With all the discourse that has been on about the presidential aspirants and the 2011 on my favorite news and information portal, the new phenomenon called Sahara Reporters,  I am tempted to put in some of my own thoughts about the current state of the polity. 

Having just finished watching the public lynching in the name of senate committee hearing in which Lamido Sanusi, the current governor of the central bank is practically forced to sit through a waterboarding session (for claiming the national assembly is responsible for about 25% of overheads in the 2010 national budget) led by a Senator Iyiola Omisore whose only claim to fame is his trial for the murder of Bola Ige, then justice minister, I feel compelled to put out these thoughts.

It was inevitable that the Niger Delta lobby would eventually lose moral and rational arguments to resort to blackmail, intimidation and sabre-rattling the day a Niger Deltan comes close to the presidency of Nigeria. That’s what is happening in the case of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s declared interest in running for the post of president in the coming elections.  There may definitely be an argument for allowing the Niger Delta have its turn (which is simply nothing different from rotation) but that does not mean that any nincompoop will be supported irrespective of his demonstrated lack of initiative, shifty policies and opportunistic disposition, having not achieved anything politically out of personal conviction, struggle or commitment to any cause. 

While the attempt by the northern political leaders forum to present a common front for the north in order to reclaim what they understandably regard as the north’s legitimate right to continue to occupy the presidency, their efforts are grievously undermined by the type of leaders put forward. Yet the credit must go to the group for once getting politicians that are usually self centered and unwilling to be held to their word, to rally round a single candidate selected by the group. The Jonathan group will try to make an issue about the questions of corruption dogging the chosen individual in the person of Atiku Abubakar but anyone who thinks that Goodluck Jonathan is interested in the issue of corruption beyond using it to blackmail Atiku is certainly misreading the man Jonathan. Halliburton and Siemens were no show for this government while Ibori was canonized here until he made the mistake of stepping off our shores. Recently the obvious attempt to undermine and settle the Save Nigeria Group led by Tunde Bakare with $50,000 continues to remind us that though the president may say the right things about fighting corruption,Mr. Jonathan’s body language, methods and style, and those of his many dubious aides betray his real disposition.

I have read and heard funny statements concerning the Jonathan candidacy such as the assertion that Goodluck has no godfather and that he got into his present position by a fortuitous turn of events. Or as stated by Jonathan himself, that he does not represent any sectional group or interests but that he is for the whole Nigeria.  Again these are arguments for the intellectually lazy or gullible. Obasanjo’s continuous swagger and patronizing statements and actions (such as laughing at the Atiku candidacy when he is supposed to be the chairman board of trustees of the party and thereby maintain a neutral disposition) and the recent events that led to the appointment of Professor  Babatunde Osotimehin as the director general of the UN Fund for Population Activities over and above a candidate already officially recognized by the federal government  show clearly who is in charge and propping up the Jonathan puppet.  Also for GEJ to at this time in point claim he does not represent any sectional group is to put his foot in his mouth the same way he did when he spoke on behalf of mend in disclaiming the militant groups role in the independence day bombings.  In addition what does one make of a president that communicates more on facebook than direct interaction with his people? The internet it must be said is an avenue for people to live out their fantasies and in many cases avoid reality.

While I am not enamored by the choice of Atiku Abubakar by the Adamu Ciroma group, I am tired of incumbent presidents riding roughshod on the rest of us and selling us short and misrepresenting themselves with the usual horde of yes men, sycophants and primitive species that flourish in states of anomie. That’s why the significance of the candidacy of Atiku Abubakar and determination of the northern political leaders group not to be intimidated by the presidency must be recognized as crucial to the tenets of democracy (even though admittedly the northern groups are probably on unfamiliar terrain as opposition groups). If anyone felt Atiku was corrupt (most especially the president himself) he should have been tried for corruption; and while at it ask some questions of the sources of wealth of  Obasanjo, Anenih and others in the PDP fold. Having lacked the guts to do this the GEJ group doesn’t have any right to now use it to blackmail the Atiku candidacy.

In coming to terms with the sinking star of the GEJ presidency and indeed the crumbling PDP leadership some gratifying events ameliorate the remorse and despair one would otherwise have delved into on account of the parlous state of our affairs. The rising star of the Action Congress of Nigeria in the southwest and the dimming lights of the OBJ leadership in the area stand out as the singular beacon of hope and renewal for the year 2010.

Bola Ahmed Tinubus insistence and perseverance aided by the old progressives of the south west in a season where politicians jump ship and change parties at the slightest pinch of adversity stand commended. Tunde Bakare, despite various types of dubious comments made about his decision to get involved in political matters and the Save Nigeria Group are another beacon of hope. So let the national assembly members continue to seek life membership of the national executive committees of their parties via self serving laws, people like Olisa Agbakoba who took up the challenge when one boastful arrogant and overfed lawmaker dared Nigerians that do not like their laws to go to court, stands commended; we may yet save these lawmakers from themselves and save Nigeria from them. Prof Wole Soyinka continues to do more and more to set this country on the right path despite our insistence on being delinquent.  All these and certainly quite some others have served as a vital counter weight, forcing Nigeria to tilt to the side of decency and righteousness. For me clearly however the brightest star of all, the guiding light and ultimate rearguard, Sahara Reporters, take a bow.

Agba James
[email protected]


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