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Lawal Ogienagbon: Jonathan’s Posters, Opposition Leaders and 2015

Ever since the rumour mill became agog that he may contest the 2015 election, President Goodluck Jonathan has consistently refused to be drawn into what he and his aides consider to be an ‘idle talk’. A wise man, the president neither denied nor confirmed that he would run. His position has always been that the time is not yet ripe for him to make his intention known. He will do so in 2014, which is less than 365 days from now, he once told us. He also made it clear that if he decides to run, he is eminently qualified to do so.

Reading the lips of the president, there is no doubt that he will run in 2015, but until he says so, it is taboo for us to speculate about his ambition. Some people, who seem to love the president more than himself cannot wait for him to declare for the race before they start canvassing support for him. These loyalists have printed the president’s posters and painted the Federal Capital City red with them. I don’t know how the president honestly feels about it all, but we are being made to believe that he is not comfortable with what is happening. Can that be true? Is there anyone of us that sugar won’t melt in his mouth?

Yes, what we are seeing may be the hand of Esau, the voice certainly is that of Jacob. Those pushing the president’s posters are no ghosts. They are flesh and blood like us who know what they are doing and why they are doing it. They may not have the president’s consent, but do they really need it when they know that in the man’s heart of hearts he will be chuckling to himself that yes ‘’my boys are doing a damn good job’’. The posters are a way of preparing the ground for the president’s declaration when as he has told us the time is ripe to do so. The president may not have approved the pasting of his posters all over Abuja, but can he feign ignorance of the planned clampdown on opposition leaders?

Even within the Presidency all is not well all because of 2015, going by what we are hearing. The North, which is interested in returning to power is set to pitch Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo against each other in order to achieve its aim. What is not known is whether Sambo will go with the North or remain on the side of his boss. With the way things are playing out on the political scene, we have interesting days ahead. If Sambo ditches Jonathan for his people won’t we have another Obasanjo/Atiku brouhaha on our hands? And if he decides to side with his boss, won’t Sambo become a pariah at home? The choice is that of Sambo. Wherever he chooses to be, I know that he will weigh the options well before jumping into the fray.

Like the North, the opposition has never hidden its intention to wrest power from Jonathan in 2015. Knowing that it failed to win the Presidency in 2011 because of its refusal to merge and confront Jonathan and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) machine in that year’s election, the opposition has been meeting and planning on how to kick out PDP in 2015. Not unexpectedly, the PDP government is jittery because it knows that if the talks succeed, the opposition may kick it out of power in two years time. To avert that, it has covertly launched operation stop the opposition. The aim is to scuttle the opposition’s merger plans toward the 2015 presidential poll.

Since the government has control of the security agencies, its problem is half solved. These security agencies are to be used to muzzle the opposition. These agencies are said to be gathering reports on some opposition leaders which will be used to tarnish their image. The Jonathan Presidency is ready to go to any length to stop the opposition. It is prepared to adopt even crude means to achieve its aim. In political warfare, it believes that all is fair, as long as the means justifies the end. Right now, a former top official in government is being harassed and hounded all over the place because of the belief that he is interested in the 2015 presidential election. Is that an offence? It is not, but the harassment is a ploy to force him out of the race so that the coast will become clear for Jonathan. Yet, the president is saying that he has not made up his mind about 2015. They should say that to the marine.

If he has not made up his mind yet about 2015, why then are opposition leaders like Gen Muhammadu Buhari and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu being tormented? Is it a sin to be an opposition leader? Politics is a contest of ideas and those who think that they have what it takes to contest for political office should be allowed to do so without let or hindrance. To hire people to rake up mud about your opponents all in the guise of political contest is not a decent way of playing politics. Like the posters issue, the president may not know the atrocities some people in his administration are committing in the name of politics and by way of protecting his political future. Now that he knows, he will surely do something about those who are protecting his interest by trying to run others out of the 2015 race in a shabby and unholy manner. Or won’t he?

 

- Lawal Ogienagbon

Read original piece via The Nation

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