Jigawa State Governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido, at the weekend said President Goodluck Jonathan had more hurdles to scale in realising his yet-to-be declared second term ambition than just clinching the presidential ticket of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Lamido, who is speculated to be nursing a presidential ambition, while fielding questions from journalists at the Jigawa State Government House, Dutse, said the president would have to win the 2015 presidential election to make his ambition a reality, irrespective of the posturing by his supporters who are threatening others over his re-election.
His counterpart in Niger State, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, has also said the North, which has indicated interest to reclaim the presidency in line with the PDP zoning policy, which was disrupted by the death of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, would negotiate well to protect its interest in the 2015 elections.
The scheming for the realisation of Jonathan’s second term ambition is at the root of the multifaceted crises bedevilling the ruling party and is considered as the major factor responsible for the leadership crisis in the party, which has led to the resignation of some members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC).
Efforts to reconstitute the NWC, with the plan to hold a special national convention at which new NWC members will be elected, have been stalled by a crisis of confidence among the party leaders.
Already, the list of Adamawa State delegates for the convention is causing ripples as the name of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, who vied for the party’s ticket along with Jonathan in 2011, is missing on the list.
On Jonathan’s rumoured second term bid, the Jigawa State governor warned that the continued agitation by elder statesman and Niger Delta leader, Chief Edwin Clark, and ex-militant, Alhaji Asari Dokubo, that the president must serve a second term violates the electoral tenets of democracy.
He said: “If you are saying his party must give him the ticket, it is okay. They can say so. But it doesn’t mean he is going to win the election. But when you say he must win the election, then what are you talking about?
“And this old man… in 2011, the name Edwin Clark, was not part of the PDP vocabulary. But look at it today, it has become the main vocabulary. And what is the qualification? Emotion and sentiments.”
According to him, it is the electorate, and not ethnic chauvinists that have the power to decide who rules.
He added: “When before the election somebody is saying ‘our son must serve a second term’, while second term comes after election what you are saying is a factor of the election.
“But when you say he must win the election, why then do we have democracy?”
Lamido explained that considering his status in the society, Clark should be circumspect when making public statements on Jonathan’s political future, stressing that the issue on ground is about politics and the PDP and Clark had no contribution to the emergence of Jonathan as president.
He said: “It is about politics and about PDP and he (Clark) had no input in making the president. He met Jonathan as a finished product, not as a raw material.
“That was why I said Edwin Clark was never part of the PDP vocabulary in 2011. Was he? Absolutely not!”
He compared Clark and Dokubo’s campaign to that of the late Chief Bola Ige, Afenifere and the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), which he said were not involved in the pre-June 12, 1993 negotiations but took the glory for championing the actualisation of the annulled election.
“It is just like Bola Ige of blessed memory and others in Afenifere and NADECO. When we talk about June 12, they were not anywhere near it on June 11.
“That is my worry – that people don’t reckon with history. People who take advantage of a national effort and kind of appropriate it. Where were they on June 12?
“It is the same thing we are going through now. Asari Dokubo and Clark, where were they in 2010? Where were they when PDP held its primaries? They were not there. So they must not diminish Nigeria.
“It is true the Nigerian president must come from a tribe, a village and a zone, but by the time you get there, you are absolutely a Nigerian,” he said.
He therefore noted that since Nigeria provided Clark the opportunities and he has grown to the ripe old age of 86, he should also provide younger Nigerians similar opportunities.
“Nigeria made him grow till 86 and secure; is he giving the same hopes to younger Nigerians to be 80? Is he giving it to those who are 10 and 20 now by his pronouncements?
“Is he giving them hope to be what he is to Nigeria, because Nigeria made him. He was a minister,” he noted.
On whether he would run for the presidency, Lamido said the occasion was not ripe for such a decision.
“This country is applying democracy with idiosyncrasies and our own peculiarities. That is not the turn of the person yet. It is the Nigerian chemistry you have to look into, which has been hijacked by people who manipulate it with differences.
“Today, if you go to somebody in the South-south, he would say ‘my son is there, he must be!’ It would not matter whether that man is killing him. So, first and foremost, the Nigerian chemistry, is it thoroughly healed?
The elite are they honest enough? The people, are they courageous enough to do the right thing?” he asked rhetorically.
Also at the weekend, the Niger State governor, speaking on the political future of the north, said the geopolitical zone would negotiate properly with anyone who intends to be president in 2015 to safeguard the region’s interest.
According to Aliyu, who made the remarks during the inauguration of an office complex for federal workers in Enagi, headquarters of Edati Local Government Area of the state, the north will have to negotiate in the interest of its people.
The governor, who denied advocating that only northerners should run for the presidency in 2015, added that the zone was prepared to follow whoever is duly elected president in the next election.
Aliyu warned those planning to introduce politics of religion in the state to desist, as the state would not accept such a divisive strategy.
“Here in Niger, we do not play politics of religion as such attitude would negate the development drive of the state and the country at large,” he added.
Meanwhile, Atiku may not vote at the special national convention of the PDP to elect NWC members, as his name was not on the list of delegates that the state chapter of the PDP in his home state, Adamawa, submitted to the Special National Convention Committee, chaired by Prof. Jerry Gana.
The state chapter of the party has been mired in a crisis following a power struggle that has pitted the party National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, against the state governor, Admiral Murtala Nyako (rtd).
The list of delegates from the state was signed by the factional state chairman, Joel Madaki, who is loyal to Tukur.
The list contains Nyako’s name but it is different from the list of delegates that attended the March 20, 2012 national convention which featured Atiku’s name.
The PDP National Executive Committee (NEC), at a meeting on June 20, 2013 had directed that the delegates of the March 2012 should be the same delegates for the special national convention.
The March 2012 delegates’ list was signed by Kaugama Mijijinwa, who is a Nyako loyalist, as state chairman. The new list signed by Madaki also did not contain the name of Mijijinwa as a delegate.
The omission of Atiku’s name came just as Gana has decided to move the meetings of the convention committee to his private office in Wuse 2, Abuja.
All meetings of any committee set up by the PDP NEC usually hold at the national secretariat of the party, or the Legacy Building in Maitama, which serves as an alternate office.
THISDAY gathered that the decision to move the meeting of the special convention committee to Gana’s office is as a result of the power tussle between the committee and the party’s NWC.
Though the party has tentatively slated August 20 for the special convention, information from the party secretariat showed that the election might not hold in August.
Indeed, a new date for the special convention appears to be shrouded in secrecy as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) told THISDAY that no date had been communicated to it on the convention.
Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr. Kayode Idowu, told THISDAY that the only letter before INEC was the one signed by Tukur informing the commission that the special convention had been put off.
The Electoral Act requires all political parties to give the commission 21 days notice of their conventions or conferences. This is to enable INEC monitor the convention.
Irrespective of this position, the PDP leadership has undertaken some restructuring and directed directors at the party’s national secretariat to swap positions.
For instance, the former Director of Youths, Uche Igwe, who served for 15 months as special assistant to Tukur was last week named the Director of Organisation and Mobilisation of the party.
The Directorate of Organisation and Mobilisation is the engine room of the party during any election.
Igwe replaces Adewale Fatana who has been moved to the Research Directorate.
Also, the former acting Head of Research, Chinwe Nnorum, has been appointed Director General of the Peoples Democratic Institute (PDI).