PDP primary election: World hopes for Goodluck Jonathan's victory

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LONDON: 12/01/11

PDP holds primary convention on Thursday amid hope that Goodluck Jonathan would emerge  the winner. Can PDP elect a national leader with passion for the country or would the  party end up with a mediocre representation?

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has been predicted as the sure winner of Peoples Democratic Party candidacy for this year’s Presidential election coming up in April as the party is set for a landmark congress on Thursday.

The odds on the primary count down has been against his main rival Abubakar  Atiku, who has been perceived as pursuing a personal rather than a national agenda.

Atiku has shown so much desperation in his bid to grab the ticket while he has been rumoured as planning to leave the PDP if he lost the primary candidacy bid.

The party on Tuesday carried out a screening exercise which pushed forward three condidates for the election; Jonathan Goodluck, Abubakar Atiku and Sarah Jubril..

Atiku had been given a chance to represent the Northern interest as the Northern Elders Forum seeing  him as having more weight than the ex dictator, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida as the forum aims to continue the former President Umaru Yar’Adua’s regime  base on a so called zoning held in PDP constitution.

But Atiku’s political history has been dotted with several  allegations of impropriety, one of the reasons why he was ditched by former President Olusegun Obasanjo just as their tenure of office was winding up.

Many have seen Obasanjo’s action as justified in the wake of lack of explanation to many allegations of corruption.

Atiku still struts around as an untouchable and only people’s verdict in the Presidential election would speak aloud his guilt as a questionable and untrustworthy politician. He has always shouted  out his innocence though.

Just as the whistle was blown for the primary election, he has childishly exposed his apprehension challenging Jonathan’s legality at contesting for the primary at various quarters, and the peak of the challenge took him to a law court.  The case was thrown out only few days ago described as having no weight.

He has consistently shown apprehension towards the election seizing every opportunity conceivable to run Jonathan down and take some credits with many of his actions backfiring. He has threatened the nation with high level violence if he failed to secure  success in the elections.

Many of his utterances in the aftermath of violent displays have almost made him the first suspect of such violence. Imagine his reaction last week as another bomb went off at the Sanni Abacha Military Barrack; as the nation came together in mourning, all Atiku saw and could utter was Jonathan as a bad leader not capable of handling Nigeria’s security, as if he would have done better if he were to be in the President’s posotion?

Many has seen his confrontational and threatening actions against Jonathan and Nigeria as a whole  acts of desperation capable of dragging the nation back to obscurity.

Jonathan: Hopeful of Victory

“This is an act of desperation and an attempt to put personal interest above national interest”, a PDP youth representative told EMNnews in London on Wednesday morning

Dr Sarah Jubril is the only female presidential candidate on the Nigerian electoral platform and the first lady ever with such determined ambition to rub shoulders with men juggernauts in PDP.

Dr. Sarah Jibril, has once  declared her intention to contest as a presidential candidate in the 2011 general elections and hasn’t held back.

She was the former Progressive Liberation Party (PLP), presidential aspirant in the 2007 elections.

While declaring her intentions late last year, Dr Jibril said what Nigeria needed at a time like this is a parenting president that will attend to the problems affecting the country.

She boasted: “I am that president.”

Dr Jibril, deputy chairman, PLP, remains the first and only woman to aim for the presidency in Nigeria’s political history.

Way back in 1991, she vie for presidency on the dais of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) but came fourth.

She said that her party is awaiting the endorsement of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for registration and recognition as political party while she enjoined more women to vie for elective posts.

She had put up a courage as a frontline woman activist with excellent passion and vision in the nation’s political history. Her chance may not go beyond becoming the second favourite, even beating Atiku in the primary contest.

Jonathan Goodluck has remain cool, calm and collected even in the face of  all provocations and humiliating treatment.

A group of Northern elders even last year threatened to make the nation ungovernable if he vied for the primary candidature.

Abubakar Atiku

But he has always said that God almighty had a mission for him for getting this far  at this point in time of Nigeria’s political history.

He has consistently proclaimed his nationalistic posture towards the nation presenting himself as an ultimate Nigerian without special ethnic and religious preferences:

“When you are a sectional leader you feel insulated from problems outside your region and can “laugh” at the downfall of others. Leaders build unity. I promise to always be a national leader. When any part of Nigeria mourns, I mourn, when they rejoice, I rejoice. I’ll laugh with you, not AT you.

I’ll be a shoulder to lean on” he once revealed on his Facebook page.

In another of his messages, he declared: “I was loyal to my leader, the late great President Umaru Yar’adua. I am loyal to Nigeria, I don’t claim to represent North, South or a Committee-I represent Nigeria.

I am loyal to Nigeria’s economy, I don’t have accounts or property abroad, ALL my children live and school in Nigeria. I am loyal to my wife and friends. Can those who accuse me say the same?

As insults rained down on him from the camps of his party rivals, Jonathan had mildly challenged telling Nigerians to judge:”You may have read in the papers some persons virulent attacks on my person, calling me a disloyal person. I would only urge you to objectively look at my past and the past of those making these allegations and let your conscience guide you. As I said, the only difference we need to make in Nigeria is between good and bad not North and South.

He further said:”Some have made their choice. However, I urge the rest of us to prepare to answer whether we are Northerners, Southerners or Nigerians. My passport and yours says Federal Republic of Nigeria. When we recite the National Pledge, we affirm to Nigeria. I’m a Nigerian candidate and I will not be tired of pledging to Nigeria my country to be faithful loyal and honest! North or South, East or West, Nigeria is the best”

Goodluck has demonstrated maturity, endurance, passion and the muscles to put down those
muzzling our nation’s destiny. He once reacted to them as the nation grounded to abrupt ending on October 1 2010 Independence day celebration: “Although this is somewhat a new experience for us, especially as bombings had never taken place in the Federal Capital Territory before last Friday’s incident, the security agencies have been instructed to leave no stone unturned in securing lives and property.

I am being briefed regularly and I am confident that the agencies are on top of the situation. I implore Nigerians to go about their normal businesses and should not be intimidated or become paranoid over the cowardly act of a few Nigerians who obviously do not have the love of this country at heart.

Dear friends, if the aim of the attackers is to create a sense of insecurity and panic across the nation in order to advance their narrow interests, Nigerians will stand up to them and make it clear that they cannot be intimidated.

Nigeria is bigger than any individual or any collection of individuals. Nobody can hold a country of 150 million people to ransom any more. The interest of a few conceited, ill-motivated individuals cannot be bigger than our national aspirations”.

Bloomberg.net on line news  in its Wednesday report quoted Rose Umoren, President of Abuja based  Global Money Ltd as saying:”Jonathan is certain to emerge winner barring any upheaval,”

The business research based company executive further hoped that a victory for Jonathan in April would ensure an amnesty remains in place for militants who lay down their arms in the oil-rich Niger delta, a policy that has helped boost oil output by 27 percent since July 2009. She is optimistic that Jonathan’s victory  would also guarantee plans to split up and sell the state-owned power utility, create a sovereign wealth fund and ensure the passage of a new petroleum industry law pending in parliament.

“Jonathan has taken a more credible approach to reforms than his predecessors,” since coming to power in May, said Alan Cameron, a U.K.-based analyst at Business Monitor International. “This applies equally to plans for the power sector, the banking system and the petroleum industry, all of which of are crucial to growth in the years ahead.”

Oil and Power

Nigeria is Africa’s fifth-largest source of U.S. oil imports. Hague-based Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. of San Ramon, California, Total SA andEni SpA run joint ventures with the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. that pump more than 90 percent of the West African nation’s oil.

In the electricity industry, the government plans to sell generation and distribution companies created out of Power Holding Co. of Nigeria, and allow private companies to set up power plants, Jonathan said in August.

Blackouts are a daily occurrence in Nigeria, a country of 150 million people where demand for electricity is almost double the current average supply of 3,000 megawatts.

Jonathan has “outlined his priorities already and power is one of them,” said Yvonne Mhango, an economist at Renaissance Capital in Johannesburg. “The power shortage is one thing that everyone experiences in the country.”

According to Lamido Sanusi, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the economy would grow more than 10 percent a year if there was adequate power supply. Jonathan on Dec. 15 forecast growth of 7 percent this year, little changed on 2010.

Jonathan’s victory in the primary on Thursday  may come at a cost for the PDP. Abubakar may be tempted to leave the party and ally with a rival candidate, said Sebastian Spio-Garbrah, managing director of DaMina Advisors LLP in New York.

Jonathan succeeded Umaru Yar’Adua, a Muslim northerner who died on May 5, three years into his first term. As a southern Christian, his candidacy is contrary to an unwritten party rule to rotate the country’s top office between the mainly Muslim north and the predominantly Christian south for two four-year terms.

A rebellion by northern PDP members would benefit Muhammadu Buhari, a northern Muslim and former military ruler who is the presidential candidate for the opposition Congress for Progressive Change.

Bloomberg further hoped: “A race between Jonathan and Buhari may prove very volatile because of the sharp regional and ethno-religious undercurrent it will generate,” Spio-Garbrah said in an e- mailed note on Jan. 10.

At least 14,000 people have died in ethnic and religious violence since 1999 in Nigeria, according to the Brussels-based International Crisis Group.

The opposition’s weakness may lie in its inability to form a united front against Jonathan, said Rolake Akinola, a London- based Africa analyst at VoxFrontier Consulting.

“I don’t think the opposition is about to cause a major election upset,” she said in an e-mail. The Action Congress of Nigeria, the All Nigeria Peoples Party and the All Progressives Grand Alliance party won’t be able to form a viable alliance to unseat the PDP, she said.

That may come as a relief to investors who are looking to invest in Africa’s most populous nation.

“The advantage that Jonathan has is that he is familiar to the international community,” Mhango said. “He’s a known quantity.”

Every vote against Jonathan today is a vote to nail the coffin of PDP as Jonathan remains the only thin line that links PDP with the people of Nigeria in the face of PDP’s many years of atrocities against our beautiful nation made more impotent because of the party’s misrule and in the event of contemptuous manipulation of over 150million people last year as the nation’s well loved president Umaru Yar’Adua laid ill and in agony. With no conscience, a cabal used the president condition to allot contracts and stole signed cheques.

Can Nigeria afford a PDP rule without a credible leader if the so-called incumbency factor played the election game for the party, come April?. Can Nigerian afford another big political fall?

Additional Source: Bloomberg.net

PDP Chairman O Nwodo

5000 delegate members may vote at PDP’s convention

About 5000 delegates from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory are expected to vote in the Peoples Democratic Party’s special national convention at the Eagle Square in Abuja tomorrow, the national organising secretary of the party, Uche Secondus has said.

Three members of the party, President Goodluck Jonathan, former vice president Atiku Abubakar and Sarah Jubril, are contesting to pick the party’s presidential ticket for the April 9 presidential election.

The trio were cleared by the Aminu Wali-led 10-member presidential screening panel last night.

The delegates, according to Mr Secondus, will vote by open secret ballot system.

He also said that the accreditation of the delegates will begin by 6pm today at two centres – the Women Development Centre and International Conference Centre, all in Abuja.

Mr Secondus added that the convention will begin at 10 am.

Meanwhile, the National Working Committee of the party has named a 40-member National Electoral Panel headed by Tunde Adeniran, a former minister of education to conduct the voting at the convention.

Source: NEXT