“I am not in a position to tell Nigerians whether I will run or not on this issue which has dominated discourse now. I don’t want to overheat the system as my saying anything on it will affect governance and the functions of state…until the appropriate time”- Jonathan Goodluck
The ascension to power by Jonathan Goodluck in May, in the wake of President Umaru Yar’adua’s death, is giving us the full measure of the deceptive persona lurking within Jonathan Goodluck. Pretentiously disinterested in power and its wrathful essence, Goodluck has become a polarizing president, almost like his mentor, Olusegun Obasanjo. The president is consolidating a stranglehold on power with surefootedness, leading to the use of the repressive state apparatus against those who cross his way, starting with Vincent Ogbulafor, who as PDP chairman found courage to remind PDP grandees that power was to remain in the North in 2011, according to an agreement within the party itself. In response, some obscure corruption accusations were exhumed by Jonathan to nail Ogbulafor for his “effrontery”!
The move against Ogbulafor signaled the grand resurrection of hostage politics indicating that Goodluck passed with flying colours, from the Obasanjo School of vindictive politics. By last week, Jonathan imposed his own hostage as the new PDP chairman; a certain John Nwodo who was eased out of political society a few years back, because of allegations of involvement in a National Identity Card scam! One hostage is out and a new one is in to work for “re-capturing” the PDP from the governors whose hostage, Ogbulafor, Jonathan has booted out of headship of the PDP. By last week, so apparently complete was Jonathan’s victory, that the PDP NEC pledged “complete loyalty” to the president, in an absurd reversal of political wisdom; since in a rational setting a president should be pledging loyalty to the party which allowed him to carry its flag! But this is Nigeria and the PDP’s way of always walking on its head!
This background must be read together with Jonathan’s deceptive statement at the head of this piece, which came from his presidential media chat at the weekend. It is incredible that he can look at us directly in the face to say that he has not made up his mind to run, even when his brush stroke is writ large on the political canvass: the to-ing and fro-ing of Chief Edwin Clark; the proliferation of “Jonathan-must-run-or-we-die” groups; and the desperate efforts to break the back of Northern Nigeria. Even the old war horse, Tony Anenih is looking for a niche of relevance under the banner of the “Jonathan-will-run-and-all-opponents-especially-in-the-North-can-go-hang”; this after he was de-robed as the chief godfather of Edo politics and Nigeria’s fixer-in-chief! Jonathan is either being economical with the truth or plainly thinks we cannot see how his desperacy to run at all cost in 2011, has actually heated up the polity in recent weeks.
Goodluck also said he does not believe in ‘godfatherism’; however, he has empowered Edwin Clark to insult us all about Jonathan’s “eligibility” to run, as if anybody ever doubted that, while also stoking the fault lines of religion on his behalf; and this is a president who swore to an oath to preserve the unity of Nigeria while ensuring he does nothing to jeopardize its unity. By calling only members of one religious confession to a meeting on behalf of Jonathan Goodluck, Edwin Clark helped him go against the oath he swore to. Yet this president wants us to believe he has not made up his mind one way or other about running! In another breath, Goodluck told his viewers that since the Constitution does not accommodate a First Lady, he does not believe in it. “I don’t think my wife is that powerful because the Constitution of Nigeria has no role for the wife of the president, but it is unfortunate and I don’t also support…”
Well, just two days after the public declaration, Madam Patience put to lie the statement of mister president, when she appeared live on television on Tuesday this week, receiving wives of state governors who arrived at the Eagle Square in Abuja, to show obeisance to the First Lady (never mind that Madam Patience is still to be cleared of accusations by Nuhu Ribadu’s EFCC in 2006 of theft of monies in naira and dollars when Jonathan was governor of Bayelsa state!). Political society in Nigeria today is being coerced, shaped, bent, forced and panel-beaten to fit the ambitions of Jonathan Goodluck, and one of the instruments of choice is deception and what the British describe as terminological inexactitudes! Jonathan Goodluck is adroitly manipulating power and like a medieval emperor, he carries on with pretence that he is not part of the road show. Missing is an accompanying song of choice from Fela Anikulapo Kuti; Jonathan Goodluck and his orchestra (with Edwin Clark on Megaphone and Tony Anenih on the Talking Drum) can improvise like this: “I-go-run; you-no-go-run; you-must-run; we-have-to-chop”! The days ahead will be interesting in political Nigeria!