Monday, December 18, 2006

Yar Adua Picks Jonathan to Pacify Niger Delta

The reason adduced to the surprise selection of the Bayelsa State Governor, Dr Goodluck Jonathan as running mate to the PDP presidential candidate is to pacify the Niger Delta folk, who have been contending issues ranging from resource control to environmental degradation. The echelon of the PDP figures that its chances of winning the 2007 presidential elections would only be improved with an Ijaw native on the presidential ticket as VP. The Ijaw, reputed to be the 4th largest ethnic group in Nigeria have been in the forefront of the contentious, often violent, issues of resource control and environmental degradation.

Only two weeks ago, leaders of the notorious Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) had lent their support to Buba Marwa, former military governor of Lagos state in his bid for the PDP presidential ticket. At the time, Jonathan was not on the radar for consideration in the presidential race and so was a non-issue. Now that he has been picked by Yar Adua, and Marwa has lost the PDP presidential ticket, it is unsure how MEND and indeed the entire Niger Delta will take it. Speculations had been rife of Cross River state governor, Donald Duke or his Rivers state counterpart, Peter Odili winning the VP slot after the PDP convention last Saturday, alas both contenders were disappointed.

It is understandable that Odili did not get the nomination, given the ongoing investigation into allegations of financial impropriety leveled against his government. Duke, on the other hand has been hailed severally as Mr. Clean and for various accomplishments of his government. This leads to the question of whether Jonathan is not being rewarded for the insurgencies playing out in the Niger Delta mainly by the Ijaw? (Never mind that his wife is under investigation by the EFCC for money laundering, a story for another forum) If this is the case, then it is a dangerous precedent that might encourage other aggrieved ethnic groups to take up arms to further their causes.

If one thinks about it, perhaps this precedent had already earlier been set long before the Obasanjo regime came into power. It was the Yorubas who were most vociferous about the lost mandate of June 12, 1993 denying Abiola, a Yoruba native from ascension to the presidency by the military juntas of Babangida and Abacha. With the auspicious demise of the evil Abacha and Abiola in 1998, pundits agree that the Obasanjo candidacy was a consensus to pacify the Yorubas for the lost mandate of Abiola. If this is the case then we might soon see a resurgence of the Biafra movement of the Igbos over the next few years should they not produce the president (an extremely high improbability) come 2007. Igbo jingoists like Ojukwu, Kalu, Uwazurike and Nzeribe should be watched.

The remaining 200-plus odd minority ethnic groups can only watch this ethnocentric regional politics play out as they decipher with which of the major ethnic groups to pitch their tents to maximize their benefits. The challenge for the new president after May 27, 2007 will be how to manage this rambunctious, party-pied, ethnocentric polity for order while maintaining a fair balance of justice and equity for the various interest groups that make up the complexity that is Nigeria.

2 comments:

Nilla said...

This leads to the question of whether Jonathan is not being rewarded for the insurgencies playing out in the Niger Delta mainly by the Ijaw? If this is the case, then it is a dangerous precedent that might encourage other aggrieved ethnic groups to take up arms to further their causes.

It looks like that's what's happening..and it's a scary thought.

Yar'adua Goodluck 'Talk to Us' Forum Site Admin said...

Hi Veracity

I thought you might like to know that Governors Umar Yar'adua and Goodluck Jonathan recently decided they wanted to engage with ordinary Nigerians and hear their opinions directly. So they launched the Yar'adua Goodluck 'Talk to Us' web site www.yaraduagoodluck.info.

The Yar'adua Goodluck 'Talk to Us' Forum is an online community with access to PDP Presidential Aspirant, Governor Umaru Yar'adua, and his running mate Governor Goodluck Jonathan that allows for open discussions of issues relevant to the development of Nigeria.

It is a useful way to find out about the Issues that are important to the candidates. And, because it allows members voice their opinions on how the issues can be resolved, it lets you see how ordinary Nigerians feel about these issues too. So I think it will be of interest to your readers.

The ideas behind this site are probably a first for an African democracy. And it represents a departure from old-style Nigerian politics.

By telling your readers about our web site you will be contributing to the development of democracy in Nigeria. On behalf of his Excellency I thank you in anticipation of this.

Yar'adua Goodluck 'Talk to Us' Forum Site Team