The Big Story: GEJ 2023 Presidential ambition, how fair is it for the South, the confusion it ‘ll cause

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By: Samuel Abasiekong – Abasiekong

Compared to previous general elections since the advent of Democracy in Nigeria in 1999, the forthcoming 2023 general elections in the country is one constituting the most complex puzzle to fix.

In States, almost all Governors are confused or in other words, scared to make public their stands on who gets what in all elected offices in 2023.

Political Parties are all facing the most complex political algebra of using either zoning, rotation, ethnicity, loyalty, equity, one Nigeria, national security infraction and many other factors to be exact of who to entrust the Party ticket.

Nigeria has two major Political Parties, namely the All Progressive Congress – APC which is the incumbent ruling Party and the People Democratic Party – PDP, the main opposition Party whom former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan – GEJ led to be defeated by the incumbent APC in 2015 after his party’s 16 years in power.

There are over two dozens more Political Parties whose presence are not felt nationwide.

For the purpose of the crossroad faced by kingmakers at all levels in Nigeria political space, let’s see how APC and PDP are misleading Nigerians or throwing a lifeline to the drowning country with intends to take it to the shore.

While the People Democratic Party – PDP as a political Party watches over which direction the All Progressive Congress – APC will go Presidentially, respective PDP Governors are also monitoring the body language of the Presidency to determine whether they could run for the Presidential ticket as some of them had unofficially indicated interest.

The other wing of the country political theatre has the APC Governors, Senators, Rep Members and Ministers making the calculus more complex internally for the Party as they are fragmented into Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s faction, the Villa’s faction, APC Governors Forum’s faction, Mai Mala Buni’s faction, Yemi Osinbajo faction’s, Chibuike Ameachi’s faction, Orji Uzor Kalu’s faction, David Umahi’s faction, Northern and Southern Nigeria interest factions respectively and etc…

One need not being a seer to foresee a lethal chaos been constituted to assume a flash point that may be sinister to the whole country if not properly handled.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan once said at the build up of his quest for second term in 2015 that his ambition to be President of Nigeria does not worth the spilling of the blood of any Nigerian (Quote paraphrased).

But today the same President Goodluck Jonathan on what appears to be an opened secret, is drafted by the APC kingmakers into a hullabaloo weaved of several contending interests that may invalidate that golden stands that earned him global honours.

GEJ has phobia for blood spillage. But how would he stop it during or after 2023 general elections in his quest to return to power?

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday 5th January 2022 during an interview aired on Channel TV has indirectly told the whole nation that the 2023 general elections maybe soaked in blood.

Answering question on who would his successor be, the President said:

“I won’t tell you my favourite for 2023, I don’t want them to eliminate him”.

This already is an indicator that the forthcoming general election may spill blood.

And of all the candidates who have so far indicated interest across regional lines in APC, former President Goodluck Jonathan is already tipped as a sure bet by the Villa.

Beyond the “uncertainty of safety” for Muhammadu Buhari’s choice for 2023 whom the President himself has started entertaining some fears, for former President Goodluck Jonathan to return to power at this time would be an infraction to the principles of Nigeria’s power rotation/zoning in the future.

Bringing former President Goodluck Jonathan back to power at this time has gotten pundits searching, crosschecking and analysing the gains and losses that his second coming may cause to the entire South.

As it presents itself in today power rotation in Nigeria, power should naturally be ceded to the southern region of the country.
Even when the People Democratic Party – PDP whose Constitution makes provision for zoning had deactivated it this time around to massage few Northerners interest and seems to allow the North rob the South of another possible eight years, while the APC is looking Southward for next President.

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While the APC is politically correct for intending to choose a Southerner as its Presidential candidate for 2023 election, former President Goodluck Jonathan shouldn’t be the choice for the South slot.

Of all the Presidents of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from the first Republic till date, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan is the first with no too good second person naturally endowed with peace to keep Nigeria together.

Beyond his administration laissez faire which trusted everybody in his cabinet, who in return misconstrued GEJ simple dispositions to weakness, hence took advantage of that to loot public funds, President Jonathan administration still remains the best compared to the over six years public outcry resultant from the present administration deficit in policies in all sectors of governance irrespective of excuses of national spread of insurgency and excuses on galloping prices of crude oil sales and the value of Dollars per Naira then and now.

Regardless of former President Jonathan’s towering credentials in Peace Keeping and his global recognition in conflict resolution and mediation, he is still not the best slot for the presidency at this time.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan came to power as Vice President to late President Musa Yar’Adua from Northwest Nigeria in 2007. While the unfortunate health challenge of the President did not allow him to complete his mandate, Yar’Adua died on May 5, 2010 and Jonathan had already stepped into his shoe by the “Doctrine of Necessity” on February 10, 2010 as Acting President since Yar’Adua was declared incapacitated by the Supreme Court ruling of January 22, 2010. GEJ was then granted leave by David Mark led Senate in May 2010 to drive his joint ticket with Yar’Adua safely to the shore through the Doctrine of Necessity.

In 2011 Jonathan from South-South Nigeria won the election where he was the flag bearer of the People Democratic Party – PDP and became the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with his Vice Architect Namadi Sambo from Kaduna State.

Jonathan’s first slot as substantive President of Nigeria Started on May 29, 2011 and ended on May 29, 2015.

Jonathan has already exhausted four years constitutionally and was entitled to another constitutional four years which would have been an uninterrupted eight years mandate if he had won the 2015 Presidential election.

But regrettably, Jonathan was booted out by a joint force of North and Southwest alliance and he could not achieve the “traditional” dream of Nigerians elected office holders who always wish to be in office for two constitutional terms.

GEJ had one constitutional term, even when some say the Ya’Adua tenure he benefited made it six years. However, bringing him back for another slot will appeal to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to grant him his entitled one term left.

As the horse trading for 2023 Presidential election has began, Jonathan is seen re-newing his intention to return to Aso Rock Villa as President.

While the development is seen in the whole South as Northern power brokers lobbying and negotiating a quick recovery and recuperation of power through GEJ in 2027 just after his leftover constitutionally entitled four years in office has ended, an unbiased political correctness based on North- South power rotation in Nigeria is appealing to Jonathan to restrain himself from being used by Northern power brokers as a means to their aim.

In 9News Nigeria newsroom analysis amongst Senior Editorial team members, we thumb up the APC zoning of the Presidency to the South and we found it equitable and commendable, but choosing Jonathan for the deal smears the APC “good intentions”

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Zoning the Presidency to the South should be entrusted to a fresh candidate who will not be restrained by the law of the land to go for two terms.

While we in 9News Nigeria does not have a preferred candidate in the South to recommend to power brokers and Nigeria kingmakers, we always keep to our lane as an unbiased media house and refuses to be partisan in anyway, but remains fair to all by conveying to the masses decisions and publishable reports of governments, people, events and places worthy of news.

While we report newsworthy activities of governments, we in return feedback authorities with the people outcry on injurious governance policies, or convey to governments the masses commendations and accolades on their pro-people policies.

Head or tail, 9News Nigeria owes its readership fair reportage and can at best have an opinion on a matter(s) of national public interest.

Thus, as it stands GEJ entrance in 2023 Presidential contest is highly criticized and thumbed down in the South.

For the South, a fresh candidate should be instituted as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for a fresh two terms of eight years which shall not be impeded by any constitutional clause of having served before for four years as in the case of GEJ.

In our newsroom analysis, some colleagues said power brokers in the North may have promised Jonathan to keep him in power for fresh eight years uninterrupted through another “Doctrine of Necessity”.

Another “Doctrine of Necessity” ? That’ll be commendable.

Improvising another “Doctrine of Necessity” to keep Jonathan for eight years in power would stop the present agitation of a President from the South.

But give Jonathan another eight years in office as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he will be more Northerner than being a Southerner.

GEJ built and completed 12 Universities. Nine Universities out of the 12 are in Kebbi, Kogi, Katsina, Taraba, Yigawa, Nassarawa, Gombe,Yobe and Zamfara.

Meanwhile, he built only three Universities in the South, namely: Bayelsa, Ekiti and Ebonyi State.

GEJ built and completed 165 Almajiri’s schools in the North, all with boarding houses state of the art facilities, sport arenas and all operating on free tuition, free meals, free uniforms and free day wears.

Where in the South did GEJ gratified a school with such gesture?

Jonathan invested much on Education in 27 States with over 80% of this educational transformation done in the North, while they were skeletal in the South.

For GEJ, charity should start with the neighbour and not with self.

Jonathan left office without a road leading to Otueke his home town. The East-West Road which also traverses Bayelsa State remained at 30% construction milestones till he left office.

Jonathan came, saw and left the proverbial Calabar-Itu Highway which is Nigeria most widest grave swallowing hundreds of lives from the oil rich Akwa Ibom State and the neighbouring Cross River State.

GEJ wore a blindfold when it comes to public outcry about Calabar-Itu Highway and left without constructed it.

Going through GEJ score card, it’s said he constructed and rehabilitated 25,000 Kilometers of roads across the country, but deplorable roads in his South-South, South-East were neglected till he left office.

He initiated the Railway project as the means of transportation for the North and the Muhammadu Buhari administration built just on that foundation.
Thus, from when GEJ left office till date, the Railway service is still a fiction in most States of the South just because he who initiated the idea didn’t really see it as a need for his own region.

There’s no President ever existed in Nigeria with the kind of GEJ national peace disposition. But what his people (the South) holds against him is that, he clothes, shelters and feed neighbours and let his kinsmen go naked, homeless and hungry.

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It’s very certain that Nigeria will be at peace again, the country economy will be friendly if GEJ returns to power. But would the North set the country Constitution aside and grant him an open “Doctrine of Necessity” to let him rule for another eight years?
This is the big question that will earn a chorus NO from every Northerner even when Southerners know that GEJ may not develop his own region but may only concentrate in the North, yet the South can let GEJ rule again for peace to reign in Nigeria.

Getting GEJ back to power in a way that will stop further agitations from other Southern Presidential candidates is to grant him another open “Doctrine of Necessity” to govern for eight years even when he will be on the saddle with the skin of the South, but with a predominant mind to first appeace the North.

The People Democratic Party – would have save Nigeria a great deal if they have intended to zone power to the South.
But as it stands, Nigerians are yet to see PDP having a re-think on this.

PDP is seriously promoting the ambitions of Atiku Abubakar, Bukola Saraki, Aminu Tambuwal, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Sule Lamido and Bala Muhamed.

All these men are Northerners which will make the elastic of the incumbent Muhammadu Buhari presidency much longer, while the South waits.

Why are Southern PDP Governors struggling and lobbying to be running mate to Atiku, Saraki or Tambuwal?

If Northern power brokers intend to bring GEJ from South-South back to power to run for four years, why can’t South-South Governors come together with their huge resources to front one of their own from the same South-South to run for eight years. That will be much more beneficial for the South than having GEJ used to return power to the North in 2027.

Why can’t PDP power brokers take the Presidential ambition of Southerners such as Dele Momodu and Anyim Pius Anyim serious and give one of them the needed backing to win the coming Presidential election than choosing to be an eternal second fiddle for the North?

The People Democratic Party – PDP calls herself the “main opposition party”. That could be true if she is opposing the ruling All Progressive Congres – APC back to back.
But where APC is running southward and PDP is running northward, where then is the opposition?
By virtue of Nigeria natural rotation, zoning, Federal character and power sharing, the battle line for who becomes the next president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is drawn in the South. And APC may have made mistakes in its governance policies since it came to power, but on the issue of rotation or power sharing, APC has it correct this time at 100% and Nigerians are happy with it on this.

Now come to think of it: While the battle line for who becomes the President of Nigeria on May 29, 2023 is naturally drawn in the South, what is PDP looking for up North?
Nigerians ask.

PDP almost became a religion in Nigeria from 1999 to 2015 untill it started loosing members to APC. Critical stakeholders may have left PDP to APC for purpose of atonement of their sins to evade prosecution, but PDP still have innumerable companies of unrepentant foot soldiers resultant from the unfriendly national economic and insecurity situation they all face since APC came to power. But the PDP may loose more stakeholders and a great majority of its foot soldiers if she doesn’t undo her present zoning puzzle to be politically correct before Nigerians.

@ Samuel Abasiekong-Abasiekong, Senior News Editor
9News Nigeria

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About Samuel Abasiekong 805 Articles
Samuel Abasiekong, Senior Journalist, Newspaper Publisher, Author of many literature text books, French-English, English-French languages Translator and Interpreter, Multi-sectoral Counsellor & Consultant, National Convener of National Public Interest Group - NPIG, Secretary Uyo Division of the Nigerian Red Cross Society, News Editor & Reporter @ 9News Nigeria

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