Jonathan, 2015 and the North: Where Na’abba erred
BY Emeka Kanu-Nwapa –
Former House of Representatives Speaker, Alhaji Ghali Umar Na’Abba made headline news in an interview he granted Leadership Sunday Newspaper recently. He made certain remarks about President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration and concluded that the North may not vote him to power in 2015.
Ordinarily, his remarks would not have needed any commentary except the need to correct certain misrepresentations in the interview. By all accounts, the former speaker is entitled to his opinion as a fundamental right. However, to appropriate that right on behalf of others particularly those he described as Northerners instantly raises questions about legitimacy and authority.
It will be necessary here to recap Na’Abba’s contention which one is tempted to believe stems from a deep sense of disappointment over certain personal losses rather than some altruistic motives which he succeeded in bringing to the public fore in that interview.
For example, he said the North will not vote for Jonathan – 2015 because he did some wrong to the North:
“The way president Jonathan has been handling the party, there is a wide gap between him and Northerners, and I’m afraid that Northerners will not return him to power because he did lots of things wrong to the North. The feeling is very strong against him.”
It is difficult to put a finger on what the former speaker is saying here. In the first place, in what way is the President handling his party that has created a wide gap between him and Northerners? Does the party belong to only Northerners? What about other stakeholders from other geopolitical zones who cast their votes for the president in the 2011 presidential elections?
When Na’Abba accuses the president of committing wrong against the North, it would be helpful if he catalogues those wrongs for all to see. Are they hidden or open wrongs? What constitutes a wrong? Against which Northerners?
Hear Na’Abba again when asked if it will not be possible for President Jonathan to clinch a second term: “It is very possible because right now in the North, the feeling is that Jonathan is not worth voting for. People feel that most of the people who voted and supported him didn’t have the moral laxity to go and canvass for votes for Jonathan in the North. Those whose houses were burnt during the electoral violence have not been compensated. Lots of people do not have faith in him”.
It is now clear from the foregoing that Na’Abba’s grouse is that he lost his properties to the post-electoral violence. Is this anything close to any wrong committed by the President against the North? When he says lots of wrongs and lots of people, is he not merely playing on words to provoke sentiments against the president? It is sad, to say the least.
When Na’Abba says there is a strong feeling in the north against Jonathan, one begins to wonder how he came about the “strong feeling” and in whose North? Even when President Jonathan has not told anyone that he will contest in 2015, desperate politicians have been doing all sorts of things to stampede the president who has repeatedly declared that his preoccupation for now is to deliver on all his electoral promises. Is this not statesmanship on display?
It will be regrettable if the president or any of his political handlers succumb to such wicked pressures. It will even spell doom and disaster for the polity. It will be immoral and insensitive for people in the Presidency to begin to play politics now because it is the least important now. Expectations are high everywhere. As for the busy-body politicians, we will continue to ignore them lest they heat up the polity.
Na’Abba also said that the president assured them that he will give attention to agriculture and that as a Northerner he (Na’Abba) is very passionate about agriculture. It is germane to find out from Na’Abba whether the President gave this commitment at a private session convened by Na’Abba and his group or was it not at a campaign rally?
For the avoidance of doubt, the Jonathan administration has introduced ambitious policies to transform the nation’s agro sector and indeed all other sectors in a way to take the country back to its old days of glory before the advent of oil.
It may be difficult for the Na’Abba’s of this world to see the obvious gains and milestones so far, but the average farmer from Hadeja to Hong, from Abakaliki to Abeokuta and from Malumfashi to Makurdi are praying for this government for enunciating quality policies for the sectors.
In conclusion, Na’Abba was after all honest and sincere to admit that as a disciplined and committed party leader, he queued behind Jonathan during the campaigns and the election. Will it not therefore amount to unnecessary sabre-rattling if he continues to present himself as a “come-and-eat” politician which his frame of mind in that interview appeared to portray?
What many expect of people like him is to continue to support the present dispensation as a matter of morality and conviction. As a former Number Four citizen, he should not be seen to hold parochial and regional views particularly at this critical time when all hands are on desk to launch this country forward.
It is only by doing this that when light finally shines at the end of this dark tunnel, history will count him as one of those who dared to be different when it mattered most.
Emeka wrote in from Abuja.
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