When the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar on Wednesday 16th December, 2010 said “those who resist peaceful change, make violent change inevitable,” President Goodluck Jonathan immediately replied describing such talk as a reckless and treasonable challenge to Nigeria’s sovereignty and stability.

According to the president, Atiku’s statement, was unpalatable to the ear, and would no longer be tolerated.

In a plain language, the President threatened that if he cracked down on what he described as “treasonable statements” he would be indifferent to any accusation that he was motivated by political considerations.

The question is: Why should President Jonathan feign to be so vexed by a statement that could aptly be described more of a patriotic admonition to all stakeholders to exercise maximum restraint and avoid desperate actions which might spell avoidable consequences for Nigeria’s corporate entity?

It would be recalled that Jonathan’s close aides including a serving federal minister in this administration have serially threatened that Nigeria could face dire consequences if President Jonathan was forced out of the presidency and the presidential race.

Almost all the ex-militant commanders including the militant elder statesman, Edwin Clarke have serially threatened fire and brimstone if Jonathan fails to be re-elected in 2011. This is on record as it was widely reported.

As was rightly said by a public affairs analyst, “If Atiku and his trenchant remarks seem to disturb and irritate the president; it is not because they are treasonable. The problem is that Jonathan erroneously believes his own campaign statements are not as effective as he would want. Unfortunately, with outbursts like that of Thursday, President Jonathan is exposing his poor judgment and weak democratic credentials to say the least.

What is clear from the president’s reaction to the ‘violent change’ talk is that before now, he had nothing to tell Nigerians other than that he is a “lucky minority man.” So he saw Atiku’s statement as a panacea to boost his luck-based democratic credentials. But this is a very big mistake as he has allowed his pronouncements to expose his naivety and political inexperience.

In the first instance, if he cracks down on Atiku or lure the PDP to disqualify the former vice president from the party primaries, it will be counter –productive as such move would be to Atiku’s advantage because the public will perceive it to be the President’s exercise in desperation.

President Jonathan while addressing the PDP governors at the party’s NEC in Abuja on 17th of December openly expressed his desperation in securing the party’s ticket. “You (governors) have given me assurances of support but some of you are secretly campaigning for Atiku. I can’t stand here and be humiliated by you. Everything I have asked for, you have refused to give me. No president anywhere has been treated by his party the way you are treating me.”

Is it not funny that the President who on Thursday December 16 threatened the PDP governors that “I am the captain of this boat; I am not going down alone. I am going to sink this (political) boat and go down with all that are in it,” would want to crucify his opponent for a statement he termed inflammatory and threat?

How can a president whose inordinate ambition has dangerously polarized the country like never witnessed throughout the history of this nation be the one to turn around to accuse political opponents of treason?

President Jonathan’s previous scheming to hang a badge of infamy on
the necks of his political opponents over the October 1, 2010 bomb blasts, the latest attacks on Atiku and Ibrahim Babangida was a typical desperate measure to divert attention and blame opponents for causing tension in the country.

If Jonathan has been endorsed by everybody in the PDP and all Nigerians, why still worry about Atiku? Why would an opponent that is not a match by your own assessment give you sleepless nights and unnecessary worries?

Now a group that calls itself the PDP Stakeholders’ Forum in a petition, dated December 17,  2010  and  addressed  to  the  chairman  of  the Presidential  Aspirants Screening Committee,  the  national  chairman  of the  party,  President  Goodluck Jonathan,  the 28  governors  of  the  party, among  other  stakeholders, has asked for the disqualification of Atiku.

The  group  claims that  the  waiver  granted  to  Atiku  by  the party's National Executive Committee, “was  like  a  house  without  a  foundation and  therefore,  is  a  nullity.”

Specifically,  the  group  has asked  the  committee  to  disqualify  Atiku  over membership  ineligibility,  arguing  that  the  former  vice-president's membership  was yet  to  be  two  years  as  stipulated  by  Article  17 (20 g  of the  PDP  Constitution.

The question now is: Which constitution is this food-is-ready stakeholders’ talking about?

On what moral and legal ground are they standing to refer to the PDP constitution as being violated by Atiku when Jonathan who is number 35 signatory to the zoning agreement as enshrined in the same PDP constitution refused to honour the simple agreement?

Why are they not going to court to enforce the zoning arrangement that is clearly stated in PDP constitution?

Why is the Jonathan camp still afraid of Atiku despite numerous endorsements by Governors? Questions; questions; and questions!

Truth be told, the Jonathan camp from obvious indication is afraid of the approaching date for the PDP presidential primaries and it’s sinisterly looking for escape route to a postponement. Shame to the food-is-ready Jonathan stakeholders if they don’t go to court to stop the PDP screening and the party’s January 13 primary.

SENIOR FYNEFACE, Elelewon Street, GRA II, Port Harcourt ([email protected])

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