On this, he warned: “We will fight. We will fight to ensure that rotation is retained in the PDP. We will insist that the rotation remains till the North gets its full tenure of eight years. And thereafter, if the country wants to abandon the concept of rotation altogether, then we will consider it.” Battle not over, Yakassai warns Jonathan: the Sun Newspaper, Monday 19th May, 2010.
The above statement quoted as said by Elder statesman and one of the leaders of the pro- late Yar’Adua camp, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, not only sparks off North-South divide(not the subject of this article), it also raises the question: Is PDP the only political party in Nigeria? Better still: does PDP’s wish represent the wishes and aspirations of Nigerians? Come to think of it, no one is yet to prove or show to Nigerians where in PDP’s constitution the rotational presidency clause(s) is enshrined. Assuming it is, when has PDP’s constitution become Nigeria’s constitution? as Yakassai and others from the North tend to assert.
Even as every geographical entity that makes up Nigeria clamor for political relevance and representation one fact is obvious, everyone cannot be there at the same time. One of the core principles of democracy is representation of the people by elected representatives who are suppose to be persons with impeccable character and good judgment; not because of where they come from or the party they belong. The beauty of democracy is when the people elects who they wish to represent them. Nigerians desire and deserve to decide who represents them at all levels of governance, not leadership by imposition as we have witnessed in the last 50yrs of Nigeria’s pseudo independence; made worst by PDP since 1999 to date.
The statement by Yakassai (he is not alone) is not just regrettable it’s unfortunately coming from the very cabals (that have benefitted from the status-quo) who do not desire change in Nigeria because the present arrangement continues to favor them- a select few while the majority watches helplessly as they plunder our collective wealth and heritage.
President Goodluck Jonathan no doubt is a beneficiary of the status-quo even as one cannot reconcile how much lucky one man alone can be in life (he is damn Lucky). I believe though, his Presidency is that of providence. So he owes to his conscience and Nigerians a duty to do what is morally right, no matter how short the period he is on the revered seat. The decision to contest for another 4yrs or 8yrs term in office is his exclusive right as a Nigerian, but whether he is elected as President come 2011 remains the prerogative of the Nigeria people. What makes Yakassai and co think no one can be elected President unless through the platform of PDP?
However, as much as these choices are open to President Jonathan while he makes consultation in the coming months and days; irrespective of what his party hierarchy thinks, he must not forgot that Nigerians hold the key to his success as a President not his Party ilk. Therefore, he must resist the temptations of the spoils of the office and advice from hangers-on who are only interested in promoting their selfish agenda. His focus in the days ahead should not be whether to run for President in 2011 elections or not. His energy and time should be spent on how to solve the core issues affecting Nigerians and Nigeria. The bogus 7 point agenda of his erstwhile boss should be reduced to 4 point agenda as many Nigerians have and continue to advocate. 1. Electricity/alternative sources of energy (power sector). 2. Anti-corruption campaign 3. Electoral reform. 4. Security/Niger Delta Development. The importance of a comprehensive reform of these sectors cannot be over-emphasized just as I believe President Jonathan does not need 4yrs to lay a sustainable framework to achieve these for Nigeria.
Honestly, given the activities leading up to next year’s election and the sustainability factor, the time is definitely short for his administration to make any meaningful achievement given the “Nigerian factors”. However, Jonathan would have engraved his name in history books if he could lay a solid groundwork to achieve these in the short period he has; and then allow the court of public opinion decide if he needs another 4yrs term to consolidate what he has started.
Then will the question: Is PDP the only party? come to the table. For sure the “People’s Party” though not yet registered will unanimously adopt President GoodLuck Jonathan as her consensus Presidential Candidate and then it will be the People’s Party Vs the PDP (People Deceive People, Party).
As we congratulate President Goodluck Jonathan for this enviable feat through providence, all well meaning Nigerians must rally around him and give him all the needed support to succeed. Obviously he cannot succeed without us behind him. He must not be left in the hands of these self acclaim Elder statesmen who only care about their estates and interest. Nigerians must join forces with President Jonathan to reclaim the country from these cabals.
He may no doubt be one of them but thus far he has demonstrated that he has an ear to the ground and is listening to the people, a reason we must give him a chance.
He may not be the messiah or Rawlings we long for, but we deserve a paradigm shift from the status-quo. It's no time to shout wolf where there is none as Yakassai and other have started to. It's no time to cry ethnic marginalization rather it’s time to rebuild our country. It’s time to take our destiny in our hands.
We must stop PDP from raping our collective conscience; after all, PDP is not the only Party in Nigeria!
Fubara, Shed. - A youth activist, public affairs commentator and President Emeritus–NUOS, writes from Alberta, Canada. He is a fan of SR and is on Facebook.