Did Jonathan Really Work for Re-election?


I guess this will be considered a funny or curious heading for an opinion piece, given the fact that many saw Jonathan, the soon-to-be ex-president, campaigning across the country. But, in reality, Jonathan didn’t advance his own re-election prospects in any positive or meaningful way. He clearly, as I will show shortly, sabotaged himself every step of the way.

Fortune made me a participant and put me in a place from where I had direct interface with the goings-on and processes that took place in the course of the campaigns and the elections. This is unlike many the Gejiets and Jonathanians who had no clue to the goings-on behind the scenes either because they were far from the scene or because they were new to the operations.

It is the view of this writer that Jonathan simply defeated himself. In other words, he scored several own goals against himself.
Right from the emergence of the splinter “new PDP” group, Jonathan showed a real lack of capacity for leadership; as such, he could not prevail on all those aggrieved governors to remain in the PDP. Being an old hand, I knew many of the individuals who left with the “new PDP” to APC, and I can tell you that PDP lost a lot of strategists to that movement.

Then, there was the crisis of leadership in the PDP arising from the crowning of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur as PDP chairman despite the fact that he lost in the north-east zonal election for that post. This was clearly the basis and foundation of the leadership crisis that rocked the PDP to the point of shattering the party. This persisted until Jonathan had no choice but to ask Alhaji Tukur to resign. One would have expected Jonathan to change tact; instead he immediately anointed Muazu, despite the fact that Gambo Lawan was indeed the choice of most stakeholders from the north-east, the region to which the post had been allotted.

And on and on PDP reeled from one crisis to another. Despite efforts made at the various levels of leadership and followership to point out these obvious shortcomings, the president and his inner circle paid no heed. We wrote position papers to no avail. And then came the disaster called TAN! Virtually everyone who mattered in PDP objected to the TAN usurpation of core party activities. Again, the president would not listen. He only listened to Anyim Pius Anyim who was indeed the real power behind TAN. We wrote papers that showed clearly the consequences of using the TAN model, but no one listened. The situation was rather worsened by the ranking idiocy of most TAN adverts and jingles. Now, remember that TAN was a movement that received billions of naira for its activities, a fact that indicated that they were sponsored from the highest levels.

Then, you had again the disaster that was called the Presidential Campaign Organisation. Pundits rejected the appointment of Femi Fani-Kayode and Ahmed Ali but the president stuck his guns. Again, we wrote and circulated a scholarly paper that showed that FFK was unsuitable because his pro-Jonathan message was thoroughly diluted by his previous well-documented rants against Jonathan. Again, the president would not budge. Add to that the fact that the negative message was sustained throughout the campaigns while the PDP secretariat remained largely silent and disconnected, an indication of the disquiet and anger at WADATA Plaza.

Despite all these which we collated and circulated, President Jonathan did not change tactics! Instead he embarked on the ill-conceived dollar jamborees into the south-west, to the annoyance of both his home south-south and the critical north-central zones. Indeed, he ignored these areas and went ahead to appoint Liyel Imoke, a despised governor, to run the south-south PDP campaigns. For the south though, he should have appointed Akpabio who is undoubtedly a star performer, but he did not. He compounded this error by also appointing Suswan to run the north-central. This is in spite of the fact that Suswan was clearly a liability to the PDP even in his home state of Benue.

Now, add the election postponement palaver. Recall the lies told about the reason for the postponement and the anger in the north when Buhari’s certificate was hidden as a ploy to disqualify the man. At each step of the way, there were voices including mine that warned of the dire consequences of this faulty strategy, yet the oga would not budge.

Now, the rest is history, but every step in this loss by PDP, you could find Jonathan committing unforced errors and scoring own goals. And that is why I can stand on a rooftop and declare that Jonathan consciously or unconsciously sabotaged his own re-election. Maybe because he himself knew that he had committed himself before man and God to only one term!

And no one can controvert the facts here. If anyone has better details, let’s have them.

Morphy, a public affairs commentator and politician, writes from Ogoja.

Most Popular

To Top