Will Jonathan Declare In 2014?

One factor will shape the political future and unity or otherwise of Nigeria this year. It is the expected declaration of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to stand for election in 2015. But will he? Or will he shift it to early 2015? These are the trillion dollars questions on the lips of political analysts and observers. In his respond to the18-page letter of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Jonathan simply said he will make his mind known to Nigerians including Obasanjo when the time comes.

Presidency sources have told the media that Jonathan is keen to contest election in 2015 as he would not want to chicken out due to the pressure from the opposition within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) when now includes Obasanjo. But when he would declare his interest and intention is unknown to them and only kept as a secret by Mr. President. The secrecy in the whole exercise according to someone close to the corridors of power is to enable Jonathan peruse the mind of those working close with him, understand their plans and of course know where their allegiance lies. Suffice this to mean that at this point Jonathan trusts only himself. And the rumor that he is already planning to give some members of his cabinet the boot again speaks volume his plan.

However his decision to contest or not will stand out in 2014 as a catalyst of change in several areas politically. It will decide the strategies that even the All Progressives Congress (APC) will adopt to win the general elections. Should Jonathan surprisingly pull-out of the 2015 election, it could lead to agitation from the South East that perhaps it is the right time for the zone to produce the President which after all is one of the premises that those insisting that Jonathan had promised just a term hinge their argument. Perhaps the APC will change its plan from handing its presidential flag to a northerner to a South Easterner.

Should Jonathan insists on going ahead to contest the election in 2015 would have expressly allowed the APC to identify and unveil its candidate who will naturally be someone strong enough to grab sympathy votes from Nigerians thinking the way of the APC. The shadow attention focused on Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal could be a possibility if he decides to toe the line of defectors who have torn the umbrella of the PDP into shreds. May be the APC is waiting for Jonathan’s declaration before it officially approaches Tambuwal to be its Presidential candidate. Whether Tambuwal who has freely been associating with the chieftains of the APC will agree to decamp the PDP to seek the highest office in the land under the APC arrangement is a different thing entirely.

Nigerians are indeed waiting for Jonathan to make his mind known since it will determine the political future of the country. Critics opine that Jonathan is waiting for the National Confab to get into full gear before making his position on the 2015 election known. To many that means buying time. Again there is the argument that Jonathan’s plan to unveil long term economic plan for North East which has been devastated by Boko Haram attacks could also be a measure to attract political goodwill to himself, weigh his popularity and the feelings of the people in that geo-political zone before declaring his intention to contest. Jonathan is indeed exploiting all possible avenues to get the common Nigerians to his side just like he did in 2011before declaring especially given the massive attacks the APC has used through the media to diminish his popularity which the internal wrangling in the PDP also contributed immensely on.

With the opposition (APC) on one side, more members of the PDP threatening to dump the party, speculation of Tambuwal joining the APC as Presidential flag-bearer and of course the cold war with former President Obasanjo, Jonathan will have to tread on soft path, he will have to really look before he leaps and he will take his time before making any declaration concerning his interest in 2015 election.

One thing is certain. Jonathan has a right to contest. He has also denied the allegation that he promised just a term. Now what is left is for him to tell Nigerians that he is the Presidential flag bearer of the PDP.

A close aide to APC National leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu told this reporter that Jonathan’s greatest fear which is delaying his declaration is Tambuwal. It is said that the President is seeking ways of having some private times with the Speaker of the House of Representatives to actually know which side of the divide the later belongs especially in the face of claims and allegation that he is disposed to joining the APC. This has been impossible because the Speaker is not in the mood to discuss such. The respect the Presidency has for Tambuwal is based on the fact that he emerged as Speaker on account of his dogged fight particularly at a time the Presidency has pitched tent with the party’s (PDP) chieftains to settle for a female candidate as Speaker. Ever since that election that brought Tambuwal to power as Speaker he has been free from the control, dictates and influence of the Presidency. Tambuwal sees the opportunity presented by the crisis rocking Jonathan’s administration to play his master-card. But will he serve the ace or remain a loyal party man only time will tell and that can only be decided by Jonathan’s declaration which is expected in 2014.

About Desmond Ekwueme

desmond.ekwueme@nationalweekender.net

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