I See No Changes

Edwin Odunze

I have watched some of the initiatives of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration with keen interest and scepticism.

Some of the initiatives worthy of note include the sacking of the former INEC chairman, radical effort towards power generation in Nigeria and like his predecessors, strong utterances to fight corruption and inefficiency in government.

To the optimists, there may be a glimmer of hope around the horizon; however, recent events are pointers to a bleak future.

The truth of the matter is that we cannot make any progress with the ruling party –PDP- as it is presently constituted from the wards, Local Governments, senatorial zones, states and national levels. This is made far worse with the absence of credible opposition in the country.

There is definitely no hope with a party that has ruled for twelve years with nothing to show for it. Worse still, parading themselves with arrogance oblivious of the dissatisfaction of Nigerians. From East to West, North to South all I see in this party are murderers, criminals, fraudsters, looters, paedophiles and corrupt men and women with no integrity or conscience. No doubt change will be elusive as long as this monstrous party is still in government.

The recent Imo state local government election which took place last weekend was a litmus case. The governor appointed his relative as the state INEC commissioner and there was no PDP primaries .The candidates were selected at Concorde hotel, Owerri by Governor Ikedi Ohakim. And of all the 36 Local Government Areas in the state PDP won in all. I am still baffled how a party that has achieved nothing for twelve years would have a landslide victory, if not by rigging and manipulation. Interestingly, one of the seats was won by Chief Arthur Nzeribe’s wife.

So there is no way change can come with PDP. The problem is not President Goodluck Jonathan, for he may have good intentions. However it will be impossible for him to emerge president in the next elections without compromises which will stifle his good intentions. There are far too many unscrupulous persons in PDP to allow genuine and credible interest to emerge. I am sure these names ring  warning bells , the Babangidas, Nzeribes, Anenihs, Obasanjos, Sarakis, Atikus, Daniels, Rotimis, Udenwas, Ohakims, Kalus,  the list goes on and on.


We must join hands together to form a formidable opposition that will throw these kidnappers out of government. If we fail to do that, and PDP gets back to power, I am afraid I see no changes.






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On the 2011 Elections

2011 Elections: on electing the right president.
Dear Friend,
The central issue of the 2011 presidential election will be about if Nigeria is ready to end Ethnic and Tribal sentiments in her choice of leadership. Battles over how best to restructure Nigeria had gripped Nigeria throughout her existence as an independent nation since 1960, and were especially intensified during the military era of the late 1960s into the late 1990s.

Following the reintroduction of Democracy, Goodluck Jonathan, who had hitherto essentially pursued a future in the academia, was invited into politics as an unlikely future candidate for any elective office; deemed as scantly ambitious. In his home state of Bayelsa, Jonathan began a focused and committed service to his own people; attacking corruption where he saw necessary. When his boss and state governor was arrested for corruption, Dr Jonathan assumed the office of the Governor. In view of his interest in education, in truth Dr Jonathan was only contemplative of a run for office at the expiration of his existing joint mandate as acting Governor; Goodluck Jonathan won election instead as a joint candidate handpicked by an outgoing powerful president; raising Dr Jonathan's national political profile.

In late 2009, then President Yar'Adua (of blessed memory) was taken abroad for health reasons and Dr Jonathan eventually assumed the mantle of leadership in acting capacity. Invited by providence at the death of the president to become the president and commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and Keeper of the Treasury, Dr Jonathan reminded the nation of his commitment to service and his resolve to restructure Nigeria and se her become great again. In his first speech as president, it was clear that Nigeria was now experiencing its first intellectual president and he became a darling of Nigerians, Africans, the Western world and the Arab world.
Today Dr Jonathan’s experience as president is evolving into a desire to run for the PDP Nomination. Already he is the undisputed leader of the PDP in Nigeria. The first step was to gain the support of all Nigerian’s through his executive decisions and actions. Many has questioned his experience in comparison with some in his party and outside his party, especially those of them who had been former military presidents or former vice presidents. I say to them, what experience? What experience will be greater than a resume of deputy governor, acting Governor, state Governor, vice president, acting president and now incumbent president? Which one of us seeking to employ a manager will overlook such resume? Let me add however, we should never make the mistake of comparing a managerial experience gained while those managed are under chain and lock (as is always the case in all military dictatorships) against the backdrop of democratic freedom and justice; the later is the situation as Dr Jonathan continues to gain presidential experience.

As one of Dr Jonathan’s supporters, after talking to some of his relatives and associates, Dr Jonathan would still feel fulfilled were he to become a Vice chancellor of any university in Nigeria in 2010. I am therefore convinced that we have in our midst a humble and selfless servant-leader. People who know him personally have mentioned some of his virtues, patience and calmness in the face of pressure are some of those. And for one who holds a degree in Zoology, it is true to expectations. A friend of his calls Dr Jonathan, “Honest Good,”. How much good can Dr Jonathan be?
I have no doubt in my mind that Dr Jonathan will eventually get the support of most of the State delegation to the PDP, but we want it to be an overwhelming confirmation that we trust this good man to lead us right. I understand that in many quarters, it may be politically insensitive to talk of a Jonathan after 2011, but sincerely, with the rate of his work in transforming Nigeria, there is a hand of Esau and the voice of Jacob amongst the elite who oppose him; for whose benefit do they oppose this good man I may ask?

Political opponents have identified certain elements as would be favorites at the upcoming convention. Some are former presidents and others are even former ardently anti-democracy, and have an existing higher national profile. But the known and clear difference with Dr Jonathan is that we know about the road these past office holders had traveled and those terrains remain completely out of use; the presidency must never be a platform to be used to mend one’s ways and ones failures. The Nigerian presidency is a Sacred Institution dedicated to the service of the nation; it is devoid of Tribe, Ethnicity, Gender Religion and Class.
Even as you I write, the same people who are making the case of experience as against, are also fervently insisting that the new alliances of the future must be built along the old lines of ethnic division, tribal sentiments, class loyalty and religious faith; this argument is wrong. It is wrong, not just because it represents an old ideology that divided the country for so long, but also because, Nigerians are mindful of the fact that they have already paid the price of such sentiments in blood. In the new Nigeria, there is an overriding call for merit as a primary incentive for all public office role.

Dr Jonathan has not offended any particular faction of his party the PDP (he is the chosen bride). I am therefore of the opinion that, should PDP not give him the party flag in 2011, they would have willingly nominated a different party to win the presidency. Dr Jonathan has not offended any particular region in Nigeria, as some other candidates had on the basis of favoritism, therefore all Nigerians ought to come together around his candidacy; this is where the peoples power will be seen, but the ruling party must now nominate the right and popular candidate: the amiable Dr Goodluck Jonathan.
In supporting Dr Goodluck Jonathan between now and the election in January, we should hold weekend meetings and where necessary join political, Christian and Muslim groups holding torchlight parades. Although I personally consider such public displays as beneath the dignity of the president, there is no doubt that for a quiet intellectual, such displays will further convince him of the variety of his supporters and the spice that his candidacy brings to Nigeria. Already a number of other prominent Nigerians and PDP members are traveling the country campaigning for the ticket of Jonathan and his vice president (running mate) Namadi Sambo, a recent former PDP state governor from the core North.
Certainly our opponents who will loose the PDP nomination will join other opponents form other political parties to pay a brief visit to Dr Jonathan in Aso Rock in April 2011; they will be part of the group who are saying today, the Peoples Democratic Party will split into two factions; the northern PDP supporters and the southern PDP faction; these elements are wrong. They were wrong on how best to move Nigeria forward and they are wrong now on how best to redeem Nigeria.
I am convinced that Dr Jonathan will do very well in the northern states as well as in the southern states as in all the states of Nigeria. Even if the mostly northern ANPP Party had not fractured, it’s likely Dr Jonathan will still win due to his strength as an honest man, ready and committed servant to the needs of the north (as to needs of the rest of Nigeria) potentially more than all the combined presidents of northern extraction till date. What Nigerians want (as well as the north) is a president who will work towards the practical development of the country without favoring one region more than the order, and where this is difficult to (regarding federal appointments) pursue after a humble compromise and achieve a central government that includes all Citizens interests. Nigeria is the most diverse nation in the world, and should naturally bear different spices of life’s journeys and views. Let us begin by understanding that Nigeria has, through the concept of Rotational Presidency, stumbled on credible and intellectual leadership. When I think of the upcoming 2011 elections, my understanding of the Biblical words of St Mathew, in the twenty-fifth verse of the twelfth chapter he had written: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand”. We must now help Nigeria not to tumble in 2011.
I believe therefore that Nigeria cannot endure permanently, a divided country between the North and the South, the rich and the poor and in which ever other form. If Nigeria is to be painted it would emerge in a very depressing portrait. Yet I do not expect Nigeria to fail as a nation. But when I take inventory of Nigeria, what I expect Nigeria to achieve is an end to every form of division under the leadership of Dr Goodluck Jonathan as the president, commander-in-chief and keeper of the national Treasury. His leadership so far has made this aspiration so close a reality that I find it extremely disturbing to think that either the opponents of Nigeria will attempt to seize and sabotage what he has done so far and put it where the public mind may begin to believe that Nigeria under Dr Jonathan faces ultimate division; or his political opponents will push it forward, till it shall become as if calm intelligence is not sufficient to hold the nation together. But I am convinced that as many of us who shall vote for the incumbent president, so also shall the numbers be who are ready to stand with him all the way, the North as well as the South. Collectively, Nigerians shall never allow the enemies of Nigeria to build their hopes of subduing us on the foundation of our tolerance of them; we will tolerate them not because we are weak but because we understand them and because they are our brethren. As a boy, I saw myself as Igbo but also as a Nigerian within a harmonious whole; a member of a country of able bodied sane men and intelligent and patient women (epitomized by my mother) with naturally acquired first class qualities and abilities (prompting a first class education) to stir the ship of state to great progress. Therefore I refuse to accept that Nigeria is a country that halts the dreams of her citizens; for it is these dreams that will make a harmonious nation; the promise of Nigeria is sufficient to overshadow and conceal its paradox.

Fellow citizen and friend, the importance of the 2011 Election will prove to be one of the most momentous in Nigerian history as it will come at a time of national economic and security crisis. The urgency of reducing poverty, solving a comatose energy industry, building of new infrastructure and ending corruption, crime and restructuring the police force combine to make 2011 the most important election year ever. But we must not forget that this importance is also attached to the credibility, the personality of Dr Jonathan and an expectant citizenry.

Certainly not all Nigerians will appreciate the idea of a Jonathan presidency in 2011, and therefore we are all co-leaders and stake holders in the Nigerian enterprise. The issue of the presidency is a Nigerian issue that inevitably affects an uncomfortably large section of the country where it has been denied. If we stick to regionally agreed presidential terms, we declare ourselves ready to sacrifice the giant necessities of value, experience and humility. Of course there is always a price to pay when a Nigerian politician takes ethnic allegiances for granted. But there is even a greater price when the yearning of the masses is ignored. But we must also try to understand the crucial issues that the concept of Rotational Presidency represents: federal character and inclusion.

Opponents of Dr Jonathan from the south- south region only confirms the vibrancy of our growing political complexity. Normally, the candidacy of Dr Jonathan’s ought to be the singular most important issue that unites all of south-south with the visceral energy of militant agitation, but it is not. Fortunately, this opposition is not coming from the masses, but from the few elites in the region. But there is noting to worry. Since such opposition is primary propelled by pride, individual self-interest and personal ambition rather than genuine ideological differences, a Dr Jonathan presidency will ensure that members of the elite will receive a platform for a rethink of what is important in politics: the needs of all the people or the needs of the few elite?
Many have already asked, why do you support Dr Jonathan? Why do you propagate discarding of the zoning policy? Are you not aware of the sensitiveness of the issue of Rotational Presidency? With Dr Jonathan as president until 2015, do you not consider that the south-east may not get their slot in 2015?
In view of these questions, Nigeria must now understand that the idea of Rotational presidency has not solved Nigeria’s perennial political problems. It is important to understand that in a relay team, there is: second fastest, third fastest, slowest, then fastest which is the anchor role. These roles are decided on the standard of who will best bring victory to the entire team. But one thing I don’t see as a rule in a relay race outside strategy is the rule on the death of one of the four members. The rule is clear, “ach runner must hand off the baton to the next runner within a certain zone” usually marked by triangles on the track; if the baton is dropped, the team’s ability to compete ends. Conveners of Nigeria’s Rotational Presidency did not include this rule; this is where improvising becomes an agent of reform; it also exposes the life snake that is rotational presidency. Rotational presidency can be successful in a one party state in addition to a union such as the European union and African union. It can work in Nigeria if the regions are already functioning autonomously. Each can then provide its own framework and negotiate on how best to relate to the Central Nigerian Government; this is not the case for Nigeria and it is not late to discard a system that just failed after so very a short test.
Finally compatriots, I trust in the resolve of Nigerians when the stakes are high, to protest for their rights. Will there be a protest vote? I have heard politicians, diabolically confident to claim: “whether they cote for me or not, I will still win”. These are the people who do not believe that Nigeria can ever work properly. So my vote will be a protest vote; and it will count against rigging, against incompetent persons. Let us join hands together and make the 2011 elections the point when we ended permanently the practice of substituting generally unthinking feeling for normal ethical and intellectual judgment. As you make up your mind on the best candidate to lead Nigeria, encourage your friends and family to vote in this election. Bear in mind that Nigeria’s troubles seem obviously sufficient to place the nation on an inescapable path toward crisis. Your first act will be to vote right; for the rightly qualified and competent candidate.
Then we shall be able to say that the 2011 election was the year the Stars of Nigeria started to shine again.

Thank you for your attention

Mike Ikem Umealo
Nigerian Quality Leadership Forum (NQLF) and Facilitator, Nigerian Citizens Assembly, Europe. Writes from Abuja.

PDP Very Bad Example in Goverance

Jonathan is a PDP creation so I do not expect any meaningfull acheivement in his presidency because PDP is a very notorious political party in Africa.PDP is made up of traders.It is a well known fact all over the continents of the world by any student of history,Government or Political Science that PDP is a very bad example in politics.Therefore I am very doubtfull of any product of PDP as a president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria can make any serious mark.Infact even Angel Gabriel if elected on PDP platform as a president of Nigeria will fail.

what a country

@Ndidi,remain blessed! never knew we still had people with such good thoughts in that country of ours! Corruption started long before Jonathan was born-it will take time for us to wipe it off. The Americans are still fighting it 200 yrs after their independence.

Carry on being skeptical

Dr Jonathan has been President for just over 100 days. How can he in that time overturn 50 years of gross corruption? Plus, he is surrounded by corrupt people who will fight him. Change has come to Nigeria but it is necessarily slow because of the depths we have plunged to.
Let the faint-hearted and cowardly stay away and remain skeptical. As for me, I am already part of Nigeria's anti-corruption revolution. I am doing what I can to encourage the youth and to motivate the older ones. Just carry on being skeptical and just watching but DOING nothing to make Nigeria a better place to live in.....

(I before others) want to negotiate with IBB and Buhari

The socalled neigbors are themselves confused this time around. They want to negotiate the post of governor of central bank-minister of finance-etc before endorsing Jonathan. The same people who went cap in hand to beg arewa and IBB to contest now wants to negotiate their future with Jonathan. Did Abiola get their votes? They are only interested in the election in Rivers state. Their national capital. To bring Amaechi back as governor. Beyond that, forget them. They have negotiated with all the presidential candidates-except Chris Okotie.

Say yes to the South South

Say yes to the South South ticket fellow neighbors. Jonathan's only problem is his neighnors.

change must come

there is no way a person wil goto the tream and not be touched by water.no progressive person or honest politician wil associate with PDP.anyone contesting on dat platform has a singular motive,rape the poor masses and amass wealth for self and god fathers,like Anenih.only a revolution can save us frm these bandits.

Edwin Odunze,Thanks for you

Edwin Odunze,Thanks for you brilliant submission.as a matter of fact,it will be difficult for any political party to form a formidable opposition to upseat PDP baecause 80%of the parties are PDP in excile some of them work for PDP e.g ANPP as a strong relationship with PDP.NDP advertised full pages of news paper to congratulate IBB for his birthday and some of these parties are being sponsored by PDP CHIEFTAIN in order not to divide popular stance against PDP I think we should 4 or5 parties so that there will be internal democracy.
The propaganda of PDP reform is a falacy it can't work because those Govs,Senators,Hons want to maintain hegemony that will favour them in future elections.

Why Action congress

@Okwuchukwu Ezeanyika, PA, USA

I struggle to understand why you are proposing the blanket backing of the ACN. Is this not part of the reason why Nigeria is the way we are...blind followers.

Everyone should do a personal and in depth review of all candidates irrespective of political affiliations.

Look through thier past promises and political offices. If they promised and failed in the past,what would stop them from doing same in 2011. Everyone who has failed in the past should not be promoted in any way or form on Sahara reporters.

If the spirit of the PDP is working in other political parties, should we think them any different? Let us look beyond the politics of just stopping the PDP in deciding 2011.Let us not run from the evil of the PDP into the arms of other evil doers under a different umbrella

Edwin Odunze: Excellent piece

Edwin Odunze:
Excellent piece and very true; infact the president's actions do not demonstrate good intentions in recent times, spending a collosal amount on 3 jets and yet infrastructural decay persists... what bold move has he made on education? nothing!! oh wait a minute.... look closely he is on a spending spree.... oiling the PDP rigging machine come 2011?

Verdict: Again you are right - it is fool hardy to expect anything from Jonathan nor PDP! Period

@ Okwuchukwu Ezeanyika, PA,

@ Okwuchukwu Ezeanyika, PA, USA, Nigeria is not a failing stae, Nigeria is a failed state. You can check up the meaning of a failed state.-a state where the govt cannot provide basic amenities like power, roads, water, transport system etc. nothing works.
I was shocked when I travelled for a conference in sudan and also touched down in mogadishu, somalia. These are countries that have been fighting civil wars for more than 30 years nion stop yet in those cities, there is constant power and water supply.
I weep for the land of my birth Nigeria.

Inevitable change

Nigeria is a country with great importance but the leaders have made it less important. It is been said that, anyone can steer the ship but it takes a leader to chart the course. Nigeria as a country has no such leader. The earlier we all begin to think as a nation the better for us not parading those that cant even control its own family as leader.

Let us say NO to PDP in 2011!

I have said it before and I repeat it here. Professor Ben Nwabueze, the foremost constitutional lawyer said the other day that Nigeria is a failing state and what is needed now is a revolution that will end the bleeding.

I know that the revolution may not come. But all the opposition parties should now rally round the Presidential candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria. Nobody should sit on the fence.

I predict that if by any chance PDP's candidate wins the Presidency, that will be the beginning of Nigeria moving from a failing state to a completely-failed state within two years. God forbid. But we must also pray. Kneel down and let us pray. God in heaven...