We proceed from the view that there is, permit the cliché, no smoke without fire. Therefore, we do not believe that the talk about former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan being the ace in the hands of northern political power planners (powerbrokers, if you will) against ‘genuine’ return of power to the South after the expiration of President Buhai’s tenure in 2023, is an idle talk. The APC Governors’ visit to Jonathan, the chummy relationship between Buhari and former President Jonathan, evident in Jonathan’s frequent visits to Aso Rock which had hitherto practically pulled out all the stops to discredit his tenure, and the former president’s recent high-profile diplomatic assignments for the federal government…all these, we believe, didn’t come by chance: they were carefully planned.
But, we in AbeyaNews are saying that whatever the promises, however watertight their plans, former President Jonathan must reject any proposal to draft him into the 2023 presidential race as a Greek gift.
Of course, Jonathan is very much qualified to vie for the presidency again. We denied him the privilege of a second term in 2015, so he is still entitled to four more years to enable him complete the statutory two terms of eight years beyond which no one is qualified again to run for any executive political office in Nigeria. Indeed, we reckon that if Jonathan had been elected for a second term in 2015, that election would have marked a watershed in the political evolution of Nigeria. For, it would have shattered the myth that one couldn’t be elected President of Nigeria if one wasn’t of any of the big three tribes—Hausa/Fulani, Igbo or Yoruba. It would have birthed a truly new Nigeria where the individual would become electable not because of where he comes from but because we trust he can do what he promised he would do when elected. Instructively, however, those who now appear fascinated by the Jonathan persona and are raring to use him against his political support base, made sure that that revolution was never set afoot.
So, we won’t encourage Jonathan to accept their wily proposal because to do so would amount to completely alienating his political support base. And the question is, why would he take such a risk?
Those who are pushing for Jonathan’s candidacy feed on old, troubling narrative, namely, that the South is a divided house where residents relate to one another like crabs in a deep bowl: one is loathe to allow the other climb out first! They believe, or know, that the Yoruba, for instance, may not be amenable to a whole-hearted support for the Igbo to produce the next president of Nigeria. And since the North would rather retain and consolidate power than relinquish it, it serves their interest that the South is always divided. But, if the North must relinquish power at all, according to the permutation, they must give it to a person who is neither Igbo nor Yoruba and who will be eternally grateful for the favour, hence the Jonathan gambit.
It is just possible for Jonathan to win election without the support of the South East and South West (2019 has shown that anything is electorally possible in Nigeria with this government). But how will that presidency play out? With only the South East naysaying it, the President Buhari Administration has found it practically impossible to govern smoothly these past years. How will a Jonathan Presidency without South East support play out? Going by Fashola’s insinuation that the agreement between the North and South West was to the effect that power would rotate back to the South West after Buhari, it is unlikely that the South West will support another Jonathan presidency (which they never supported in the first instance!). Which, then, is to assume that Jonathan will be in power without the support of the South East and South West put together. That, to be sure, is not even a situation to be contemplated because, were it to come to pass, it only means Nigeria will roil in another four years of political turmoil!
Today, former President Jonathan has become easily the most famous and internationalist ex-Nigerian President alive, celebrated across the world, especially in Africa, for his enviable democratic credentials and uncommon disposition to peace. Waving the olive branch and vowing that his personal (presidential) ambition was not worth a drop of the blood of any Nigerian, Jonathan was to organize a presidential election in which he, a sitting African President and candidate, lost and, having lost, immediately conceded defeat and peacefully handed over to his successor, the stiff and incompetent President Muhammadu Buhari. Would Goodluck Ebele Jonathan rather go back to power and run a crisis-ridden government than have his name endure in the annals of Nigerian and African history as a President who ruled by best democratic practices? It is a question only he can answer because every man is ruled by his own idiosyncrasies.
Goodluck Jonathan’s political glory can endure, in our view, only when he has had the opportunity to reciprocate the support Ndigbo have given him these past 10 years. Thus, he must use his seeming leverage with powerbrokers to get them to support Igbo Presidency, not allow them corral him into a project that may have deleterious consequences for his own political standing in Nigeria, Africa and the world. For, as he himself may very well know, no other presidential aspiration in Nigeria is justifiable and peaceable at this point in time except that of an Igbo. As an avowed friend of the Igbo, it is only natural that he should, even incumbent on him to, support that aspiration against 2023.