…Still On Power Rotation and PDP

The leaders of the People’s Democratic Party seems to have reached a consensus that the zoning/power rotation agreement should be dumped. As expected, political jingoists have all jumped on the bandwagon. Anti-power rotation now seems to be flavour of the month in the PDP. Those who told us seven months ago that there’s no vacancy in Aso Rock, have suddenly become the arrowheads of the anti-rotation campaign.

Even members of the cabal who held sway during Yar’adua’s administration, engaging in all manners of public deception and manipulation in order to hold on to power have also now become Apostles of anti-zoning. 

It’s common knowledge that Nigerian masses have been so impoverished to the point that they now care less about the ethnic origin of their leaders. The underdevelopment has reached a point that, if the Constitution permits a foreigner to be President, and the masses can be guaranteed good quality of life, they will be more than happy to have him/her as President. The man on the street just wants to see food on the table. All he wants is decent healthcare, employment, good quality education and infrastructure. 

And it’s for these obvious reasons that anti-zoning have become a ‘populist’ idea. Unlike in the past, the political elites have realised that ethnic sentiments seems not to wash with the citizenry. The benefactors of the so-called power rotation even find it difficult to convince that man on the street, because it has offered him no value whatsoever. So the only option available is for them to join the bandwagon and spread the anti-rotation propaganda. They know full well that, it’s what the public wants to hear. 

But in all of this, we need to ask ourselves if all these Apostles and Evangelist of anti-rotation are really acting in the public interest. They may be telling us what we want to hear, but does that mean they have our interest at heart? 

Supporters of anti-rotation in the PDP fall broadly into two categories. There are those who want to use Goodluck Jonathan to rule the nation by proxy. They failed with Umaru Yar’Adua, because he wasn’t a stooge they expected him to be. A Goodluck Jonathan presidency therefore presents another opportunity for them to form their own ‘cabal’. These are ‘politically expired’ individuals who see Goodluck Jonathan presidency as the only way to become politically relevant once again. For them, it’s a ‘third term’ by proxy, as they can continue to rule the nation from Otta farm. 

The second group are those who have been subconsciously coerced into anti-rotation bandwagon. Left to them alone, they would rather keep rotating power. Members of this group have had their hands soiled in all manners of corrupt activities. They know their case files are still within reach of anti-corruption agencies. And with the return of the likes of Nuhu Ribadu, it’s in their own interest that they ‘fall in line’. Any show of dissent means their files will be dusted up very quickly. A case in point is the ongoing prosecution of the former PDP Chairman, Vincent Ogbulafor. 

And it’s only for this reason that the likes of Senator Jubril Aminu, who is currently facing investigation on his alleged role in the Siemens bribery scandal, can support anti-rotation. It is also the reason why ‘criminals’ like, former Attorney-General of the Federation, can say ‘zoning’ is unconstitutional.

Some may argue that power rotation is a PDP policy, so why waste precious time discussing an issue that has no place in our constitution. The truth is, we cannot afford to be oblivious to the fact that PDP remains the only dominant party in Nigeria’s polity. Like it or loathe it, it remains the only political party with a structure to win a presidential election. And whilst we may not all be card carrying members of PDP, any decision made by the party will inevitably have a huge impact on the nation’s political landscape. 

It’s now very obvious that Apostles of anti-rotation in the PDP are not doing the masses any favour. They are doing do so only to pave way for a Goodluck Jonathan presidency. They see a Goodluck Jonathan presidency as an opportunity to perpetuate themselves in power and exert their political influence. 

I have no issues with PDP’s plan to dump its rotation policy. However, any attempt to jettison the rotation policy must be done properly. As I noted in my last post, the rotation policy is more than a gentleman’s agreement as it is enshrined in the PDP constitution. It’s only when the PDP expunge Section 7(2)C from the party constitution that we will know that it is really serious about dumping power rotation. Until then, any attempt to disregard the policy in order to pave way for a supposed ‘anointed’ candidate come 2011, will only sweep the issue under the carpet. 

And unless the nation graduates from its current one-party political system to a level where we have formidable opposition parties, the issue of power rotation will remain with us for a long time. The attempt to sweep the matter under the carpet will only complicate things further in the future. 

If the status quo remains, Goodluck Jonathan will more than likely succeed in remaining in power beyond 2011. And unless the opposition gets its acts together, there’s the high likelihood he will rule for two terms until 2019 (except he does a Yar’Adua). But with Section 7(2) C still enshrined in the party constitution, the question is, what will happen after 2019?

Written by Seyi Osiyemi