Second Term for President Jonathan...
By: Salisu Suleiman
Now that we are beginning the year with massive increases in the prices of petrol, transport, foodstuffs, school fees, rents and everything else, it is imperative to creatively earn additional income. In the last two years, the most lucrative occupation in Nigeria was supporting President Jonathan at all costs and by all means. Thousands of groups emerged overnight to plead, beg, cajole and threaten mass suicide if Jonathan didn't run for president. In the end, he ÔÇśreluctantly' allowed himself to be persuaded.
Today, all members of those groups and anyone who actively supported Jonathan are billionaires and millionaires. True, a few of them have sold the SUVs they bought and have been thrown out of the hotels they were living, but most of them will not feel the rising cost of living nor participate in the meaningless protests over fuel subsidy removal. The rest of us must find ways to survive Mr. President's New Year gift. Ironically, the most lucrative way is to support him early and vigorously - for a second term in office. It is not too early. Remember, the early bird catches the worms. In our own case, the early supporters will catch the dollars....
But more seriously, in a proper democracy, Goodluck Jonathan would not have been governor, much less president. Everyone knows last year's elections were massively rigged and outrageous amounts spent to buy or coerce support for him. And because religion and region were used to blindfold many Nigerians, the PDP had its way. The rest should be history, except that today, we have to live with the consequences of that decision: devolution of corruption, delegation of poverty and democratization of insecurity.
And just when you think that the quality of leadership in Nigeria cannot possibly sink any lower than it has with Goodluck Jonathan, take one look at those warming up to succeed him and it becomes immediately obvious that the president ÔÇô dull, uninspiring and visionless as he, is not necessarily the worse specimen the world's most corrupt political party ÔÇô PDP - can throw up. A look at the two potential successors within the party ÔÇô Vice President Namadi Sambo and Senate President David Mark sends shivers down the spines of those who know the two men ÔÇô and their largely nondescript, even poor records in public service.
As a major government contractor, Namadi Sambo has always been part of government. There are claims that his firm hardly completed projects, even at grossly inflated sums. Incidentally, contract for a major water supply scheme to his hometown was awarded to his company. He didn't complete it as a contractor and couldn't be bothered as governor; most parts of Zaria still do not have water. As governor of Kaduna state in an election he clearly didn't win, Namadi Sambo only succeeded in taking huge loans that simply disappeared. Beyond that, he had nothing to show. How two non performing governors ended up as president and vice president is a serious indictment of our political system.
As for Senate President David Mark, this man represents all that is wrong with leadership in Nigeria. From the post war panel to resolve ÔÇśabandoned' properties of the Igbo after the civil war, this man has been part of government for ever. He was a regular at Dodan Barracks in the 1970s and later emerged as military governor of Niger State when the military disrupted our democracy. Not many people in the state remember any solid legacy he left behind before his reassignment as minister of communications where his most important achievement was his statement that ÔÇśtelephones are not for the poor'.
David Mark is currently serving his fourth term in the senate, but most people in his constituency would swear that he didn't win any of those elections. But because he understands the corrupt Nigerian system so well, he thrives in the chaos and injustice. With his tremendous wealth, the only thing has achieved for his people is a golf course in the outskirts of Otupko (where no one plays golf and whose residents would rather have the water from the golf course in their homes). The roads are bad, but he visits by helicopter. He couldn't even influence the placing of a federal university in his constituency last year when government was ÔÇśsharing' universities for political ends. Mark supported Obasanjo's third term ambition ÔÇô and the sharing of the booties ÔÇô to the bitter end.
So back to Goodluck: With his laid-back mien and outward unwillingness (though his calculating and cruel character is creeping out) it is easy to underestimate President Jonathan. But the man is a much more consummate power player than we give him credit for. The greatest myth around Jonathan is the notion that he has always been a reluctant politician and that by some divine miracle, power has always come to him. To have successfully sold that dummy is one of the smartest acts of political subtlety in Nigeria.
We may all want Jonathan out of office before he completely destroys Nigeria, but if he decides to run, what can stop him?
The fact is, by 2015, Nigerians may be in for another rude shock. At the appropriate time, and with the fitting level of reluctance, Jonathan will ÔÇśunwillingly' allow himself to be persuaded to run for a second term. He won't be running because he wants to remain in office. He will run only after ÔÇśdeeply reflecting on the calls from the Nigerian patriots home and abroad, traditional rulers, state governors and out of respect for the wishes of the Nigerian people'. It will be his ÔÇśpatriotic duty to run for president in Nigeria to consolidate the achievements of the last few years'.
So to survive 2012 and beyond, block your nostrils to hold off the stench; suffocate your conscience; lay to rest your pride; close your eyes to his ineptitude and support Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for a second term in office and watch your bank accounts grow. What do you think the $8 billion saved from subsidy removal will be used for?