2011: Should Jonathan Run ?


Chidi Enye, with reports from Justus Awaji, (Abuja), Friday Nwagbara, (Calabar),

Fyneface Aaron, (Yenagoa) and John Bibor

The death of Nigeria’s immediate past President, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua paved way for former vice, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to assume the mantle of leadership as the 14th head of Nigeria’s government .

When Dr. Jonathan was on acting capacity, he had shown amazing leadership qualities that have wooed him to many Nigerians. Yet still as the substantive president of Africa’s most populous nation, most people feel that Dr. Goodluck Jonathan should be able to consolidate the Seven-Point Agenda of late President Yar’Adua.

But the North especially, the advocates of the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) zoning formula are opposed to it. Speaking with The Weekend Tide, Mr. Joseph Assor, an Indian trained political scientist and social worker, opined that the incumbent president of the country has the right to run.

According to Mr. Assor, who holds a masters degree in social works, Jonathan has the constitutional right to vie, irrespective of whatever internal arrangement the ruling Peoples Democratic Party may have.

He described zoning as both undemocratic and unconstitutional. Mr. Assor further explained that “even if people are inclined to respect zoning, it was zoned to the North but by natural occurrence, the arrangement expired, which reverted it to the South  geographical area or the other. 

According to him, leadership should not be entrusted on anybody by reason of where one comes from but virtue of what one can contribute to nation-building.

Mr. Okoha stated that President Goodluck Jonathan should be seen as a God-sent leader. He noted that Dr. Jonathan did not become president on his own accord but by divine calculations. The businessman described President Jonathan as synonymous with Goodluck.

He pointed out that within the period President Jonathan  has been in power, there was ample evidence that he could move this nation forward.

The activist noted that with  the eradication of fuel scarcity the machines of the nation are enabled to move forward.

He remarked that the divinity of Jonathan’s presidency could not be controverted given his speedy rise to the nation’s highest seat of power, and pointed out that any opposition against President Jonathan’s leadership was tantamount to confronting God.

Mr. Okoha stated that time had come when people should begin to appreciate the hand of God in the affairs of Nigerians.

The businessman enjoined Nigerians from all climes to support Jonathan’s presidency as it would (president). “You see we cannot question God. Power has to shift to the South”.

“There is one thing we must understand, nobody ever zoned the second term. The second term ticket is usually as a result of the competence of the leader. Look at it, our former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo never had automatic ticket during his second term, he had to contest with other aspirants for the primaries. So there is obviously no zoning for the second term”, he noted. 

He emphasised that Jonathan should run in 2011 in order to consolidate the gains of the Yar’Adua/Goodluck’s administration. He said that President Jonathan has all it takes to be elected president and urged Nigerians to jettison the sentiments of ethnicity and geographical location.

“What we need in this country is good leadership and not where you come from. Look at America, where an Afro-American is president. People should forget the North-South divide. We need a leader who is capable of delivering the dividends of democracy. Zoning arrangement destroys our democracy,” he stated.

Also speaking, a Port Harcourt based businessman and human rights advocate, Chinonye Okoha Esq remarked that leadership should be given to those properly qualified and not every Tom, Dike and Harry that is privileged to come from one turn the nation around. He said that it was important for Nigerians to utilise the benefits of democracy as delivered by Jonathan.

Another respondent, Mr Isaiah Dioku, an educationist and social crusader, said that Dr. Goodluck Jonathan should run for the presidency because he was well acquainted with the policies and programmes of the late Yar’Adua and would be the best suited to pursue that realisation.

Mr. Dioku advised Jonathan not be discouraged by distractors who do not mean well for this nation. He condemned those inclined to ethnic politics and pointed out that ethnic politics had not helped the Nigerian nation-state. He stated that good leadership would unite the country and move it forward.

He noted that by act of providence, Jonathan had become (leader) president of this country, and regretted ethnic chauvinism had been the bane of the nation.

Mr. Dioku noted that only a good leader could build strong institutions and pointed out that strong institutions were necessary ingredients of a developed nation and noted that Nigeria did not need strong men but strong institutions and lauded the ongoing electoral reforms.

Mr. Dioku declared that strong institutions were the bedrock of advanced democracies all over the world. “One is surprised to see even our educated men yielding to ethnic sentiments”.

“Tribalism in whatever guise it comes is anti-development. This is the 21st country, men in the present century shouldn’t be thinking primitively. We must advance our reasoning to suit the present era”, he stated.

“I have always told people that we should strive to get great people with great ideas into power and not our brothers who have nothing to offer this nation. We cannot afford to sustain primordial sentiments, which have been our worst undoing. As a people we owe God and posterity good leadership. It is only good leadership that can take us far. Our children will rely on democratic apparatus that are in place”, he noted.

Mr. Dioku stated the entire Nigerian nation-state should be able to rally round Dr. Jonathan because he has demonstrated that he has capacity to take the nation to greater heights. 

Also speaking, Mr. Otugbu John Azunna, the Secretary General, National Coalitim of Nigeria Delta Graduates for Non-Violence, said that the incumbent president should contest the presidential election in 2011 because he has a lot of good packages for Nigeria, and noted it was evident in his choice of cabinet ministers.

Besides, “ranging from his kindness and qualities of leadership and experience, first as a classroom teacher, deputy governor, governor, vice president and finally president, he is well suited for the office he is occupying and enjoined all and sundry to support the Jonathan presidency in 2011.

Also a group, which identified itself as Jonathan Consolidation Front (JCF) has urged President Jonathan to brace up and contest the election in 2011. The group’s position as contained in a statement made available to the media, said the call was part of its resolution in a recent meeting held at the Obudu Ranch Resort in Cross River State.

According to the statement, which was endorsed by its National Coordinator, Alhaji Mudi Lawal and the National Media Liason Officer, Prince Abasi Ita, “the organisation resolved at the meeting to urge Jonathan to contest the 2011 presidential polls to enable him continue his people-oriented programmes and projects which are observably taking the nation to higher progressive height.