The presidential poll in Nigeria is scheduled for February next year barring any unforeseen circumstances. Political permutations toward the election have started in earnest. The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are preparing strongly to wrest power at the centre from the misruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). In the PDP serious contenders for the top job abound. If achievements and promises made and kept or broken were to be used as yardsticks for the election of the next President post-Buharism then the PDP stands a good chance of convincingly defeating the APC.
The former Nigerian President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, (GEJ), presently belongs to the opposition PDP. The last time we checked he is still a card-carrying member of the PDP. But reports online indicated that the ruling APC were busy wooing him to dump the PDP for the APC in order for him to contest the presidency under its banner.
The scheme is primarily aimed at 'coronating' Jonathan President and having ruled before he can only have a tenure to be President. And upon completion of his last constitutional term a northerner who would be his Vice-President would naturally succeed him thus propelling another Hausa or Fulani to continue the northern presidential reign.
Jonathan may or may not be aware of this diabolical plan. But his handlers must inform him of the implications and consequences. Power is sweet but it corrupts good morals. GEJ may not be a paragon but he is a man with good conscience.
His six years in Aso Rock would forever be remembered for many historic moments, good or bad. His emergence following the tragic demise of then President Musa Yar'Adua was made possible by an unprecedented 'doctrine of necessity' initiated by the Senate. Empowered by that extraordinary constitutional masterstroke GEJ displayed certain timidity and myopia never before seen in the corridors of executive power Nigeriana.
From all indications he was not prepared for power or the huge task ahead fumbling and wobbling until he was 'intimidated' out of the Aso Villa. As he fumbled and wobbled unable to provide effective leadership corruption, impunity and opaqueness festered.
Jonathan disappointed many folks for his inability to command and control. He exhibited his ineptitude and incompetence on many ocassions. Though a gentleman whatever presidential failure he was associated with was made up for when he patriotically acknowledged his defeat at the polls after the presidential poll of 2015 as incumbent President. By so doing he had demonstrated a rare African quality of statesmanship.
Jonathan achieved some good things during his presidency. He was able to stabilise the Naira in the international exchange mechanism. The economy did well positioning the nation as the largest economy in Africa. He constructed many modern schools up north encouraging the many illiterate young northerners to go to school in an environment where Boko Haram had declared Western education as an aberration.
But his legacy was equally marked by monumental corruption which still reverberates even today. After his exit from the Aso Villa we were treated to 'Dasuki-gate' followed by the 'Diezani-gate'. And even his wife, Dame Patience, has had issues of graft to grapple with with the EFCC. Many state and non-state actors abused GEJ's benevolence and docility to swindle the nation.
In the ruling APC presidential contenders abound, many undeclared, silently nursing the ambition and bidding their time. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the former Lagos state Governor and godfather, happens to be the strongest candidate though he has not yet declared his intention openly.
Subteranean campaigns to this effect are however going on across the federation with many support group struggling to outdo one another. But the Lagos strongman has declared that at the fullest of time having consulted widely he would make his ambition public.
Gunning for the highest executive office is also another proud Lagosian and the current Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. Asiwaju Tinubu could be said here to have 'made' Osinbajo --- right from his appointment into his cabinet in Lagos as Commissioner to the vice-presidency but the presidential ambition of both men could destroy whatever goodwill that exists between them.
But like his benefactor Prof. Osinbajo has not overtly declared his presidential ambition. However, campaigns are equally happening underground here and there with anonymous posters seen and sighted in Abuja and elsewhere.
In the opposition PDP Governor Nyesom Wike and his gang of Governors may well decide who gets what when the time is ripe. The Sokoto Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, may do battle, yet again, with Atiku Abubakar for the party's flagbearer.
Other opposition politicians in smaller parties cannot be ignored. Quality candidates like Comrade Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress (AAC) and banker Kingsley Muoghalu may also want to try again to upstage the establishment like Emmanuel Macron historically did in France five years ago. Nigeria is not in short supply of good presidential materials.
The South-east region of the country are saying loudly that it is their turn to produce the President come 2023. But it seems no one is listening to them and their grievances. The PDP appears poised to jettison zoning. And the APC seems to be looking either south-southwards or towards the Niger Delta region for someone to succeed Buhari.
Goodluck Jonathan must be wary of any other presidential ambition championed by those that brought him down in 2015. Nothing good or patriotic would come out of these political freeloaders and criminals. But a trial would convince him that he would not have tried in the first place.
Failure, for all intents and purposes, would mark an abrupt end to his not-too-stellar political career. While his name rings with 'good' and 'luck' we wish Ebele from Otueke 'bad' luck in the event that he decides to throw his Ijaw hat into the presidential ring.
What is more important, for us, is the emergence of a hale and hearty President post-Buharism, one capable of healing the nation and stopping the bloodshed; one capable of redressing the economic meltdown and social tensions across the land.
And above all, that tested leader, sound in his head and heart, committed to restructuring of the country for the benefit of all Nigerians! If the country is led well from the centre then greatness would happen sooner than expected.
Therefore, tribe, region or religion matter very little. Sectional, regional and religious politics (something Buharism excelled in) has almost destroyed a great country with beautiful people. Whoever comes in after the Buharian retreat and retirement in Daura must be elected and judged by his competence and patriotism. And not through the lenses of ethnicity or religion.