IN WAR, THE FIRST CAUSALITY is truth, which is becoming synonymous with politics in Nigeria. Truth is sacred, but not with politicians in Nigeria. No truth about political interests, aspiration and motives; but clandestine moves in the country. Political analysts and observers must, certainly, be concerned about speculations from former President Goodluck Jonathan’s political camp. That he may be having secret romance with the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, with future ambition, perhaps, 2023.
Goodluck Jonathan, clocked 63, November 20, 2020. As expected, goodwill messages poured in, to wish him well. President Buhari in his message, said Jonathan “earned Nigeria goodwill”. He congratulated him for a “life of service that has brought honour and goodwill to the country”. He prayed that God grant him “longer life, good health and more wisdom to keep serving the nation and humanity”. Many best wishes messages poured in to Jonathan. Jonathan is a Chieftain of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. The party that shot him to the nation’s highest office as president.
Unique, among the messages of felicitation Jonathan received, was that of the delegation of some Chieftains and Governors of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, Friday evening, November 20, 2020. Mai Mala Buni, Acting National Chairman of APC and Governor of Yobe State, led the delegation. David Umahi, Governor of Ebonyi State, who defected, recently, from the major opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to APC, was in the delegation that visited Jonathan in his private resident in Abuja.
Others in Mai Mala Buni’s delegation, were Atiku Bagudu, Governor of Kebbi and Chairman, APC Progressives Governors Forum; Abubakar Badaru, Governor of Jigawa; Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, former Presidential Liaison Officer to the National Assembly; and Ken Nnamani, a former Senate President. No PDP members was president at the meeting.
Northern Governors Forum, who are also, APC Chieftains, sent Jonathan felicitation message, at 63. Simon Lalong, Chairman of the Forum, and Governor of Plateau State, signed the felicitation statement. He described Jonathan as “true democrat whose passion for the growth of democracy” is reflected, not only in his records while in office, but also, of his current engagements, that has seen him travelled to monitor elections in other countries.
THE AUGUST VISIT, by APC stalwarts, to felicitate with Jonathan, on his 63rd birthday, and other manoeuvring in the APC circle with Jonathan, has become of concern to political analysts and observers. While discussions at the meeting were uncertain, the politically, impressive delegation from the ruling APC, seems suspect to political observers. Some have alluded that it could be connected with strategizing towards 2023 general elections.
Analysts see Jonathan, as being, uneasily and visibly too close to the corridors of power in the ruling APC. Some say he is becoming more politically inclined and active with the ruling APC, than being with the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the umbrella party, from where he politically cut his teeth, and rose to become Nigeria’s President. Party loyalists, believe Jonathan romance with APC, was becoming politically unhealthy for his party, the PDP.
Jonathan’s diary of political events, of late, with the ruling APC, seems quite exposing. During the 2019 governorship election in Bayelsa State, Jonathan was alleged to have openly supported David Lyon, the APC’s governorship candidate, against the PDP candidate Douye Diri. David Lyon was decleared by INEC as winner of the governorship election; though reversed by Nigeria’s Supreme Court in favour of PDP candidate, Douye Diri.
After INEC declared David Lyon, governor-elect, Jonathan, not only congratulated Lyon, he received a team of APC delegation in his Otueke country home, in Bayelsa State, perhaps, to thank him for supporting their candidate during the election. Timipre Sylva, Buhari’s minister of State for Petroleum, and APC Chieftain in the State, led the delegation. In that team was, also, Atiku Bagudu, Governor of Kebbi and Chairman, APC Progressives Governors Forum; and Abubakar Badaru, Governor of Jigawa State.
THE SILENCE IN PDP’S HOUSE, over Jonathan’s romance, with the ruling APC, observers say, is unhealthy for the opposition, PDP. Sule Lamido, PDP Chieftain, after the 2019 Bayelsa governorship election, lashed out on Jonathan and the State PDP, for supporting APC candidate, David Lyon. He described the action as “PDP betrayer”. And specifically, singled Jonathan in his criticism.
LAMIDO said: “People have done worse than Jonathan… betrayal is the hallmark of the PDP. To me Jonathan is a creation of an accident hoisted by Obasanjo on Nigeria. I really don’t talk about him as somebody who should be punished for what he did. It doesn’t make sense.”
And added: “What I am saying is that people have done worse than Jonathan. People who are senior to him, people who are more elderly than Jonathan and who offer bigger option than Jonathan. Naturally, it is his home state, otherwise he is simply copying from his political elders and leaders”, in The Sun interview.
Sule Lamido alleged that Jonathan betrayed PDP in Bayelsa State governorship election, by supporting the APC, because Buhari’s government was “blackmailing him” with the Malabo issue. As such, Jonathan traded-off Bayelsa governorship to APC by supporting its candidate.
“They are holding him by the balls. Because he (Jonathan) sure knows his problem with Buhari and with this government. And the issue of Malabo, I think, played a key role, I said so. So, the election was won and lost by PDP. PDP history, PDP tradition and Jonathan were behind him. That I can say anywhere because the issue of Malabo is an issue I know very well. I had cause to discuss it with him”, Lamido said.
JONATHAN responded to Lamido’s criticism. Through his Media Adviser, Ikechukwu Eze’s statement, Jonathan said he was not responsible for the PDP’s misfortune during the election. And did not see any issue with congratulating David Lyon, or receiving APC delegation, who came to visit him after the governorship election.
“Jonathan would want to counsel Lamido and others in his shoes to look at their national passports. They would see that their citizenship is Nigeria. We are first Nigerians before we are members of any political party or social organisation. If Lamido does not know that, then it is a pity.
“We chose to make this clarification just to set the record straight, especially as a number of the former President’s close associates have been asking questions about the blatant statement credited to Lamido. Where was Lamido when Jonathan campaigned vigorously and helped the PDP to win Bayelsa governorship election in 2015, under the same President Buhari?” Eze stated.
Eze said, Jonathan did not trade-off Bayelsa to avoid been implicated on Malabu oil scam, as Lamido claimed. That Lamido, knows very little about Malabu case. Which does not deserve comment. That Malabu oil block was not given out by Jonathan. The deal, according Eze, was sealed during late General Sani Abacha’s regime, as Head of State.
The last may not have been known or heard about former President Goodluck Jonathan’s deals with the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC. Just time would prove critics and observers right or wrong, on the political meandering and manoeuvring, between Jonathan’s PDP and the ruling APC. Is Jonathan one leg in PDP, and another leg in APC?