Friday, January 14, 2011


By approximately 6.03am on Friday, January 14 2011, at the Eagles Square, Abuja, it was clear that President Goodluck Jonathan had won the PDP primaries by a landslide victory against former vice-president Atiku Abubakar. With a total of 2,736 votes against Atiku’s 805 and Sarah Jubril’s single vote, Jonathan emerged the party’s presidential flag bearer and so placed in pole position to become Nigeria’s elected president come April 2011. The opposition parties, Nuhu Ribadu, Muhammadu Buhari, Pat Utomi et al, would need to do more to halt this effective PDP machinery.

The handwriting had long been on the wall. Pitting a man who had long lost relevance in the nation’s politics against one who was beginning to gain a significant chunk of it was a mismatch. Jonathan vs Atiku was a no contest. Then, Mrs Jubril should be advised not to contest for the primaries. Party faithfuls and observers adjudged it a free and fair process. Let’s hope the same would be said about the April elections. Both Jonathan and Atiku cams reportedly gave out huge sums in the guise of ‘welfare’ and transport’ for delegates. We shouldn’t expect less; this is Nigerian politics, where money and personality counts more than issues and collective national interest. But at least, maybe, just maybe, the change process has begun. Like a friend commented, Jonathan is the closest to what Nigeria needs.

The Obasanjo Factor
Love him or hate him, Uncle Sege is still a kingmaker and vital force in Nigeria politics. Write off the former president and current chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees at your own peril. He once again proved it with Jonathan’s victory. I could almost visualize him walking past Atiku after the primaries, with a smirk on his face, “I dey laugh oh.”

It's also interesting to note that the Nigeria Police deployed 17,000 men to handle security at the venue for less than 5,000 PDP delegates. Compare that with the ratio of one policeman to almost 500 Nigerians. Even though premium should be placed on the presidency, the security of potential presidential aspirants of the ruling party and its members are equally as important as the lives of any Nigerian citizen. Jonathan needs to do more to tackle the problems of security of lives and property in the country, as well as the challenges faced by the grossly understaffed and underpaid Nigerian police force.

Jonathan’s finally found his groove.
Did you see his ‘swagger’ while he was reading his speech? For once, the president showed some passion in passing across his message, a stark contrast to his mostly unimpressive demeanour at other times. I’m sure his advisers must have reminded him for the umpteenth time that he needed to work on his style and show the people that this meant much to him. We need more of that kind of passion, that ‘swagger’, Mr. President. Nigeria needs more than Goodluck. Nigeria needs a prepared president who can effectively handle the responsibility of leading 150 million people, one that can stamp his authority, who doesn’t really care whose axe is gored, as long as the wishes of the people are respected and protected. Nigeria needs a strong president, one who is passionate about changing the country for the better. “I will give this country a strong, strong leadership to be a greater nation,” said Jonathan in his acceptance speech. Maybe, he is finally rising to the challenge.

Like Obama.

(Oh, by the way, President Jonathan seemed so involved in the PDP primaries that he even ‘forgot’ to update his Facebook status for two days).

President Jonathan also talked about his plans to build nine new universities. Building new universities to cater for the teeming population is good, but fixing the ones already built is a better way to start the building process. Most of the country’s universities and institutions are decaying and in need of urgent redemption. The president must now show more resolve and be more proactive to salvaging the country’s educational sector, create. There’s need to create, modify and implement better policies to improve the system. A quality educational system is paramount if quality development must be attained and sustained.  

Now, will the real President, beyond the Facebook, please stand up and be counted? Then, let every single vote count. Cos this revolution’s being televised, pinged, tweeted, Facebooked, …

God bless Nigeria.

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