2015: Who will defeat Jonathan? By Chido Onumah

Chido Onumah

Let me say from the outset that it would be scandalous and a grave mistake for the opposition – and by this, I refer to the All Progressives Congress (APC) – to look toward any of the gladiators in the current war of attrition in the People’s Democratic Party, Aminu Tambuwal, Babangida Aliyu, Sule Lamido, etc., as a candidate for the presidency in 2015. With all due respect to these men, and not minding the fact that there are PDP elements in the APC, it would not only smack of unseriousness, but would leave voters no choice in 2015.

Having exorcised the incubus of a PDP takeover of the opposition, let’s pose the fundamental question: who will defeat President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015? We need to pose this question frontally and be sincere in our answers. That is the only way the opposition can assess its strength and chances as we head into the battle of 2015.

Too often, we hear the beer parlour assertion that, “President Jonathan is incompetent; he has to go in 2015”. Clearly, President Jonathan has performed woefully; but when was the last time incompetence cost anybody reelection in Nigeria? It didn’t happen with Shehu Shagari in 1983; certainly, not with Olusegun Obasanjo in 2003.

What is needed, therefore, is a comprehensive strategy to defeat PDP in 2015. And top on the agenda would be the urgent need to market a national candidate who provides a clear and credible alternative to President Jonathan. If free and fair elections were held today (even though the PDP would never permit free and fair elections), chances are that President Jonathan will emerge victorious. I say this with all sense of responsibility.

This is not Nigeria of June 12, 1993, even though Bashir Tofa, the defeated presidential candidate of the National Republican Convention (NRC) in that election and now a chieftain of APC would want us to forget the election and its significance.

Of course, I sympathize with Tofa. I would bury any thoughts of that election if I had been in his position. It is not easy on one’s reputation and psyche running a presidential election and getting trounced in your home constituency. That must go down as one inglorious record for the Guinness World Records.

Back to reality. The country is fractured today as never before. There are still many out there who will vote on the basis of religion; many who will vote because of money, ethnicity and other mundane considerations. Of course, we have to grant them their right to poor judgment. That is the nature of democracy.

There are those who have argued, from their limited understanding of the issue, that one way of addressing the minorities’ question in Nigeria is for President Jonathan to go for a second term whether he deserves it or not. These are the issues that will come to play whether we accept them or not. It is this fracture – add money and rigging – that will determine the outcome of the 2015 election.  

So, is the opposition ready to compete in 2015? The answer, of course, will depend on who you ask. Even though the PDP appears like a party that faces imminent implosion, the campaign for 2015 has started in earnest, the glib talk by the president and his handlers notwithstanding. 

Nigerians are yearning for an alternative to Goodluck Jonathan; not just an alternative, but a credible alternative. Talking about the presidency in 2015, the APC, undoubtedly, is a party of immense potentials. But if elections were held today, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd) is perhaps the only person with the pedigree, name recognition and national appeal who can give President Jonathan and the PDP a run for their money.

However, Gen. Buhari has not shown enough statesmanship to make him a winning candidate across the country. By his actions and inaction, the former head of state seems to be saying, “I don’t need the vote of majority of Nigerians to be elected president”. Lately, Gen. Buhari has been assailed by those who accuse him of making “unguarded and insensitive” statements. His handlers have repeatedly affirmed that he is a victim; one who is misunderstood and often misquoted. It may well be true. Leaving aside the issue of his comments, the expectation is that for a man who has run for president thrice and plans a fourth attempt, Gen. Buhari ought to be much more visible and active across the country.

He ought to be out on the street either comforting victims of various acts of terror across the country and offering them hope and a new vision for Nigeria or dousing the perception that he is a provincial leader. He has earned that right. Perhaps he ought to take a cue from Uzor Orji Kalu, a man who should be on trial for his ruination of Abia State.  

We may not like it, but the truth is that after 14 years in power the PDP has managed to reach every nook and cranny of the country. The opposition needs do much to ingrain in the mass of our people the need for a better and workable alternative.

Time is certainly running out.

Globalising Media & Information Literacy  

Next week (June 26-28), the global media and information literacy (MIL) movement will converge on Nigeria for the Global Forum for Partnerships on MIL (GFPMIL), incorporating the International Conference on MIL and Intercultural Dialogue.

With the theme “Promoting Media and Information Literacy as a Means to Cultural Diversity”, the conference which draws upon over 40 years of UNESCO’s experience in MIL, is a joint initiative of UNESCO, the Federal Ministry of Information, the Government of Saudi Arabia, the Swedish International Development Agency, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, and other key stakeholders around the world.   

The GFPMIL will be a permanent mechanism and seeks to globally reposition MIL around the core objectives of: articulating key strategic partnerships to drive MIL development and impact globally focusing on seven development areas: 1) governance and citizenship; 2) education, teaching and learning; 3) linguistic and diversity intercultural dialogue; 4) women, disabled and other disadvantaged; 5) health and wellness; 6) business, industry, employment and economic development; 7) agriculture, farming, wildlife protection, forestry and natural resources conservation.

With Africa as a Global Priority for UNESCO, the International MIL and Intercultural Dialogue Conference will focus on Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa and will be the first global partnership project in this domain. It will set the way forward for future partnerships, enabling the MIL community to speak as one voice on certain critical matters, particularly as it relates to policies.

Let’s hope that Nigeria’s participation will go beyond the conference to embrace this global phenomenon that seeks to provide the vital life skill for students and youth to become critical thinkers and consumers of information and media messages and, therefore, active participants in their societies.

conumah@hotmail.com


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  • Foresight

    Let the unorganised APC keep deceiving itself. They can’t even elect their national leaders.

  • Musa Sulaiman

    No matter what we are suffering. And we will continue this if the masses can’t do anything week up my fellow nigerians.

  • Dankasa

    Who told you they can’t even elect their Leaders? The Party is in the process of Registration after which the Party Leaders will be elected through normal Convention/election process or do you think APC is like this your vampire called PDP which is always above the Law? Foresight, INEC drives its power from the Constitution and the Act clearly states what Parties are suppose to do as regard to electing their leaders and if you don’t know this, do yourself a fevour, desist from expressing ignorance on paper, go and read, sentiment will not take you anywhere man!

  • Garden-City Boy

    All said and done, ethnicity will play a very critical role in the outcome of the 2015 polls. Awusa people have made it so. Ethnic consciousness in society has never been as hyped as it is today. The barbaric behavior of awusas stoked the trend. The general consensus is that the destiny of citizens, the security to the individuals life can never again be trusted in the hands of an awusa man. Reason: It is this bad when they are not in power, let alone when they regain power. And that, essentially, is going to be the big campaign storyline, take it or leave it.
    For the voter, therefore, he has one of two choices to make. On the one hand is the intemperate, unpredictable, intolerant, barbaric awusa islamist. He is so highly wired to kill gleefully with compulsive gusto at the touch of the hair trigger. Then, on the other hand, the ‘non-performing’, non-awusa “infidel”, say, a Jonathan, from a minority part of the conquered territory, the wrong side of town. Times were when we pretended to ourselves that we are neither Tiv, Igbo ,Yoruba, Ibibio, awusa, Brom, fulani, Ijaw, nor Edo or what have you, but Nigerians. Awusa has destroyed all of that with the brutal barbarism that attracted the passionate everybody has for them. It is sad, and you may not believe it, but that is the way it is. It might take several generations for this impression to go away. Electing awusa man into office as president is same as endorsing the ones death warrant. And by the way, if we should be frank to ourselves, If not Jonathan in 2015, who?

    • Omo Odua

      Garden City Boy, Jonas said no to 2015 based on his record/performance. We need to critically study our history before we make certain comments. What is Hausa in the First place? Go and study Hausa land history (Hausa states) then you will understand what I am saying. Nigeria never had a Hausa president/head of state! They are all fulanis (Shagari, Buhari and Yar’adua)/kanuri (Abacha)/nupe (Babangida and Abdulsalamu)! Unless if you are referring muslims to be Hausas! Then what are you going to call th emuslims in the west and edo? Are they Hausas too?

      • Garden-City Boy

        I am not sure we on same page. What is the concern here, about hausa or awusa? I was talking about awusa, I don’t know about hausa. I can provide a definition for awusa on request.

  • sunday Dankwai

    It is not about who will or who will not beat Jona,but the very issue is how can we get a reliable leader that can consider the interestn of all Nigerians without fear or favour. The problem is that all our politicians have the same political idiology that is to lot the nations tresury for thier selfish interest without considering the comon man voted them into office.

    • Omo Odua

      Mr. Sunday, the first question, are we ordinary Nigerians reliable people? Go to any market/shop etc, it is an ordinary man like me and you that will cheat me, you, and be proud of it!!!!! That is the reason when I see what we ordinary Nigerians are saying about our leaders it really flabagasted me.

  • Abdul Nagge

    Every tribe worst enemy is Hausa but what I understand is Hausa are supreme people in Nigeria. It the culture to a man to be against the greatest, most excellence, extreme, most superior, highest or utmost of his kind. People talk about we only considered our hausa/ Fulani as the only people. One may find the truth by tracing the result of the last election and judge us with it from the you know who is exactly supposed to accuse of tribalism, haters , religious and relatives issues like that. There is no state in the whole north that Gej didn’t got the 25% quoted but imagine in south-south and south- east there some states that Gen. Buhari got less than 3000 vote in a state and still some people are not ashamed saying we show difference to those that are not from our tribe.