Posted by Nelson Dafe, Benin City | 24 November 2014 | 3,399 times
President Goodluck Jonathan has been painted as untrustworthy and incompetent. In an Independent TV debate in Benin City, a public affairs analyst, Greg Ogiugwa, faulted Jonathan’s recent declaration to seek re-election in 2015 after he had reportedly promised in 2011 that he would not do so.
In a fiery debate with a PDP member and journalist Okharedia Ihimekpen, Ogiugwa argued that the President should have respected the conventional rotation of the presidency that was operating in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and allowed a northerner to rule in 2015.
“Jonathan has been sworn in twice (as President). He should be a gentleman and hand over power to the geographical zone that it should rightly go to within his own political party because that was the convention he met there and it was the convention which produced him. It was zoning which promoted Jonathan from Bayelsa, with only eight local governments, to become vice President and then president,” Ogiugwa said.
In his rebuttal, Mr. Ihimekpen stressed that the issue of rotational presidency is only a matter of convenience for political parties and that in the end a party would bring forth the candidate that offers it the best chance of winning a presidential election.
“Sharing of power is a cardinal principle of the PDP. Every political party decides on whom to choose based strictly on how they can win elections,” Ihimekpen said, while also arguing that “one of the best things to ever happen to Nigeria is that President Jonathan should contest.” He backed up the statement by stressing that Jonathan has performed well in stabilising the economy and security of the country.
But Oguigwa would have none of the praise for Jonathan’s performance in the security sector. He pointed out that Johnathan had failed in tackling the Boko Haram insurgency, saying: “When Jonathan was about to declare in 2011, I wrote online and said, ‘I hope Jonathan would not be the last President of a united Nigeria’. So far it has been pointed out to be true. As we speak today there are 12 local governments under the flag of Boko Haram.”
Ogiugwa questioned the intelligence in arguing that Boko Haram is very much an unconventional and somewhat invinsible enemy by pointing out that a place like Mubi in northeastern Nigeria has been completely overrun, with the insurgents’ flag flying triumphantly. “Now you can identify them. Now you can pin them down to a geographical location and you (the Nigerian military) still can’t do anything about it,” Ogiugwa stated.
In a 2011 report, Vanguard newspaper had quoted President Jonathan as promising not to contest in the 2015 presidential election. The report published on February 1, 2011 reads in part:
“President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, said he has no ambition to stay in office beyond 2015, assuring Nigerians in Diaspora that while he will not contest the 2015 election, he will ensure that this year’s election is free and fair.
“The President promised that if voted in for the next four years, he would ensure significant improvement in key sectors of the economy — security, power, education, road, health amongst others.
“ ‘Without security, there is no government. So it is not debatable, it is something we have to address and we are working towards that with vigour. But if I’m voted into power within the next four years, the issue of power will become a thing of the past. Four years is enough for anyone in power to make significant improvement and if I can’t improve on power within this period, it then means I cannot do anything even if I am there for the next four years.’ ”
•Photo shows President Jonathan.
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