Jonathan versus whoever!

At the time of writing, APC delegates’ votes are still being sorted at the APC Convention venue in Lagos, so I cannot offer Vanguard readers any comments about the APC’s Presidential candidate because I don’t yet know which of the aspirants will win. And if I hang on any longer to await the result, I will not be able to complete this column before the printing deadline for Friday’s paper.

Ex-President Buhari has the upper hand at the moment. But anything can happen in politics. The Kano and Imo State Governors, Kwankwanso and Rochas Okorocha, are also doing pretty well and might wind up clinching the ticket.

Jonathan and Buhari

Anyway, by the time this column appears, we will all know who the APC’s flagbearer is; and a very interesting race will have commenced between Jonathan and Whoever. And though some folks are insisting that Jonathan will definitely be the victor because he is an incumbent with a dazzling array of advantages at his disposal, I reckon that a Jonathan victory is far from certain.

I must say that I’m really surprised that PDP stalwarts chose to hand Jonathan their ticket on a plate. Instead of throwing the field open to eligible contenders and conducting primaries in a democratic fashion like the APC, they actively discouraged potential rivals from coming forward; and the PDP Convention, which also took place this week, was a coronation rather than a contest.

This respectful gesture is great for Jonathan. But is it great for the PDP?

Is Jonathan REALLY the best man the PDP can present to the electorate at a time when the Presidency has a major image problem and is being widely accused, both here and internationally, of various weaknesses, failures and errors of judgement… including its less than impressive handling of the war against Boko Haram, its tolerance of corruption and its inability to rescue the Chibok schoolgirls?

And what about the fact that Abba Moro, the Minister of the Interior, is still riding high in office (and recently received a national honour!) despite having been in charge of a botched recruitment exercise that led to many deaths?

In a normal country, just one of the above mistakes would be enough to ruin a head of state’s career and cause him to be replaced as the leader of his party!

Meanwhile, let us contrast ex-President Obasanjo’s opinion of Buhari with his opinion of Jonathan:

“Gen. Muhammadu Buhari is an upright man. Not many people know that his first daughter is married to an Igbo man from Anambra. He exempted Christians from performing duty on Sundays.

When his Muslim

soldiers asked him to exempt   them from duty on Friday, he told them that while the bible says Christians should rest on the 7th day, the Muslims should show him where the Koran says they should rest on Fridays.”

As Head of State he slashed the number of Muslims going on pilgrimage by 50%. His driver and cook for the past 10 years plus are Christians, yet some uninformed Nigerians say he is a bigot. It is a pity that some people failed to understand that PDP deliberately capitalised on the gullibility of Nigerians to paint him black. This they did in order to keep their loot and ensure that he never gets the opportunity to send them to goal.

How many Nigerians would hold the appointment of government minister of petroleum, PTF chairman and head of state yet don’t own a house in Abuja? He has only one house and never kept a foreign account. Love him, hate him you cannot take his integrity away from him.”

On the other hand, Obasanjo has described Jonathan as below average…and that’s the most polite criticism he has uttered against Jonathan.

I won’t bother to repeat the other much more toxic remarks that Obasanjo has lavished on his onetime protégée because Jonathan’s fans are always accusing me, nowadays, of hating the Jonathan I once fanatically supported like a Sister; and I myself feel sad whenever I complain about Jonathan or repeat other peoples’ complaints about him because I DON’T hate him. I am just upset with him for not fulfilling his potential. I wanted him to be a hero.

Jonathan’s fans also frequently say that Obasanjo is unfair and biased. But I wonder why Obasanjo should attack a successor HE selected if he was not honestly disappointed in that successor!

I could be wrong, but I strongly suspect that Obasanjo also throws brickbats at Jonathan reluctantly because Jonathan’s performance reflects badly on him.

If you recommend someone for a job and the person blunders often and rarely shines, people will blame you as well as your nominee; and many people are indeed blaming Obasanjo for choosing Jonathan; and I may be wrong, but I think that Obasanjo wanted Jonathan to be a fantastic leader and would have preferred to proudly carry Jonathan on his head and declare him a huge success.

Anyway, whatever the outcome of the 2015 election, let’s pray that Nigeria gets better in the coming years because, as things stand, it can’t get much worse.


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