THE issue is no more whether President Goodluck Jonathan will be a candidate in the 2015 presidential election, but when he will publicly declare his interest in it. For some time now, he has been under intense pressure to make the public declaration. Although he has decided to delay it for reasons best known to him, political analysts all agree that he is already in the race going by his body language and the fact that he has not distanced himself from the activities of the various groups engaged in open campaigns for his second-term ambition. Of recent, there have been a flurry of activities of various groups designed to mount pressure on him to openly signify his interest in the 2015 presidential race. For instance, on July 14, members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the House of Representatives, were in Aso Rock Presidential Villa for a meeting with the President. Mulikat Akande, majority leader of the House, told State House correspondents thereafter that she and her colleagues came to the Villa to specifically endorse Jonathan’s second term ambition because of the significant achievements his government has recorded in the last three years.
Apart from the PDP caucus members in the House of Representatives, most of the party’s governors have also endorsed the president’s second term ambition. That is clearly evident in their public pronouncements at various forums and in the large turnout of the governors at the July 14, meeting which Jonathan had with the federal lawmakers. Even before then, Godswill Akpabio, governor of Akwa Ibom State and chairman, PDP Governors’ Forum; Sullivan Chime, governor of Enugu State, Theodore Orji, governor of Abia State, Martin Elechi, governor of Ebonyi State, Liyel Imoke, governor of Cross River State, Emmanuel Uduaghan, governor of Delta State, and Seriake Dickson, governor of Bayelsa State, among others, have been in the forefront of those who want Jonathan to go for a second term because of the success of his transformation agenda in all sectors of the nation’s socio-economic development. Political pressure groups, traditional rulers and individuals are not left out in the Jonathan-for-President campaign.
From all indications, Jonathan appears to be the candidate to beat in next year’s presidential election. A lot of factors stand in his favour. First, he is an incumbent president and in most Third World countries, sitting presidents hardly lose elections. Second, his four-year score-card can hardly be faulted try as the opposition political parties would want to demean his achievements. Third, the chairmanship of the PDP by Adamu Mua’zu, has brought more life into the party, which was almost brought to its knees by the rebellion of some governors in its fold last year. The party is now waxing stronger and stronger with each passing day. Fourth, the All Progressives Congress, APC, the major opposition party, has a national and international image problem which is most likely to benefit Jonathan. This, probably, explains why the party is very vociferous in its campaign that Jonathan’s presidency is a monumental disaster and for that reason, he ought not to contest next year’s presidential election because Nigerians cannot afford to wait for another four years of a clueless presidency. Whether this campaign of blackmail will stick, remains to be seen when the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, blows the whistle later in the year for electioneering campaign to begin.
The long wait for President Jonathan’s public declaration of his presidential ambition is the subject of our cover story this week entitled “Presidential Race: Waiting for Jonathan.” Olu Ojewale, general editor and author of the story, chronicles the activities of various pressure groups and individuals which are yet to move the President into action. It is a compendium of sort. Welcome to our website.
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— Aug. 11, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT