The most important political issue that has been, and would continue to revolve around the Jonathan presidency and his 2015 ambition is political power shift to the north. With the 2015 general elections fast approaching, should the north support Jonathan for a second term? Here are 10 politically touchy reasons the north should support Jonathan for a second term.
Firstly, Jonathan’s second term would be an important milestone in that long process of completing the ‘equation of power’. This is because every part of Nigeria would also see, and experience the pain of having one of ‘their own’ in power. Many ordinary Nigerians outside the northern part of the country generally assume that, the grip northern elites have had on political power for over forty years have bettered the lives of common man in the north. And this is not so.
With this stereotyped belief about the common people of the north by most people outside the north, the north should support Jonathan for a second term to show other ordinary Nigerians that having someone from your region in power does not guarantee betterment for your life. Nigerian political elites share same thought and belong to same ‘club’. The ordinary people in the southwest have learnt the lesson from the Obasanjo presidency.
Secondly, it is a fact; the Jonathan’s presidency has brought some sort of relief to the Nigerian polity. This relief comes in terms of giving the minority a sense of hope of ascending the highest position of the land. It is also a fact that never in the history of the north had the touchy issue of minorities’ place in the polity been in the forefront of political discourse as it is now. It is obvious that northern minorities– especially within the Christian community feels some sense of ‘political relief’ with the Jonathan presidency. Thus the north can support Jonathan for a second term as gesture to their minority brothers in the spirit of Sardauna’s ‘one-north’, regardless of tribe, religion or geography.
Also, if Jonathan is supported for a second term, it would be an opportunity for the country to restart the disrupted power rotation between the north and south. And, it would be in north’s favour- as power should, with no trouble, shift to the north after Jonathan’s second term.
After Jonathan’s second term, no other part of the country can accuse the north of being part of the obstacles that denied it the opportunity to taste power to its fullest.
Furthermore, the political elites in north have been busy fighting for a power shift, while completely ignoring the most important task of nurturing a candidate sellable to the entire country. Apart from Atiku Abubakar, nobody from the north currently has the political structures, influence and contacts to win national acceptance. Hence, Jonathan’s second term would be an opportunity for the north to have enough time to present to the country its best candidates.
Jonathan’s second term ambition would also be an opportunity for the north to present him its development demands, which should include speedy and feasible policies that will break the poverty cycle in the north through economically empowering the poor, massive development initiatives targeted at assets like the Lake Chad, Sokoto Basin and Benue Valley Oil Exploration projects, and the Mambilla plateau hydro-electricity project.
Jonathan’s supporters always use a strong point against northern politicians. They claim the northern politicians have distracted Jonathan’s first term with politics. So, giving Jonathan support for a second term would be an opportunity to give him some breathing space to see his performance, and if he fails, it can be perfectly used against him and his supporters.
There is a historical alliance between the north and the south-south; a genuine support to Jonathan by the northern political elites would rekindle that historic political alliance and completely shut up those who rely on the present misunderstanding for selfish gains.
The current crisis in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is a golden opportunity for both northern political elites and Jonathan to strike a win-win deal. Then, Jonathan should make a honest direct talk to the Talakwas of the north and diffuse their current state of minds- ‘yes, ideally, it should have been a northerner as the president; but destiny chose me. Please I need your support’. After all, most people of the north are not enthusiastic about where the president comes from, but someone that can free them from the prison of poverty.
The tenth reason is, Jonathan came to power just by destiny. The north should use today in the spirit of tomorrow, because nobody can tell what tomorrow would bring– a northerner may one day find himself in Jonathan’s situation.
Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Jimeta, Adamawa State, firstname.lastname@example.org, 08036070980. He blogs at www.zayyaddp.blogspot.com