By Chidinma Onyejiuwa
President Goodluck Jonathan is cool and calculated, don’t underestimate him, though. On June 9, 2006, a group led by the party’s founding chairman, Solomon Lar, and a former Deputy National Chairman, Shuaib Oyedokun, had broken away to form a parallel faction after accusing the then Ahmadu Ali-led leadership of sidelining many leading founding members. The
group then proceeded to open a new secretariat: a one-storey building of four flats lavishly decorated with flags of the party located in the Jabi District of Abuja. The development terribly rattled then President Olusegun Obasanjo who promptly deployed security agents to forcefully seal the parallel secretariat.
By the following day, the Nigerian Police had closed the new secretariat and stationed 20 of its men at the complex to prevent members of the Lar group from gaining entry.
The then Commissioner, Federal Capital Territory’s Police Command, Lawrence Alobi, explained at the time that his men were asked to seal the secretariat to forestall an outbreak of violence. The development terribly irked the Lar group and sparked off a war of words between the two camps. The Lar group asked the then Inspector General of Police, Sunday Ehindero, to withdraw his men from its secretariat, threatening that it would forcefully chase the Ali-led group away from the Wadata Plaza national secretariat of the party if the police failed to allow it to operate from the Mabushi secretariat. -Premium Times.
The Nigeria Constitution has many roles of the President and his powers clearly spelt out. However, the Constitution is silent on the function of the president within a political party, today, through our political experiments from the year 1999 till present, presidents have become the actual leaders of their parties. The president is his party chief and a superpolitican. No question about this. This does not mean that the president is by any means above political partisanship.
As a party leader, the president has to do anything to maintain his party’s integrity. The president may make known his disliking for anti-party’s activities such as those by Atiku and seven others and act accordingly to put things back in shape. He can try to discipline party members who fail to support presidential policies. President Goodluck Jonathan in his unassuming role has decided to employ these concepts in his style of leading his party, PDP. No other president before him has been so fair in in exerting political power within the party through patronage. The Presidents has been so fair to every region in appointing individuals to do jobs in his cabinet, Aso Rock, and other Federal Agencies.
Mr. President has a number of ways of exerting influence as the party chief, and sealing off Atiku’s PDP Secretariat is one of them.
It is inconceivable that Nigerians who witnessed this same scenario under Obasanjo can be so forgetful so soon of the fact that these politicians are only playing their usual politics of seeking recognition.
Can these people tell us precisely what is happening in PDP now which has not always happened since 1999? Are they students of history at all? Every single thing happening in PDP now has happened several times in the past and in each case the party has always emerged stronger. When Barnabas Germade was Chairman, did the party then not break into factions in 2002? Recall the events under Obasanjo in the run up to the 2003 elections.
How many politicians including Chuba Okadigbo, Speaker Ghali Na’abba, Audu Ogbe and the Sharia Governors of the North rebelled against Obasanjo but what happened at the election? Recall that the overwhelming majority of Nigeria’s Governors then did not want Obasanjo to seek re-election in 2003 and even asked Atiku to contest against him leading to the speculations that Obasanjo wanted to drop Atiku as his running mate for that election until at the convention where Obasanjo finally announced that Atiku would still be his running mate. Recall that it was precisely some people’s disenchantment with, and hatred for, Obasanjo’s policies that made them draft Muhammadu Buhari into the 2003 election.
They even lied then that Obasanjo had signed an agreement with the North to serve only one term just as they are doing now with President Jonathan. Recall also that they employed Sharia riots in the North (Kaduna, Kano and Jos) resulting in the deaths of thousands of people to destabilize Obasanjo’s government then just as they are doing to Jonathan’s with Boko Haram now.
I was living in the North then so I recall these things vividly. But in spite of all the noise and opposition from all these elements, Obasanjo won re-election hands down, trouncing Buhari in a landslide with even the South West that had rejected him in 1999 not only voting for him en masse but even their AD also refusing to present any Presidential candidate to contest against Obasanjo. The PDP knows exactly what it is doing because it has been in power for 14 years. Read my lips: in the history of Nigeria, no incumbent president has ever been defeated in an election in which he is seeking re-election.
Nigeria’s history is not about to change in that regard whether these tribal and religious bigots like it or not. Add to that, the lethal fact that Jonathan is, unlike Obasanjo, a quiet and deadly schemer who lets ignorant, naive and silly APC supporters continue to call him ‘clueless’, ‘useless’, ‘idiot’ etc while he is busy plotting, achieving and wasting them. Jonathan is certainly not a noise maker like the APC partiers.
Let these politicians make their demands. It is their right to do so. Let President Jonathan also exercise his legitimate right to contest. It is his right to do so. These things happen all the time, my dear. It is definitely deja vu. Talk about a recurring decimal, that is it when it comes to political power-grabbing of Aso Rock.
So, folks, never for once lose a sleep over this storm in a tea cup. Low tension, enweghi ihe na eme nu. Nothing mega!