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Olalekan Adetayo: Jonathan, the president’s men and the PDP NWC – the war within

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Olalekan Adetayo: Jonathan, the president’s men and the PDP NWC – the war within

By Olalekan Adetayo

A popular Nigerian rapper, Eedris Abdulkareem, drew the ire of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2004 with his track titled “Nigeria jaga jaga” in which he used to call the attention of music lovers to the poor state of the country at that time with almost everything falling apart (scatter scatter, as he put it).

With the current state of the Peoples Democratic Party, I am sure that Obasanjo will not mind if Abdulkareem decided to remix the song and insert PDP to replace Nigeria. Something like PDP jaga jaga, everywhere scatter scatter…

The reason is not far-fetched. Since the party’s shameful outing in the 2015 general elections that saw its leaders’ dream of ruling Nigeria for 60 years shattered, all has not been well with the political party that prides itself as the biggest in Africa. Now, the party’s leaders are taking on one another.

The animosity in the party showed openly penultimate Thursday when members of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation led by a former National Chairman of the party, Senator Ahmadu Ali, were in the Villa to present their report to President Goodluck Jonathan. To start with, I was one of those who wondered what was contained in that report that necessitated Jonathan to throw his doors open for these people. To me, the summary of that report was written by the Independent National Electoral Commission long time ago: that Jonathan lost his re-election bid.

In his wisdom, however, Jonathan hosted these men and women after the event had been postponed once. Signs that all was not well with the party started emerging when the National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Muazu, and other members of the party’s National Working Committee stayed away from the event.

Ali applied native wisdom to announce the absence of Muazu and his team when he was called upon to make his speech and present the report to the President. After recognising the President, Vice President Namadi Sambo and the chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih, on his protocol list, Ali also mentioned, “all members of the NWC in absentia.” He laid emphasis on the word “absentia” and the President got the gist.

Jonathan quickly corrected the party chief that a member of NWC who is the party’s youth leader was present. Ali had a ready-made answer for the President. He told him that the young man attended the event in his capacity as the Director of Youth Mobilisation of the campaign organisation and not as a member of NWC.

Shortly after the event, there were media reports that governors elected on the platform of the party had asked Muazu and his men to resign. When others opposed to the NWC still find it convenient to be hiding their identities, stakeholders like Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and Chief Olabode George had come out openly to make the call.

Not ready to take such, Muazu has said the era of use-and-dump in the party had gone for good. That was a modification of a statement he made before the election to the effect that monkey dey work, baboon dey chop must end in the PDP.

When those who were bent on seeing the end of the current NWC went to town with stories that the party chiefs shared elections money, the PDP spokesman, Olisa Metuh, spit fire. He attributed Jonathan’s loss to the hate campaign carried out by his campaigners. That was in tandem with my position in this column before the election. In that particular edition, I had written that there were too many cooks in the President’s electoral kitchen and that if they were not checked, their actions and utterances would affect the taste of the soup negatively. It did. They are all now being confronted with a sour soup.

Before that statement, Metuh had issued an earlier one in which he accused some unnamed persons close to the President as those who wanted NWC members sacked. Only God knows where the party spokesman is getting his effrontery from. I guess he must be capitalising on the fact that Jonathan will be powerless within the party from May 29.

Muazu too has been quoted as saying that Jonathan lost the election because of the activities of praise singers who he said misled the President. But Fayose claimed he has evidence to prove that the PDP chairman sold the party to the APC. With these revelations, it is glaring that party leaders have an idea of why they lost at the polls.

All these are confirmation of Jonathan’s recent statement in which he likened the last general elections to the nation’s civil war. He had said that just like there are different accounts of the war as written by those who should know, there are also different versions of what went wrong with the elections.

To cap it all, Jonathan had said that by virtue of his privileged position, he knew about the elections more than anybody else. My understanding of that statement is that the President knows those who worked for him and those who worked against him in the party. What I am not sure of is whether he will say a bit of what he knows about the election publicly in the nearest future or he will leave it to be included in his memoirs.

I hope some people who know that they may be indicted by the President’s revelation will not quickly run to the court to seek an order restraining him from saying what he knows (that we do not know) about the election. That is politicians’ style.

Jonathan is five!

Jonathan marked his fifth anniversary on Wednesday. Before you ask which Jonathan clocked five, the President did not mark his birthday, it was anniversary of when he became the nation’s number one citizen in substantive capacity.

Following the death of his boss, Umar Yar’Adua on May 5, 2010, Jonathan was sworn in as Yar’Adua’s replacement on the following day being May 6.

Jonathan only marked the anniversary with special Christian/ Muslim prayers at the commencement of the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday. If he had won the March 28 presidential election, maybe he would have marked the anniversary with fanfare. Friends, contractors and associates would have fallen on one another to place congratulatory adverts in the media. If he had won, some people would have popped champagne for this anniversary. If he had won, a giant cake would have been placed in strategic location for him to cut.

These are only “if and if.” The reality is that he lost his re-election and he is already looking beyond the Villa. For Jonathan, life continues even outside the seat of power.

– This Best Outside Opinion was written by Olalekan Adetayo/The Punch

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