Goodluck Jonathan’s endorsement…
September 21, 2014 | 2:51 am| | | Start Conversation
The recent endorsement of President Goodluck Jonathan by the leadership of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as the party’s presidential candidate in the February 2015 election, shutting out other possible aspirants on the same platform, has continued to receive divergent reactions.
While some respondents who spoke with BD SUNDAY described the development as a mature democratic process, others see it as a rape on democracy.
Dauda Birmah, a former presidential aspirant and member of the Femi Okurounmu-led Presidential Dialogue Committee, said the endorsement was in sync with the first law of nature which is self-preservation, as, according to him, it will enable the party to avoid a volatile presidential primary on December 6.
“Our interpretation of democracy may not be the same with other people outside Nigeria, but even in America, during the re-election of Barrack Obama, did any member of Democratic Party, his party, contest against him at the primary? The party just decided to return him and that was it. Now, whether anyone likes it or not, whatever may be your interpretation of President Jonathan’s administration, he remains a member and leader of the PDP that is in government. So, for PDP to say that they will not endorse him means they have no confidence in him, and if they have no confidence in him, how would they expect other Nigerians to have confidence in him? The party wants to remain intact by avoiding allowing other persons to contest the primaries with the incumbent. The greatest threat to a party is when there are dissenting voices and during primaries where people align forces with various aspirants, but the party says, No, we still believe in our candidate,” Birmah said.
‘It is not illogical. A party looks for easiest means of survival at all times. And it is said that the first law of nature is self-preservation. Now that the party has decided to endorse him, it has to look at those who may have same ambition and dialogue with them, and carry them along. There’s nothing strange about it,” he further said.
However, Tam David-West, a professor and former Petroleum minister in the military era, described the endorsement as undemocratic.
“First, I am not a pretender. I take a stand on national issues without minding whose ox is gored. PDP is taking a very dangerous step. I don’t support Jonathan for second term. This is not about constitutional right, everybody has constitutional right and anybody can claim to have constitutional right to stand election. Are you not surprised that a sitting president, up till now, is vacillating on whether or not to run; he does not have the confidence to say that he wants to re-contest, only by his body language. What PDP has done is undemocratic. What it should have done is to allow all those with ambition in that regard to go for the primary and let the right person emerge by popular opinion. Sule Lamido who wanted to contest has been coerced to throw in the towel; he has finished himself,” David-West said.
Olisa Agbakoba, a former president of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and a delegate at the recently concluded National Conference, said that the presidential election is going to be business as usual where there will be no challenge from any quarter against the PDP. For him, what has happened is just a reflection of lack of credible opposition or alternative.
“It is a great disappointment that the clap seems to be happening with one hand. I do not see two hands. When it is only one hand, the clap will not be good. President Jonathan is not facing opposition. He needs to face opposition. He needs to be challenged by issues. The result is going to be business as usual,” Agbakoba said.
President Jonathan inherited the Presidency in 2010 following the death of President Umaru Yar’Adua after a protracted illness. Jonathan from the South-South in the oil-rich Niger Delta went ahead to win the 2011 presidential poll.
Last Thursday, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of PDP had endorsed him as its sole presidential candidate; this came a day after the governors on the party’s platform had unanimously adopted him.
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