that will bell the cat of forming the mega party is the declaration of IBB’s intention for the presidency. This will generate allot of heat across the length and breadth of the country as a number of well directed efforts would be made to make IBB have a taste of what he had done against the destiny of Nigeria by annulling the 1993 June 12 presidential elections. Politicians across different divides would pump in money into efforts aimed at burying the political hope of IBB, therefore, this would be one of the factors that would make the mega party make a promising national presence in the forth coming general elections.

To enhance its public approval ratings and to secure a leverage of support within the ranks of retired military officers, the mega party would offer Colonel Abubakar Umar its platform to contest the presidential election. Attempt would be made by Tinubu to be part of the new arrangement by trading the Lagos AC support’s for the mega party in exchange for being appointed Umar’s running mate. This would not succeed for obvious reasons. The first being the fact that, it would be difficult to sell a Muslim-Muslim ticket and the second being that Tinubu would be difficult to market in the West and beyond. On losing out to achieve his objectives, Tinubu would anticipatedly create internal divisions within the AC by preventing it from being a part of the new mega party arrangement. The Lagos AC would as it was with the AD during its troubling times be faced with a similar debacle and this would in addendum to the earlier analysis on the future of AC deepen the crises within the party. Tinubu may end up being a possible victim of the heat that this would generate as his political antics would see him lose the control of Lagos AC to a new set of cabal who would be playing the Fashola’s card. With this, the role of the AC in the predicted mega party would be minimal, if not completely done away with.

By the same token, a new regime of Holy Ghost anointed and inspired radical leader which the frailness of Yar’Adua’s health has also given birth to is worth mentioning. This is evident in the case of one self-acclaimed man of God, who has been shuttling between the synagogue and the barricade. Pastor Tunde Bakare who is leading the Obasanjo sponsored Save Nigeria Group would add a new religious look to the face of the elections in Nigeria. Reliable insiders’ reports have it that some of the displaced Bank MDs/CEOs who have closely-knitted connections with some churches have included Bakare’s led SNG as one of the means through which their fledging financial and political fortunes could be salvaged. This group had so far, as reported reliable confidants, offered mouth watering financial support that can sustain the SNG’s tempo until the 2011 elections are conducted. The pastor who would stage a protest against Yar’Adua and not against the inclusion of some mischievous persons in the new ministerial list would be seeking some political concessions by sponsoring candidates for elective positions. The shape of things to come could be deciphered in the closed door meeting which Jonathan held with some pastors who had earlier met with Yar’Adua. Also, some of the churches who were terribly hit by the Sanusitization reform of the banking sector would either collude with Jonathan to install the president that would guarantee their stake in some of the banks whose MDs’ were sacked, or as it would be with Bakare, sponsor some individuals for elective posts. In deciding who is to contest for what, the affected Bank MDs would play a significant role. A smart attempt would be made to get the church cum failed bank MDs anointed candidates positioned in different parties so that it would be difficult to detect such arrangements. However, this attempt would like Pastor Chris’s effort may not be able to survive the murky waters of the Nigerian politics as a messy political rupture would rock the boat of the front liners of these ideas. How this would come about is for now difficult to predict as it would take a little while to re-configure and map out how the existing background factors would trigger this doom.

Given the foregoing political possibilities, it is evident that the PDP dominance over the soul of the Nigerian politics would increase as the opposition party’s strength as projected would have been considerably depleted. As earlier suggested that impeaching Yar’Adua would be politically impossible and that the process will end up as a reckless political adventurism, the pro-Jonathan group would overlook this oddity by launching a well orchestrated attempt to impeach Yar’Adua. This would be a calculated attempt to guarantee the political future of Jonathan as this group cannot withstand the possible and miraculous return of Yar’Adua. The pro-Jonathan caucus unlike most political observers is not ruling out the possible return of Yar’Adua and therefore, they have been putting in place all the necessary means of making this a mission impossible. Senator Kanti Bello, the Senate Chief Whip dropped an hint of what Jonathan should expect if such sinister move is made by warning that, “ if the insinuation that Jonathan does not want to have anything to do with Yar’Adua is true, it can spell doom for our party. We should be careful to do what is right.” The prediction however, is that, it i

s the Jonathan’s camp that would be devastatingly hit by the aftermath of such political suicidal attempt that would, in sooner time be launched by his group. While the impeachment attempt lasts, SNG and other new groups would stage nationwide protests as this have been concluded as the most pragmatic means of creating a false impression that the masses are dominantly in support of the emergence of Jonathan as the substantive president.

To absolve the shock that would arise as a result of the fall out of the impeachment attempt, a medical means would be employed to terminate the life of the ailing Yar’Adua. To achieve this, Jonathan would facilitate the treatment of Yar’Adua in any of the developed countries’ hospital. A plan would be hatched as it was with MKO’s case to terminate the life of Yar’Adua. There is a strong likelihood that this may work if the Yar’Adua camp accepts the Jonathan supposed good gesture that the president should go for a new round of treatment. In the consequence, this would add a new dimension to the look of things as the Jonathan’s agenda of sustaining himself beyond 2011 would become affected. It may be essential at this juncture to reiterate that Jonathan would not be contesting for the post of the presidency in the 2011 elections, but would be seeking a running mate ticket. This is the main reason why he would be making frantic effort not to allow the possible return of Yar’Adua witness the light of the day.

Realizing that the candidacy of IBB may attract a large followership from past and serving light-fingered governors, especially those who hail from Jonathan’s region, the latter’s camp has given due consideration to Ribadu’s need. It was well thought that, by allowing Ribadu back into the establishment, those thieving and indicted political juggernauts who would be bidding for the running mate ticket being eyed by Jonathan, could be easily kept at abeyance. Before Ribadu’s case was decided, adequate information about Ribadu’s present state of mind was sourced from his confidants. Nuhu Ribadu, who is reported to have expressed his frustration with how his career has gone moribund under the Yar’Adua’s administration, had before now being making frantic efforts to lead a massive anti-Yar’Adua campaign from his base in the United State. With this objective of Ribadu dovetailing with that of the Jonathan’s camp, a meeting ground was reached between the two parties; therefore, the news of Ribadu’s highly publicized return into the country. This was not without major concession from Ribadu who has promised to cooperate in respect of Patience Jonathan’s monetary laundering case which was detected under his chairmanship of the EFCC. As a reminder, in August 2006, a sum of 104 million naira allegedly stolen from the Bayelsa state’s covers which was laundered through Patience, Jonathan’s wife, and smuggled through Mrs. Nancy Eber Nwosu, the latter’s associate, was discovered and seized by Nuhu’s men. Also, a mouth watering amount of 13.5 million dollars, allegedly looted from the same Bayelsa state’s treasury, was in September 2006, again, seized from Jonathan’s wife, Patience, by the Nuhu Ribadu’s led EFCC.

At this juncture, it would be necessary to offer further explanation on why those indicted past and incumbent governors may offer IBB their support. This primarily owes to the fact that IBB’s record of corruption would make it impossible for him to pursue any meaningful anti-corruption campaign. On this basis, most of the past governors and a reasonable percentage of those who are serving at the moment, are looking at the econo-political advantage they stand to gain by supporting the IBB’s candidacy. In other words, if the same IBB old ways is adhered to, IBB’s presidency, God forbids, would make them enjoy their loots and at the same time, enable them to be able to wedge some political influence. However, this is not without a serious reservation about a possible change of heart by the maradonic General who is rumoured to be favourably disposed to seizing his possible second coming to sanitize the system. This alleged change of heart leaves much to be desired as IBB cannot be simply trusted with the leadership of any decent society. The monster in him will surely meets with the hardened monster in the masses that are set to avenge the pains he inflicted on the generality of Nigerians who voted Abiola into victory during the 2003 presidential election. Trailing this aside, the General who is renowned to be afraid of naked power and so chicken hearted as not to dare those who are in control of power, is zeroing in on the option of Jonathan as a possible pick for his running mate as this is one of the ways it was felt that tension which his candidacy will generate can be reasonably managed. However, cognizance of the fact that some powerful anti-IBB elements within the PDP will do everything possible to frustrate his emergence as the party’s flag bearer, the gap tooted Minna born devil reincarnate may possibly opt for the National Democratic Party. To enable IBB overcome the barrier within the PDP establishment, Jonathan who has brought in some IBB’s boys into the government has put in place some distractive and destabilising ploys which are projected as a neutralizer of the anti-IBB forces.

To achieve the aforesaid, Jonathan would open up the space for a lively internal politics and bickering within the PDP. This, he has started by paving way for the likes of Atiku to stage a possible come back into the fold of the PDP and by opening the doors for the likes of Danjuma to operate freely within the presidency after an uneventful dismissal from the same corridor was orchestrated by the say-never-die Aremu Obasanjo. Obj would work indefatigably to scuttle the ambition of IBB by forming a formidable pact with some strong PDP anti-IBB members, which may include his former VP, whose political ambition he almost wrecked. The Danjuma’s group would also engage the Obj’s camp in a fierce battle, thereby, as planned and hoped Jonathan’s camp, heightening the possibility that the Obj’s anti-IBB effects would not be as pronounced as the latter would have calculated. Nevertheless, based on some other considerations, especially the externalities, it is my take that IBB would not only be humiliated, but, may be forced to embark on a life-long political asylum. I also have strong premonition that he may land himself behind the bar. This chasm would make it possible for the mega party to gain some concessions, however, it would not be as significant as the masses would have expected.

Given the look of things as therein projected, little or nothing tangible would be done by Jonathan to better the lots of the masses. The shape of things to come would evidently change the nature of the party politics in Nigeria and it may evolve a bi-party arrangement as this would be the only viable means through which the grip of the PDP over the nation’s political destiny can be checked.

Written by
Adebiyi Jelili Abudugana
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