PDP primary election campaign: A dangerous trend in Nigerian politics?

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Sleaze, blackmail, slander and many more are the emerging fashion now characterising the on-going People’s Democratic Party primary election campaigns as the party  gears up for the  election of the right candidate to carry its flag in election 2011.

With campaigns hotting up among the camps of many candidates, there are emerging  innuendos and calculated efforts to disparage candidates characters through all means especially the engagement of international media.

Just days after the Independence Day’s bombing, a statement made by President Goodluck Jonathan to the effect of exonerating MEND as innocent of the attack  met with repressive outbursts and disgraceful attack on the persons of the president, with camps massaging the presidents statements and raining various abuses on his personality and forgetting that the president knew what many of us did not know as the custodian of the nation’s stake -holding.

He  harbours all informations about the security of the state as supplied nationally and internationally. If he was quick to speak on the explosion, it goes to show that he knew what many Nigerians did not know, especially with many international dignataries staying away from the celebration.

His political enemies had a free day attacking his personality and uttering what may not have been condoned by those firing the salvos.

Well, we all attest to the fact that politics is a dirty game. But Nigerian political class in recent times has demonstrated utmost immaturity, even more guilty of what they were accusing the president for in terms of using a national tragedy to score political points.

The recent unfolding political events has pointed to a complete disgraceful direction of a politics of bitterness, calumny and sectionalism born out of desperation and fanatism towards political office holding. Many political leaders are playing politics of tribalism and  sectionalism to the detriment of the future our dear nation.

A leading political figure from the northern part of the country said the north would make the country ungovernable if President Goodluck Jonaathan should stand for the primary election. What a disgraceful utterance from a political stakeholder who has held many posts in the nation politically and has once even appended the nation’s currency.

His utterance show the level of desperation by many of our old politicians seeing Nigeria’s political life as a family inheritance and tribal rights.

During the week, what looked like a deliberate attempt to further soil the personality of the President came when a foreign on line news media emerged with an insinuating  report that  President Jonathan had been using the state fund to bribe the primary election candidates to buy their votes. Shame big shame.

The story has sold out the source as the enemy of our nation who is ready to go to any length to achieve his crashing ambition.

There report  painted the picture of  its sponsor as the right candidate  and great Nigerian for post Independence  political period.

It is obvious to trace  the source of the story  and it is doubtful if such gesture given to him by the manipulating medium with its over exaggeration  of the ‘tipped’ candidate had been offered free.

PDP’s coming primary is only  an intra party campaign and contest already bedevilled with acrimony and blackmail.

With  the nation facing the proper election come 2011, where does the nation’s fate stand.

Nigeria house of commotions?
Nigeria house of commotions?

As a stakeholder in Africa and the world over, Nigeria cannot afford to slip once again into anarchy. Playing  politics of rancour and acrimony after celebrating 50 years of Independence may sell Nigeria out as a very weak nation capable of being incited by both inside and outside forces. The Independence day bombing is a classic case in point.

Our  House of Assembly should be gearing up to pass laws forbidding politics of blackmail and hatred as the nation moves towards a crucial election come, 2011.

The current situation may put many sections of the nation’s polity in complete political stand-off and regional conflict. Think Nigeria think! Our destiny in our hand.

The infamous  foreign report blackmailing President Jonathan:

By Global Information System:

“The corruption of the Nigerian political process is now in full swing: major payments are now being made to each of the delegates of the political parties, particularly the overwhelmingly large ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), who decide the primary elections which then select the party candidate for the presidential elections in 2011. Moreover, the incumbent President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, is bribing PDP delegates out of Federal Government funds, making most of the party delegates wealthy enough to buy a new home with the bribery funds”

There are some three delegates for each local government council, and some of the 36 states (plus the Federal Territory of Abuja) have, for example, up to 40 or more local government bodies.

The incumbent President’s own state, Bayelsa, has only a few, but with each delegate being offered multiple cash payments of up to two-million naira (appr. $13,300) for his vote, the total bill runs into billions of naira. Significantly, each delegate is being bribed by multiple candidates, so each delegate could come out of the election process with enough cash to buy a small house or a car. Moreover, with delegates taking cash from multiple candidates, it is clear that some candidates will have paid out money for nothing.”In the end,” one candidate told GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs: “We can only hope that delegates will vote their conscience. We can’t suggest that they refuse to take the money; everyone now is taking it. But they should, at the end of the day, vote their conscience.”

“Even assuming that the primaries deliver a clear candidate from the PDP, the outcome is far from certain.

It seems unlikely that incumbent President Jonathan can secure an unequivocal mandate from the PDP, given the widespread opposition to him from all the Northern political elements. Thus far, President Jonathan has promoted a facade of Northern support from the incumbent Northern governors. In reality, all the Northern governors have endorsed all of the candidates, a clear way of endorsing none.

Even if his cash buys the PDP nomination, it is unlikely that President Jonathan can then win the public vote. The Yoruba South-West will vote for its own candidate; the Igbo in the South will not vote for him, because if they do they will be excluded from their own shot at the presidency for perhaps as long as 18 more years. The Igbo must support a Northern presidential candidate, ideally with an Igbo running mate, to allow the North to complete the its turn at the presidency which was begun by President Yar’Adua, but thwarted by his death with his first term completed by a South-South candidate, Jonathan. And the North, by and large (Muslim and Christian) will not vote for Jonathan, whose popularity nationally plummeted following the Independence Day (Oct. 1) bombings near Eagle Square, Abuja

President Goodluck Jonathan is scarcely disguising the fact that he is using state funds to pay the bribes to delegates. One of his closest campaign leaders has been recorded on tape, twice, saying that Goodluck Jonathan would “pay whatever is required for each vote.” In earlier elections, the nomination was always secured at the primaries by payments of cash, particularly the nominations of Chief Mashood Abiola and Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo. But as old political hands in Abuja noted in those days, “when you bought a vote, it stayed bought”. Not so today.

A series of delays in the political process has ensured that the parties are unlikely to have their primaries until late December 2010 or early January 2011, and elections may not be feasible until around April 2011, if then. The voter records are not ready, and neither is the voting machinery. The government allocated funds to buy some 140,000 voting machines from Bangladesh, but then could not fully fund the agreed budget for them. In any event, there is some doubt as to whether the suppliers could even deliver that quantity of voting machines in time, along with the software programmed in to cover some 60political parties. There is every reason, then, to believe that the National Electoral Commission could declare that free and fair elections could not be held to meet the constitutional deadline.

Even assuming that the primaries deliver a clear candidate from the PDP, the outcome is far from certain. It seems unlikely that incumbent President Jonathan can secure an unequivocal mandate from the PDP, given the widespread opposition to him from all the Northern political elements. Thus far, President Jonathan has promoted a facade of Northern support from the incumbent Northern governors. In reality, all the Northern governors have endorsed all of the candidates, a clear way of endorsing none.

Even if his cash buys the PDP nomination, it is unlikely that President Jonathan can then win the public vote. The Yoruba South-West will vote for its own candidate; the Igbo in the South will not vote for him, because if they do they will be excluded from their own shot at the presidency for perhaps as long as 18 more years. The Igbo must support a Northern presidential candidate, ideally with an Igbo running mate, to allow the North to complete the its turn at the presidency which was begun by President Yar’Adua, but thwarted by his death with his first term completed by a South-South candidate, Jonathan. And the North, by and large (Muslim and Christian) will not vote for Jonathan, whose popularity nationally plummeted following the Independence Day (Oct. 1) bombings near Eagle Square, Abuja.

President Jonathan had believed that he had taken control of the PDP by removing its previous chairman and installing his own man as National Chairman: Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo. However, by Oct. 25, the party was beginning to revolt against him by members of the Party’s National Working Committee, including the Deputy National Chairman, Alhaji Haliru Mohammed Bellow; the National Secretary, Alhaji Abubakar Baraje; and the Party’s National Legal Advisor, Chief Olusola Oke. The party revolt was over the chairman’s alleged “unilateral actions”. Sources indicated that this was a fight which was about to escalate and embroil the president.

Meanwhile, President Jonathan should face a major challenge, possibly even by the end of October or the first week of November, when the Northern elders, not just from the PDP but across the spectrum of parties, and from both Muslim and Christian groupings, come out with their decision as to which candidate is “the candidate of the North” for the presidency, regardless of party. This would present an almost unprecedented situation, in which Nigeria’s North, en bloc, had decided on a preferred candidate. Earlier reporting had indicated that the so-called “wise men of the North” would recommend a consensus candidate for just the PDP, but it is now evident that the selection goes beyond party boundaries.

Assuming, as is likely, the North does vote more-or-less en bloc for the consensus candidate, the other regions would not be expected to vote together to deliver enough votes to defeat such a candidate, either in the party primaries or in the general presidential election in 2011.

Sources in a number of areas in Nigeria’s North reported that, as of Oct. 26, only one candidate had all the credentials to win the nomination: former National Security Advisor Aliyu Mohammed (also known as Aliyu Mohammed Gusau, as he comes from Gusau). Aliyu Mohammed is known as the one candidate who has never engaged in private business, including receiving payments from oil allocations.

One close confidante said: “Money does not interest him. What drives him is the concept of Nigeria as a unified state. Moreover, he has friends throughout the country, regardless of race or religion. Even internationally, he is as respected in Christian societies as in Jewish or Muslim circles. He has also been the official who has negotiated virtually every major treaty or peacekeeping deal in which Nigeria has been involved for decades. His only problem from a political standpoint is that he is modest, and hates courting the press. Even the many journalists who have known him for decades had refrained from showing his picture in the press out of respect for his privacy. He will now have to change that aspect of his personality, but in all other respects, economics, national planning, consensus-building, diplomacy, security, and much more, he is the great Nigerian of the post-independence period.

Government reacts:

***Our attention has been drawn to a report published in an online news medium, alleging that President Goodluck Jonathan plans to bribe yet to be identified PDP delegates with cash from Federal Government funds to influence his widely anticipated victory at the PDP primaries.

The story itself explains its source, in a desperate campaign of calumny to portray the president in bad light and pre-judge the outcome of the forthcoming PDP presidential primaries, in which he is evidently the man to beat.

But if it is about calumnious material, then there are others who have more to fear, including rattling skeletons in dusty cupboards, than President Jonathan would ever have.

In spite of this, the president in pursuit of fair play and an impartial contest, has urged all his aides and supporters to stay away from the line of calumny. There is hardly any need to ruffle feathers since we would need all the other contestants when, by the grace of God, the president wins the primaries in a fair and square contest.

We advise purveyors of these repugnant stuff to desist forthwith, for it is indeed a game two can play! We only desist in the interest of peace and our avowed commitment to fairplay.


2 COMMENTS

  1. Hey it looks like some guyz here eats from there anus ….. This reporter need financial aids i guess..You are asking Igbo ‘s to vote for a northerner i believe that any igbo man or women that refuses to vote for Good luck Ebele nothing good will ever come to his or her home forever. You can never tell a blind man that the market is on fire this days. That time has gone when northerners takes Igbo’s like there goat rope. I believe that God vindicated this battle by himself because its not by man’s power that Good luck Jonathan is there but by the power of the God of Abraham.Now its our turn to use northerners like our goat rope and nothing can change it not even you this pepper. And any length that the masses wants it we are ready or we divide for good. Thanks