Although President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has not come out publicly to declare his intention to contest the 2015 presidential election, his body language gives him away as someone who will obviously participate in the electoral exercise. No matter the signal coming from Jonathan – and whatever the disposition of his political enemies, truth is that he is well qualified to run for a second term. However, while it remains his prerogative to decide whether to run or not, a certain section of the country has vowed to stop him. How far they will go with this threat is a matter for conjecture.
But 2015 is a very critical date and a test case for the “second term” issue in Nigerian politics. The South-East has vowed to present candidates for an Igbo presidency. The zone contends that it did not come to Nigeria to watch others plough the presidential terrain. The zone believes that 2015 is just the right time for the Igbo to take a shot at the most exalted seat in the country. This is the dicey situation. The president still nurses an ambition for another term. The South-East believes it is its turn. The president has great following in the South-East than in any other part of the country. But without wooing the South-East, the president may harm his chances for a second term.
This is the gritty situation. It is obvious that if Jonathan insists that he wants to run, the South-East will back out. However, the present situation in the country shows that even when the South-East zone decides to drop its 2015 ambition, President Jonathan may no longer get one hundred percent backing in the zone because some of the governors, with their followers, have decided to side with the opposition.
It is obvious that the president requires a large dose of political brinksmanship to recover the goodwill he enjoyed in the zone in previous elections. The current political situation in the South-East now means that Jonathan needs to do some deep thinking in an obvious exercise of self-examination, so that he does not commit political suicide or hara-kiri.
The Anambra gubernatorial election, which comes up on November 16, is obviously a test case. Being the father of all, it is expected that President Jonathan would remain politically neutral, but this is hardly the case. It goes without saying that the candidate that the president backs in the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State will make or mar his chances in 2015 in
the South-East geo-political zone. A proper deconstruction of all the candidates shows that it is only Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah, the Labour Party candidate that has the capacity and profile to work for President Jonathan’s victory in 2015, if he becomes governor.
How did I arrive at this conclusion? The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the president’s party, is in disarray. The party’s choice candidate for the Anambra gubernatorial race is Tony Nwoye, but the court has overruled his candidature. Nicholas Ukachukwu is today the candidate of the PDP in the forthcoming election. Incidentally, Senator Andy Uba, another contending candidate in the party, is still in court over the rightful person to represent the PDP in the election. At the end of the day the candidate of the PDP will be determined between Ukachukwu and Uba. However, if any of them becomes the governor, it is quite clear that none of them will work for Jonathan in 2015 because the president did not support Ukachukwu or Andy Ubah.
Governor Peter Obi of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) is said to be very close to the president. But APGA is in disarray. Looking at the politics of the South-East, it is obvious that Obi is not popular. The people voted for Peter Obi’s APGA in the past because of the late Emeka Ojukwu, the Ikemba Nnewi. It will be recalled that Ojukwu begged the people to return Obi to power as his last wish in 2010 and they did so. Besides Ojukwu, Obi does not have a large following, neither does APGA. So, for Jonathan to pitch camp with Obi – and by extension, Willie Obiano, is to commit political hara-kiri.
For the All Progressives Congress (APC), the president does not need any lecture on whom its candidate will support in 2015. Virtually everyone knows that the party is there to advance the interest of the North-West alliance, so Senator Chris Ngige will never work for Jonathan. In fact, Ngige’s victory on November 16 will signal the takeover of the entire South-East geo-political zone by the APC train driven by Governor Rochas Okorocha.
It is based on these political developments that people have, as a matter of political sagacity and genuine case of good faith, offered that Jonathan should give total support to the Labour Party candidate, Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah, in the November governorship election. Of course, the Labour Party has always been supportive of Mr. President on his positions on issues of national importance.
For instance, in his current battle with the Gov. Amaechi-led Governors’ Forum, the Labour Party, through Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State, has sided with President Jonathan. So, it is obvious that the Labour Party, with Ifeanyi Ubah as governor in Anambra State, will work for the realization of the second term ambition of President Jonathan in 2015 just as the party has been doing in Ondo State.
Besides, Ifeanyi Ubah, the CEO of Capital Oil, controls over 35% of the petroleum products imported into this country. He has enormous resources. It is therefore saying the truth when it is asserted that due to economic interests, Ifeanyi Ubah will work for the success of Jonathan in 2015. There is a saying that the devil you know is better than the Angel you don’t know. So Ubah will definitely like to work for Jonathan’s victory as a means of sustaining his business interests in Nigeria. It is therefore right to say that the president should back Ifeanyi Ubah to win the November 16 election. In return, Ifeanyi Ubah would be expected to deploy his resources and those of Anambra State to support President Jonathan in 2015. There is no better political calculation than this.
*Uzuakpundu is a Lagos-based journalist.
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