Published On: Tue, Jun 16th, 2015

Now, how will he govern? (5)

Threats & dangers to the Jonathan Presidency

The South West has used the media adroitly in the last two decades, first to act as a bulwark against Northern domination of political power and secondly to fight for South West control of political power. That campaign took different forms and shapes, from anti-military, pro-democracy to anti-corruption and human rights crusade. However, all of them conduced to one core issue — control of political power by the South West. That power was won in 1999 by Olusegun Obasanjo. It also sustained him in office.

The media never went for President Obasanjo’s jugular, except during the anti-3rd term agenda which was also an internal battle. Unknown to many, it was former Lagos state Governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who mobilized the media to wage that war, because he saw the 3rd term agenda as a real and imminent threat against his vested political and other strategic interests. The truth therefore, is that the mass media is a veritable tool of political power struggle and control by the South West.

I may be mistaken, but I strongly believe that when the mass media was campaigning for power shift, I am not sure that they meant an Igbo or an Ijaw as president. The reality of an Ijaw man in the presidency now has upturned the apple cart and created a new dynamic in uncharted territories. How will it play out? What will be the historic character of the Jonathan presidency? What fundamental logic will underpin its vision and world view? Who and what, will frame its logic and who and what, will make its case?

Whose Govt is it, anyway?

The hard reality of Nigerian politics, civilian and military, is that governments even though ostensibly national in outlook, are in reality; narrow, ethnic and sectional. This is perhaps understandable, since Nigeria is a young nation, struggling very hard to achieve true nationalism. The main challenges of a young nation are often the lack of well developed and structured institutions of state which are usually the main anchors of a viable nation state.

So governments in developing nations often tend to depend on ethnic support as the main pillar of their governance. Indeed, the agitation for power shift and power rotation in Nigeria often derive from this reality. In other parts of the world, the contest is usually among political parties. Because the North and South West have been in power severally in the past, they have developed the institutions that underpin governments. The East has never really had the chance. Zik was a ceremonial president, while Aguiyi Ironsi was virtually a passenger. His callous and brutal murder underlined in bold letters the impotence of the East. Since Ironsi’s death, and the subsequent civil war, the East has remained a spectator in the pulsating drama of Nigeria’s politics.

Jonathan’s emergence however, is a tacit recognition by Nigeria’s power structure of the South South’s growing influence. That influence has been given added impetus in recent years by the strident campaign of the Niger Delta militants. The reality is that the South South has become a potent member of Nigeria’s power class. Unknown to many, it has become the richest zone in Nigeria with a total revenue in excess of N3 trillion, which is slightly lower than the national budget. But some have argued and there is some merit in the argument, that Jonathan’s emergence was part of the alleged campaign by the Yoruba and Hausa/Fulani oligarchy to further hold down the Igbo. (The usual political equation in Nigeria is to pair up the Igbo with the Hausa/Fulani North.) But in one bold stroke, Olusegun Obasanjo changed the equation and altered the trajectory of Nigeria’s political history.

One of the most significant developments of the current political dispensation is the unprecedented Igbo support Jonathan received during the presidential election. However, as with most things Igbo, that support has not been accorded its due historical importance. Without dwelling too much on the issue, the reasons are obvious. The Igbo lack the mass media outlet to celebrate the issue and others couldn’t care less. In numerical strength, the Igbo unarguably packs the biggest homogenous political punch in voting numbers, never mind the voting figures per zone. The Igbo spread offers clear advantages. So their early identification with the Jonathan bid made the latter’s candidacy viable and forced other ethnic nationalities especially the Yoruba and Hausa/Fulani, to engage with Jonathan.

However, having won power, it will be interesting to see how Jonathan interprets his presidency. The South South or his Ijaw ethnic nationality, lacks the numbers and structure to anchor his power in the usual Nigerian tradition. So what will he do, in order to secure his presidency? Will he define his office in the context of a broad South East and South South collective, in which case he would incorporate the Igbos as part of his natural constituency and so offer himself a stronger base and greater chances of not only survival in office, but also success? Or will he pursue a nebulous concept of national government that will be only beholden to the Nigerian people and anchored on the ennobling virtues of nationalism?

The former prospect offers the most pragmatic, practical and viable option. Ordinarily, it should also be the most natural. But it is not as easy as it may seem. Space constraints will not allow me to explain why, but suffice it to say that it is hobbled abinitio. It is the preference of many Igbos, but sadly for them, it is not likely to happen. Nevertheless, towards the 2015 presidential elections, especially if Jonathan is interested in a 2nd term, he will make some show of promoting a pan Eastern platform. But then it might be too little, too late.

Jonathan’s preference will be the latter option, the nationalist characteristic, with Nigerians from different ethnic groups occupying strategic positions in his government and playing crucial roles. Already you can hear the sound bite; transformational government. But is that advisable, even if it were practical? Ideally, it would be nice to have a different approach to governance anchored on a new vision of Nigeria as one country of shared vision and common destiny. But it is a premature concept now. That day is still a long way off. The basic instinct of the Nigeria power class is still to cohere according to origin. That was why when Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was president, he entrusted some of the most important offices to a select list of Northerners, for instance: Minister of Petroleum Resources; Rilwanu Lukman (Kaduna), Chief Economic Adviser; Aminu Yakubu Kurfi (Katsina), Minister of Finance; Shamsudeen Usman (Kano), CBN Governor; Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (Kano), Minister of Finance; Mansur Muhtar (Kano) and National Security Adviser; Saiki Mukhtar (Kaduna).

© 2015, Hallmarknews. All rights reserved. Reference and link to this site is required if you wish to reuse any article.

Reactions from Facebook

comments and opinions

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Most Shared

Recent posts

  • China offshore oil coy to invest $3bn in Nigeria

    The China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) is to invest an additional three billion dollars in its existing stakes in offshore oil and gas operations in Nigeria. Mr Ndu Ughamadu, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) spokesman said this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja. Ughamadu said Mr Yuan Guangyu, the Chief Executive Officer […]

  • Ecobank risk assets deteriorate as Kie bows out

    By FELIX OLOYEDE The exit of Ecobank Nigeria’s erstwhile Managing Director, Charles Kie, has raised a groundswell of speculation in the financial community as sector analysts believe that his exit was abrupt, untimely and suspicious. Over a period of two years, Kie had succeeded in reversing the banks bedraggled balance sheet and profit and loss […]

  • Blood, blood everywhere: Herdsmen, rustlers on the rampage

    –  Violence, a well-articulated plot to grab land – Expert  By AYOOLA OLAOLUWA Nigeria is gradually descending into a Hobbesian state with the growing killings in the Middle Belt, in addition to the destruction of lives and properties in the North West and Boko Haram insurgency in the North East. Defenseless citizens are being killed like […]

  • 2018 budget in jeopardy

    . Delay alone has reduced performance by 13% – Experts By UCHE CHRIS In all likelihood the 2018 budget will end like the three previous budgets of the President Buhari administration: a failure. Having been passed seven months after its presentation and half year gone; and with all the controversies surrounding its passage by the […]

  • MTN to miss market listing target

    By OKEY ONYENWEAKU A weak domestic economy in Nigeria may force telecommunications giant MTN to shift its earlier proposed August 2018 date for a local listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). Analysts believe that the date shift will allow the parties to the Offer plan a more successful listing arrangement that would guaranty full […]

  • APC crises widen: Amaechi battles for relevance, Modu-Sheriff is new strongman

    By OBINNA EZUGWU Key actors in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) managed to keep up appearance to allow for a smooth transition at the party’s recently held national convention. Except for the exchange of blows among Imo and Delta States delegates, the convention was largely a success. But beneath the facade of orderliness, tensions […]

  • INEC declares Fayemi governor-elect in Ekiti

    The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressive Congress (APC) winner of the Ekiti Governorship Election held on Saturday. INEC’s Chief Returning Officer for the election, Professor Idowu Olayinka declared the result on Sunday. According to the Returning Officer, Kayode got 197,459 votes to defeat the Deputy Governor of […]

  • President Muhammadu Buhari said on Wednesday that Nigeria will soon sign up to a $3 trillion African free-trade agreement. Nigeria is one of Africa’s two largest economies, the other being South Africa. Buhari’s government had refused to join a continental free-trade zone established in March, on the grounds that it wishes to defend its own […]

  • PDP meets Obasanjo for advice on how to beat Buhari in 2019 polls

    The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) will meet with former President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta on Saturday to seek advice on how to achieve victory in the 2019 polls and beat incumbent Muhammadu Buhari. The National Chairman of PDP, Uche Secondus, made this known in Abeokuta while addressing journalists after a […]

  • GTBank Launches Social Impact Challenge, Aims to Fund Community Development Projects Nationwide

    Following more than two decades of consistent investment in community development, Guaranty Trust Bank plc is taking its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) another step further by launching a Social Impact Challenge that will fund dozens of innovative ideas designed and executed by members of the general public. Tagged #SimpleChangeBigImpact, the Social Impact Challenge invites individuals […]

  • Akpobome gives indigent girls educational lifeline

    Akpobome gives indigent girl The hope of indigent girls who have been struggling with their education has been rekindled as Mrs. Mary Akpobome, former executive director, Heritage Bank and her husband,  Mr. Atunyota Akpobome, fondly called Alli-Baba have jointly floated The Purple Girl Foundation with the purpose  of helping them live their dreams. Giving reasons […]

  • Buhari’s NLNG signature project back on track

    President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the board, management, staff and shareholders of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas company (NLNG), the NNPC and other Joint Venture partners, Shell, Total and AGIP on the signing of the contracts for the Front End Engineering Design (FFED) of Train 7 of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Project. The President […]

  • Buhari creates unit to snoop on illegal money transfers

    President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit bill (NFIU) 2018 into law, creating a body that will henceforth monitor illegal money transfers and money laundering. The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Sen. Ita Enang, confirmed this development while briefing State House correspondents in Abuja on Wednesday. […]

  • NCC wades into MTN’s labour issues

    The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Monday said the organisation has opened talks with critical stakeholders on MTN’s labour issues. Mr Tony Ojobo, NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, made this known in a statement by in Abuja. “NCC under the leadership of Prof. Umar Danbatta has opened talks with other critical stakeholders  through the office of […]

  • Weak purchasing power responsible for slowing inflation rate, says Chukwu

    FELIX OLOYEDE The continuous decelerating inflation rate in the country was largely due to weak purchasing power amongst Nigerians, said Johnson Chukwu, Managing Director, Cowry Asset Management Ltd. Speaking on the theme: “Economy: H1 2018 review and prospect for year end” at the second edition of the Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa (BMIA) Cohort 4 quarterly […]

  • Global outrage grows over incessant herdsmen killings

    …there is anarchy in the land – Utomi   By OBINNA EZUGWU The incessant killings in Nigeria by Fulani herdsmen seem to attracting more global attention as U.S. and U.K. have taken the government to task to stop it. During his recent visit to the U.S. by President Buhari, American President Donald had expressed concern […]