By Magili Imam Galadanci
Being a person who ordinarily would choose leadership purely on the ability of those persons to do the job, without regard to zoning, rotation or quota, I do find some resonance with Gov. Nasir El-Rufai’s position in his Arise TV interview, that an understanding exists in the social consciousness of Nigerians that after eight years of President Muhammadu Buhari, PMB, the next President will come from southern Nigeria.
This is in tandem with the repeated statements of the Southern Governors Forum whose position harps on Justice, Equity and Fairness (JEF). Almost everyone agrees or, at least, pretends to agree on this JEF principle.
The wickedness of political elite bares its ugly teeth only when you try to apply the principle. All sorts of argument are evoked to block a simple line of reason that, if indeed JEF is of any value, then the only part of the South that will present the presidential candidates of both the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, is the South East.
Any argument that allows the South West or the South South, both of which have served as President, must then allow any part of the North. If the argument is about voting strength, or about belief or participation, or votes garnered for any of the parties, it applies in pari materials to the North.
It is only the JEF principle that is a distinct factor. And that factor situates the President in the South East.
This is more so because the South East parades every type of candidate that the country may desire. For any of the following categorisation, whether by perception or relative facts, known names in both parties are available to equate a counterpart in the South West.
1. The ex-governor, party leader, state wealth sequestrating, and national mobilising, money laundering to politicians & political event category … We have Rochas (Iberiberism) for Tinubu (Jagaba). South West PDP has avoided this category.
2. The university lecturers, dutiful or loyal follower, ex-governor relative election value, religious, aging liberal category… We present Ogbonnaya Onu for Osinbajo Yemi.
3. The Pragmatics, Buhari loyalists, urbane, business-savvy, experienced young, youthful, electoral appeal and wide acceptability category… South East presents Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba for South West John Kayode Fayemi…in APC or Peter Obi for South West Ayo Fayose.
4. The Military Generals, strongmen, Old trusted hands category… South East can bring.. Gen. Ebittu Ukiwe (former vice-president) or Gen. Azubuike against South West Olorinshaki or others.
The point being made is that there is no parameter of choice in which the South East is lacking. There is no criterion for which the South East does not have the best man for the combinations sought.
The need for a united Nigeria, where everyone owns a patriotic stake is best illuminated by we all making a deliberate statement of choice to make JEF an underlining principle. The deliberate statement of choosing the South East is a developmental strategy of deliberate cultivating a social and psychological mindset among every Nigerian, that indeed, we all are one and must work together to unleash the touted potential of this nation.
Indeed, competence, capability, capacity and character are my favoured factors for role assignment. I only posit that, in line with national thought and consciousness hinged on Justice, Equity and Fairness, derived from the motto of our country…Unity and Faith, Equity and Justice…the South East with more than enough persons with my favoured criteria, present us a President in 2023.
– Barr. Magili Imam Galadanci wrote in from Kano
2023: Jonathan and his moral burden
The rumour mill of late is agog with planned defection of former President Goodluck Jonathan from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress.
For long the APC has not made any pretence of its intention to lure the prized statesman to its fold, believing that it could enable the party win the 2023 presidential election, a bait it is dangling before the former President.
As a matter of fact, this idea is the brainchild of some northern hawks who want to kill two birds with one stone by not only checkmating the ambition of the South to produce Buhari’s successor but with an abridged tenure of four years, instead of eight.
Constitutionally, Jonathan, who was stampeded out of office after his first term, is still entitled to a second term of four years. Therefore, the North feels that handing Jonathan the office, the presidency in 2023 would elapse after four years and then revert to the North again.
Even though Jonathan is yet to make any categorical denial or affirmation of the plot, his body movement is suspicious, especially with his recurrent secret meetings with President Muhammadu Buhari in recent times. It is suspected that details of the deal are being worked out at such meetings. He has also distanced himself from the activities of the PDP.
Meanwhile, the issue is making the PDP to sweat under the collar. It has been sending delegates to the former President, including Bukola Saraki, ex-Senate President to dissuade Jonathan from such a step.
As a matter of fact, Jonathan showed his sympathy for the APC when he ran against the mill in 2019 by secretly supported the APC candidate, David Lyon, in the Bayelsa governorship election. Indeed, Lyon won and APC stalwarts visited him to express appreciation but, unfortunately for them, the Supreme Court threw a spanner in the works and PDP bounced back to power
However, it is noteworthy for Jonathan to put certain things in perspective before drinking from this poisoned chalice. Would it be morally right for Jonathan to accept the Greek gift and leave the PDP in the lurch? Would it be right for Jonathan to shortchange the South because of personal ambition? Would it not be a betrayal of the South-East that stuck by him and suffered heavily because of it under the circumstances and whose turn equity and fairness favour to produce the next President? Again, what else would Jonathan be achieving by returning to the office he left with his heads high about six years ago in a rather devious manner? Has he considered what this could do to his integrity and the statesman credential he has acquired across the African continent? Worst still, what happens if by any chance he contests and loses?
Some APC members want to use Jonathan as a counterpoise to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who is a very potent force also said to be interested in the plum job.
For instance, a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Musa Sarkin Adar, who is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from Sokoto State, spoke on Arise Television, saying Jonathan would give Tinubu a good run for the APC presidential ticket, if he joins the party.
So, in any case, the move is purely for the North’s selfish interest and not out of love for Jonathan or his capacity. Basically, the scheme is to edge out Tinubu from the race or better still rob the South of four years in office.
It is advisable for Jonathan not to gamble with his integrity. In the event he agrees to fly the APC flag, he stands a chance to be rubbished by the law courts, which would be interpreting the legality of such a move. Having been vice-president and completed the remaining years of his principal and additional one term, would he still be eligible to contest and be inaugurated for the third time as President if he wins?
Actually, President Buhari in 2018 signed a constitution amendment, stipulating only one full term for a vice-president who completes the term of his principal. In view of this, how would Jonathan fare in the 2023 election, if he falls for the APC bait?
Honestly, win or lose, this can never be in the former President’s best interest.