An Agenda for the National Conference by Atiku Abubakar
I had publicly expressed reservations about the National Conference that has just been inaugurated by President Goodluck Jonathan, especially regarding its timing and whether the government has the capacity to manage the conference as well as the impending general election. The conference ought to have been convoked a long time ago so as to give enough time for the agreed outcomes of its deliberations to have the force of law, especially as some may require the arduous process of amending our constitution. It is also a conference that may inflame passions at a time of growing tensions in the country over the 2015 general election, governance and generalised insecurity in the land. The government’s goal and the legal framework of the conference are also not clear to me. However, I want to assume that a new and improved Nigeria is the goal.
Delegates have been selected and are in attendance. Deliberations are taking place and a report or reports will be prepared and submitted, which, at the very least, will become part of the public record.
Renewing Our Federalism
At the core of the calls for a National Conference of one type or the other has been the desire to renew our federalism, to make it work. Some have called it the national question; others call it restructuring. Obviously our federation is not working well. It has not worked well for a long time; indeed it is broken, and therefore, needs fixing.
Each delegate or delegation will have expectations of the outcomes of the conference, which may be different from those of others. But if Nigeria and Nigerians are placed first (and that is a big “if”), the outcome will be useful. If, however, as some suspect, the conference is intended to sidestep the constitutional requirement for general election in 2015 for some other arranged transitional contraption, then the fate of similar conferences in our recent memory will befall this one as well. Nigerians, including the conference delegates, must defend our constitution and our democracy.
It is critical to achieve some kind of national consensus on key issues that will help this country and our people. To me, the agenda should be limited to a few critical issues that need to be urgently addressed in order for us to adequately confront such development challenges as economic diversification, youth employment, security, education, and infrastructure. Therefore, the conference, in my view, should focus on the structure of relations among the tiers of government (local, state and federal) that would best ensure the optimal solution to these development challenges and deepening and securing our democracy. And many of the issues around this would not even require constitutional amendment.
Let us not waste time asking for what nobody will give. There are things we can easily agree on if only we are willing to listen to each other. And there is a need to start with what we can agree on and deal with more controversial issues later.
What We Can Agree On
A major reason why Nigeria is not working is the way we have structured our country and governance, especially since the emergence of military rule in 1966. We can agree that the federal government is too big, too rich, and too strong relative to the federating states. We can agree that there is too much centralisation of resources and concentration of power at the federal level.
Nigerians would not have been calling for a National Conference, sovereign or not, if we were meeting our people’s basic needs, including food, shelter, education, security, energy, and transportation infrastructure, if we were putting the country on the right path and every segment of the country feels equitably treated. And we would unlikely see people describing as a mistake the amalgamation of the northern and southern parts of Nigeria 100 years ago.
Therefore, many of our challenges are governance issues which can be tackled by a serious government committed to uplifting our people. To me then, the National Conference should design a political and governmental system that empowers local authorities and gives them greater autonomy to address peculiar local issues, and enhances accountability, while contributing to the general good of the country. Such a robust federal system would reduce the tensions that are built into our current over-centralised system. While the relationships among Nigeria’s ethnic and religious groups are important, the National Conference cannot expect to create a federating structure that coheres with our ethnic identities. Those identities are not only numerous but cross-cutting as well.
Although our regional arrangement in the First Republic was not perfect - and did have its tensions - it certainly made for more local autonomy and better quality governance than what we have today. Our current structure, which can best be described as “unitary federalism” (a contradiction in terms), was created under our military regimes in the context of rising ethnic tensions and violence, an unfortunate civil war and the sudden rise in revenues from crude oil rents.
As more power was concentrated in the centre, the federal government appropriated more resources and expanded its responsibilities. All of these were done in the name of promoting national unity. And the process was relatively easy as the unified command structure of the military ensured little opposition. Military governors/administrators in the states could not defend greater autonomy for their states against their commanders from the nation’s capital: they were merely on military posting.
Therefore, fixing Nigeria, to me, will require reversing decades of over-centralisation of power and over-concentration of resources at the centre. That is, it requires federal retreat or a degree of retrenchment of the federal government. The features will include:
i. Fiscal federalism (which allows the component states to keep their resources but allows the federal government taxing powers)
ii. Devolution of powers to states and local governments (e.g. state and local control of education, health, roads and other infrastructure)
iii. State and local police to augment the federal police (with clearly defined roles and jurisdictions)
iv. Independence of key democratic institutions, security and anti-corruption agencies.
We need to eschew emotions and knee-jerk reactions and examine these issues critically. As is to be expected, interests have been formed and entrenched so that calls for devolution and decentralisation (mostly from the south) have been met with very strident opposition (mostly from the north). It is as though the over-centralisation of power and concentration of resources in the federal government benefit the north more than the south. Nothing can be further from the truth. In my view, and the evidence is there for all to see, the excessive dominance of the federal government has been detrimental to the development aspirations of all sections of this country. It is precisely why we now rely almost exclusively on oil revenues, which come mainly from a small section of the country. It is what has, by extension, killed our agriculture, local control of schools, and promoted corruption that has eroded the quality of our public and even private institutions.
I come from the north, and I can tell you that government’s reliance on oil revenues has virtually destroyed the economy of the north, and no part of Nigeria has been left unaffected. I readily acknowledge the role of oil revenues in expanding our infrastructure such as schools, roads and irrigation facilities. However, were oil prices to suddenly drop significantly, the country, every part of the country, will be in even more serious trouble than we are today.
Yet this is a country which, while I was growing up, had federating units that were able to send their children to school, build roads, universities, ports, factories, farm settlements, etc. I had all my formal education in northern Nigeria and it was the Native Authority and regional government that funded it, even paid me to go to school. Three of the first generation universities, UNN, ABU and OAU were built by the then regional governments.
We must stop assuming that anyone calling for the restructuring of our federation is working for the breakup of the country. And the notion that over-centralisation and an excessively powerful centre is equivalent to national unity is false. If anything, it has made our unity more fragile and our government more unstable. We must renegotiate our union in order to make it stronger. Greater autonomy, power and resources for states and local authorities will unleash our people’s creative energies and spur more development. It will help with improving security. It will help give the federating units and the local governments greater freedom and flexibility to address local issues, priorities and peculiarities. It will promote healthy rivalries among the federating units and local authorities. It will help make us richer and stronger as a nation.
In addition to devolution of powers from the centre, the conference should also examine the wisdom of retaining the current 36-state structure. In place of the current structure of states that are too weak and hardly viable, we should revisit Dr Alex Ekwueme’s proposal during the 1994-95 Constitutional Conference for the country to adopt the six geo-political zones as the federating units. I acknowledge that I was one of those who opposed Ekwueme’s proposal at the time in the mistaken belief that he wanted to break up the country. Let us consider restructuring our federation on the basis of the current six geo-political zones as regions and the states as provinces.
Let us look at our First Republic Constitution for guidance. It is a constitution that resulted from hard bargaining among our leaders then, leaders whom no one would accuse of lacking in patriotism or developmental zeal. Let us look at our history, for example the history of our education management and social provisioning in the First Republic and compare that with the current situation. Let us also look at other working federations around the world such as the United States, Canada, and India. What we will learn from them is that states or provinces and local municipalities have greater autonomy over their resources, development choices, and wage structures, among other things. There is no reason for the governor of Lagos State to earn the same salary as the Governor of Kogi State or for a teacher in Mubi to earn the same salary as the one in Abuja or Port Harcourt, given the widely varying costs of living, productivity and revenue generating capacities across the country.
In a nutshell, the national conference should produce proposals that enable us have a smaller, leaner federal government with reduced responsibilities, a tax-focused revenue base, and a true federal system with greater autonomy for the component states and localities to control their revenues and their development.
Let me also add that even if, through the work of the national conference, we are able to restructure and renew our federalism, Nigerians have a responsibility to elect leaders who will keep faith with the new reality and hold those leaders accountable. Obviously, that requires genuine electoral reform largely along the lines recommended by the Justice Mohammed Uwais Committee on electoral reform.
I wish the distinguished delegates fruitful deliberations.
•Atiku Abubakar, former vice-president, Federal Republic of Nigeria. One time presidental candidate and a member of All Progressives Congress (APC), who maybe nursing a presidential ambition.
A Press Statement by Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President of Nigeria as he joins and declares for APC, ALL Progressive Congress.
In 2006, as a result of my firm stand in defence of our constitution and our democracy, my supporters and I were pushed out of our party, the Peoples Democratic Party, a party that we worked tirelessly with other compatriots to build as a vehicle to restore democracy to our country. We later returned to that party in 2009 when a new leadership of the party and the country promised a new direction, a direction of inclusiveness, of internal democracy, of an end to impunity, adherence to the rule of law and respect for the dignity of members and Nigerians.
Sadly, however, those promises have not been kept. In addition, the PDP continues to be beset with many crises, mostly leadership-induced crises. It has since lost touch with Nigerians and efforts made by many well-meaning members and stakeholders to bring it back to the vision of the founders have been rebuffed. To demonstrate the seriousness of the challenges and bring public attention to it I and some other leaders and stakeholders staged a walkout during the party’s last convention in Abuja.
As I speak, most of the issues that led to that walk-out are yet to be addressed. Many founding members of the PDP, I included, continue to be marginalized and excluded from the affairs of the party. For instance as a former Vice President, I am by virtue of the PDP constitution, a member of the party’s Board of Trustees and its National Executive Committee. However, I am not invited to the meetings of those organs nor consulted on their decisions, apparently because I dared to exercise my right to contest in the party’s primary election for a chance to be its flag-bearer in the 2011 elections. We have, therefore, concluded that that party cannot be redeemed. In short the PDP has abandoned Nigerians, the very people who gave it life and many electoral victories.
More worrisome though is the danger posed to the continued existence of this country by this culture of impunity and arbitrariness. We continue to have threats from officially protected political extremists. Increasingly our people are recklessly being divided along the lines of religion, ethnicity and region for political gains. Our history and that of many other countries in Africa and Eastern Europe ought to teach us that this is very dangerous and must stop.
We can and we must do better. Our people deserve better.
It is against this background that we should understand the visit by the leaders of the APC and their invitation to me to join hands with them to save the country. Consequently, I have been consulting my supporters and associates, my family and friends for the past few weeks. My decision may not satisfy some of my friends and associates. In the end, however, I have to put the interest of our country first. This country has done so much for me personally and it deserves all that we can do to help rebuild it and serve our people better.
Following this extensive consultative process, I have, therefore, decided to cast my lot with the APC, a party of changecommitted to the improvement of the lives of our people and to the continued existence and development of Nigeria as one indivisible country. My resignation letter as a member of the PDP will be delivered to the party tomorrow.
This is the right decision. As in 2006 it is the struggle for democracy and constitutionalism and service to my country and my people that are driving my choice and my decision. Let me emphasize that this is not about me. We have to have a country before people can aspire to lead it, but as it is today we may be losing this country. That is not acceptable.
I encourage my political associates and friends to register andjoin the APC once the registration exercise commences, so that together we can change this country for the better.
The process of building a nation, of securing and deepening democracy is indeed difficult. And it is not a lineal process. There would be alignment and realignment of political forces. There would be ups and downs and zig-zags, triumphs and challenges. Amidst all that, patriots must remain focused and do what has to be done to save and build the country and serve our people better.
That is what I have decided to do. I will do all within my God-given powers to help the APC win elections all over Nigeria and bring true change to our country and its long-suffering people.
Thank you and God bless Nigeria.
Atiku Abubakar, GCON
Former Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria.
As the former Vice-President of Nigeria, I am deeply pained by the latest surge of violence and the aggressive approach taken by terrorists operating in our country. I am greatly concerned that the Northern region, to which the people of Nigeria and the sub-continent have flocked for centuries, has now become associated with routine, highly organised violent attacks on innocents.
There is a great need by both local and international stakeholders to better understand the dynamics behind such senseless killing especially when many Northern elders, politicians, and clerics who have spoken out against these senseless acts of violence have lost their lives.
Furthermore, businesses in the North are shutting down or moving South; some forced to relocate away from sensitive areas. Extremely disturbing are reports that the few factories in the North that had previously continued to brave historically high production and energy costs, have, as a result of the violence, cut their operations in half or completely shut down. The unprecedented economic cost, however, does not even begin to reflect the social and psychological costs of the violence.
I am deeply worried that while there has been a marked drop in bomb attacks on churches and some reduction in the violence in the North-east, there remains an under-reported escalation in the terrorist activity for residents of commercial centres such as Kano and Maiduguri.
The dire situation is marked by the unprecedented attacks on royal fathers, the unspeakable murder of vaccination teams and foreign doctors in Kano and Potiskum and the tragic slaughter of seven foreigners abducted in Bauchi in late February.
My sorrow extends to the families of the hundreds of the dead, the orphaned, widowed and wounded in atrocities such as last week’s suicide attacks on a major Kano bus station, as well as of the many defenceless who continue to be murdered in Kano and Maiduguri streets by gun wielding ‘men’.
No amount of poverty, joblessness or personal distress can possibly justify such coldblooded, organised murder of fellow helpless human beings.
I wish to call for a deeper inquiry into the actual motivation driving the actions of these criminals as well as an exploration of options and conditions other than the use of force or dragnet arrests.
In addition to a descent into more wanton, irrational attacks on innocents, the worsening levels of kidnapping, armed robbery, marine piracy and other crimes, around the country indicate a need for more effective deployment of scarce security resources.
In the process of identifying the perpetrators, I will continue to counsel against the shameful and disheartening rush to judgment based on ethnic, regional or religious hatred rather than on concrete and verifiable evidence.
I am alarmed at the persistence of innuendo and unsubstantiated pronouncements by high officials of state against Northerners and whole communities.
I have therefore called on all Nigerians to reject the repeated appeal to parochialism and incitement of hatred by the terrorists and others - to create a unified voice against the violence that is destroying our lives.
I call on the Nigerian government to heed the words of security experts, scholars and academics as well as international friends of Nigeria. They have routinely advised for a more holistic and transparent approach to dealing with Nigeria’s ‘home grown’ insurgency.
Continuing down the current road may yield short-term results as suspects are killed or contained but the lack of transparency amongst our security organisations continues to undermine any confidence that the long-term interests of all Nigerians are being served.
The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria declares very clearly that the welfare and security of the people is the responsibility of the Federal Government. However, the government seems to prefer to denigrate even the smallest glimmer of hope for any form of negotiated solution, with or without conditions that appear. Powerful and bloodthirsty interests seem intent on maintaining the current state of affairs.
It is incumbent upon all of us in positions of leadership to explore additional options that are comprised of thoughtful and constructive mechanisms for bringing an end to the slaughter. Any such solutions should I believe, seek to discourage a culture of impunity for wanton killings and the spilling of innocent blood on all sides.
In addition to the state’s responsibility to its citizens, the Nigerian people have responsibilities to each other. This is what has made the Nigerian family strong. Nigerians must not lose sight of this enduring fact: that despite the challenges, our future as one united country filled with hope, opportunity and compassion for each other is possible.
*Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Turaki Adamawa, former vice-president of Nigeria. He served under President Obasanjo for two terms.
The Peoples Democratic Party will hold its historic presidential primaries next Thursday in Abuja, during which the two leading contenders for the party's ticket will engage in an unprecedented slugfest as they try to secure the votes of the delegates at the national convention. NDUKA NWOSU and YEMI ADEBOWALE highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the chief antagonists at the contest â€“ President Goodluck Jonathan and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as they prepare for the battle of their lives
Dr Goodluck Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan, 53, was born in Otueke, in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State to a family of canoe makers. He holds a B.Sc. degree in Zoology, an M.Sc. degree in Hydrobiology and Fisheries Biology and a Ph.D. degree in Zoology from the University of Port Harcourt. After obtaining his degree, he like Atiku, worked briefly with the Customs as a Preventive Officer and later as an education inspector, lecturer, and environmental-protection officer, With the creation of the Oil minerals Producing Areas Development Commission, OMPADEC, in October 1992, Dr. Jonathan was called to serve as Assistant Director, Ecology, in March 1993 in the Directorate of Environmental Protection Sub-Department of the Commission. He performed creditably in that capacity, until he voluntarily left the services of the Commission in 1998.
Not much was known of him until in 1998 when he joined the People's Democratic Party (PDP), and was picked as a running mate to the party's gubernatorial standard bearer in Balysea State, Chief Diepreye Alamieysegha, who often referred to him as his brother.
He was Bayelsa State's deputy governor between 1999 and 2006. He later served as governor of the state between 2006-2007 after the impeachment of the then governor Diepreye Alameseigha. He emerged vice president in 2007 and later became president in May 2007 after the death of Umaru Yarâ€™Adua. If elected president, Jonathan has promised to, amongst others, consolidate a proactive peace and security programme for the country, as well as a private sector-led and government-supported/regulated electric power development, deepen and coordinate an accelerated, transparent Niger Delta development programme; provide quality education and implement major reforms in agriculture through innovative financing and land ownership.
As the sitting President, Goodluck Jonathan enjoys the advantage of the numerous presidential powers at his disposal. He approves the citing of projects and key appointments in ministries, departments and agencies. He can strike voting deals with these appointees. For example, he could use his power to cite federal projects in different parts of the country giving him a competitive edge. He recently approved the establishment of federal universities in six states across the six geo-political zones. Many saw this as a political master-stroke.
He can easily strike voting deals with state governors and delegates that want such federal projects in their areas. President Jonathan also controls ministries, numerous federal departments and agencies. If he deploys them fully, it would give him considerable advantage over his opponents at the primaries. Heads of such federal departments and agencies would be happy to work for the presidentâ€™s victory even without being told to do so, in order to retain their positions. Heads of wealthy agencies, could, for example, indirectly mobilise funds for the presidentâ€™s aspiration through contractors and presidential waivers. A case in point was the recent waiver granted by the Ministry of Finance to a non-rice importer to import 500,000 metric tonnes of rice into the country. The savings generated from the project amounting to about N20 billion is believed to have been diverted to the Jonathan campaign as a slush fund. Security agencies such as the police and State Security Service can also be subtly used to Jonathanâ€™s advantage.
Jonathan has in the last eight months shown that he is a man that could be trusted by Nigerians. He has been going about his job in a simple and humble manner, devoid of scandals. This is expected to work to his advantage at the primary. Numerous examples of his trustworthiness abound. During the days of late President Umaru Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s sickness, Jonathan remained loyal to the end despite pressure to pull the rug from Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s feet. His interaction with former United States envoy, Robin Sanders on the crisis recently leaked by WeakiLeaks, further confirms Jonathanâ€™s honesty and credibility.
Katsina State Governor Ibrahim Shema in a recent interview reiterated that Jonathan was an honest and trustworthy person as seen by his loyalty to late Yarâ€™Adua. Again, when he became the substantive president in May, Jonathan promised to overhaul INEC and engage a credible and non-partisan chairman. This, he did with the appointment of Attahiru Jega, seen by many as capable of conducting credible polls in Nigeria. Several government departments and agencies without substantive boards/management staff have been reconstituted as promised by Jonathan. The reform of the power sector is also back on track as promised with the reconstitution of the board of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.
At Home with Governors
Jonathan is familiar with the current set of PDP governors who are expected to lead state delegates to the presidential primary. No doubt, the governors equally have confidence in him. This must have accounted for his endorsement by 22 of the 27 PDP governors. This is expected to work to his advantage next week.
Considerable War Chest
Money will definitely not be a problem to the Jonathan campaign organisation at the presidential primary. His massive media campaign testifies to this. Jonathan will be attending the primary with a huge war chest. His backing by numerous business moguls such as Mike Adenuga, the Vaswani brothers, Aliko Dangote, Femi Otedola, Jimoh Ibrahim, Noel Ojei, Jide Omokore and Samad Rabiu is a testimony that cash will not be a problem. This does not include several other pro-Jonathan groups that have raised funds for his campaign. Indeed, he now has an excess of it. During a recent fund-raising dinner in Abuja, over one billion naira was raised within minutes. It could have been more, but for the need not to breach the electoral law limiting contributions to candidates. Of course, business moguls are believed to be contributing billions of naira under the radar to the campaign of Jonathan.
Support for Jonathan from the South-south, South-east, North-central, South-west, and to some extent, the North-west, has been massive and unalloyed. He will be attending the primary with largely united zones behind him. Majority of the governors in the region are solidly behind him and have openly shown this. This is expected to be a plus at the primary.
Perceived as Weak and Indecisive
Jonathan is perceived as a weak and indecisive leader by some Nigerians and this may work against him at the primary. Critics readily point to his inability to deal with the cabal that held the nation to ransom during the Yar'Adua sickness saga. His failure to nip in the bud the strike by the NLC over the minimum wage demand was a serious minus for him; his inability to deal with electricity workersâ€™ intransigence over power reform; and the insecurity in the country as shown by persistent terrorist attacks are also cited by critics as evidence of his weakness.
The Rotation Question
Some PDP members argue that Jonathan is not qualified to contest because of the rotation policy of the party. They say a candidate from the north ought to complete the second four-year term of the north before power shifts to the South. Atiku, Jonathanâ€™s key opponent in the primary, has latched on to this. They portray him as a man without regard for agreements. Perhaps, some delegates may be swayed by this argument.
Eight months on, there are still no significant signs of economic recovery in the country. Many hold Jonathan responsible for this and this can work against him at the primary. They think his economic managers, barring the Central Bank governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, are incompetent. Industries are still operating miles below installed capacity; electricity supply is still erratic while roads across the nation are still in shambles. However, some others say nine months is too short a period to judge the president on the economy.
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar
A retired Customs officer, consummate politician, and dogged fighter, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar was one of the followers of the late General Shehu Yar'Adua, founder of the Patriotic Front (PF), and was very actively involved in the formation of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) through the Peoples Democratic Movement led by Yarâ€™Adua. Using the same PDM structures, Atiku with a number of notable individuals, was a critical arrowhead in the formation of the Peoples Democratic Party.
During the Jos Convention in 1993, his mentor Yar'Adua asked him and Babagana Kingibe to step down for Alhaji Moshood Abiola, the eventual flag bearer of the SDP. All this happened while Atiku was learning the ropes which in 1998 positioned him as a leading light of the PDP, providing the PDM structure for the presidential campaign of the PDP flag bearer retired General Olusegun Obasanjo. He was waiting to be sworn in as the governor of Adamawa State when President-elect Obasanjo chose him as his running mate.
He ended his tenure as vice president fighting his boss who had lost confidence in him for allegedly conspiring with the state governors to deny him his second term bid. The protracted fight saw him losing relevance as vice president, being hounded out of the PDP, and spending millions at the courts to contest the 2007 presidential election on the platform of the rival Action Congress party.
Deep War Chest
Alhaji Atiku is curently famed as the presidential candidate hopeful to have devoted a deep war chest which no individual in Nigeria's political history can boast of. He had openly declared that the difference between him and President Goodluck Jonathan was his ability to meet the delegates for the national congress of his party, one on one. Only recently some of the candidates from the South-west berated the party leadership for not seeking their opinion before declaring they were going to vote for Jonathan, and this was shortly after meeting Candidate Atiku. Also, the Enugu State House of Assembly was reported to have endorsed Atiku for the on-coming slug fest with Jonathan.
Pro-active Campaign Organisation
Atiku'ss campaign organisation has been adjudged to be so well co-ordinated that even when he was out of the public glare, he kept his vision alive through constant media exposure and visible commentary from that community, a pact he created when as vice president many felt he was being persecuted unjustly by his boss plus his use of the courts to fight back.
Crusader for Constitutionality/Rule of Law
His fight against President Obasanjo and the PDP on core issues of the constitution and the rule of law using the courts, established him as the modern day democrat who has struggled to ensure that the system works in practical terms.
Wide Network of Friends and Associates
He is reputed to have a wide network of friends and associates who are currently rallying round him to make his dream of becoming president come true.
Support from Certain Sections of the North
Atiku carries the emblem of the Northern Leaders Political Forum (NPLF), the old Kaduna Mafia and the grassroots membership of the defunct PDM, all of which suggest he is the candidate of the old Northern establishment.
The former vice president is adjudged to be too desperate for power to the extent he is ready to spend a princely fortune for an individual to get there. His unguarded utterances have turned a source of criticism against him at a time violence, widespread mayhem, and bombings have become the order of the day. Quoting Franz Fanon, he recently said: â€œLet me again send another message to the leadership of this nation, particularly the political leadership, that those who make peaceful changes impossible make violent changes inevitable.â€ His statement incurred the wrath of the public which is growing tired of constant threats from Atiku and the NPLF big wigs.
As vice president in his first term, Alhaji Atiku openly struggled to wrest power from his boss who begged him profusely to allow him contest for a second term, employing the help of Northern traditional rulers. Subsequently, the duo busied themselves using the media to expose their dirty linen in office while Atiku was denied his bid to succeed Obasanjo as president. He left PDP to join the Action Congress as its presidential candidate even as a PDP installed vice president. He has since left the Action Congress back to PDP where he believes the chances are brighter to actualise his dream and may leave the PDP for another party if he fails to clinch the ticket.
Atiku's critics point to the fact that he has many corruption cases, the likes of former EFCC boss Nuhu Ribadu was pursuing, prompted by his boss Obasanjo, and that after the three had left office, he is still being haunted by mention, directly or indirectly, of corrupt practices in far away USA. The PTDF expose between him and Obasanjo was a live issue at the time. His stupendous wealth either as a civil servant or as a politician/vice president carries a question mark.
Atiku is seen as the modern breed of clannish politics because of his emergence and principles in the current dispensation. While Jonathan's advertorials call for a consensus Nigerian candidate, the contrast bespeaks of a Northern consensus candidate, to drive the matter to the fore.
In Nigerian politics, it is hardly heard of that an incumbent was defeated at the polls. The power of incumbency is not in Atiku's favour. As vice president, it would have been easier for him to achieve his dreams, had he been in the good books of Obasanjo as it was in his first three to four years in office.
Unknown to Incumbent State Executives (Governors)
During his tenure as vice president, Alhaji Atiku was the darling of state chief executives most of whom worked with him to ensure that Obasanjo was denied a second term bid and stopped from perpetuating himself in office using the Third Term project. He was the most favoured with former Vice President Alex Ekwueme and largely touted as the next possible candidate in 2003. With the present dispensation of governors, 22 of whom have endorsed Jonathan, he is an alien visitor. To them he is an unknown factor and this includes his stateâ€™s chief executive Murtala Nyako with whom he has a fractious relationship.
Weak Home Base
Atiku and his state governor as well as the PDP Adamawa State chapter, seem to move at variance among themselves. Even his successor and follower Bori Haruna was rated as a non-achiever while in office.
Likely Voting Pattern by Delegates
As the presidential primary of the Peoples Democratic Party looms, CHUKS OKOCHA reviews the number of delegates that will take part in the convention of the party and how they will most likely vote on that day
The south will contribute some 39 percent of the delegates to the party's primary next Thursday
Abia State: The estimated number of delegates stands at about 89 which include the governor and his deputy, three senators and six members of the House of Representatives, eighteen members of the State House of Assembly, 19 local government chairmen and 19 delegates. The state was formerly under the control of the Peoples Progressive Alliance before the governorâ€™s defection to first the All Peoples Grand Alliance and later the PDP with all members of the state and federal legislature. The governor Theodore Orji appears to have a strong grip on the party structures and delegates in the state. He is an unabashed Jonathan loyalist.
Verdict: Jonathan will get most of the votes of Abia delegates.
Enugu State: Enugu State has 94 delegates inclusive of the governor his deputy, three senators and eight members of the House of Representatives, 24 members of the State House of Assembly, seventeen local government chairmen and 17 national delegates. It is too close to call because the State House of Assembly has separately pledged loyalty to both Atiku and Jonathan. The face off between Governor Sullivan Chime led faction and the Nwodo faction, could affect the voting pattern in the state.
Verdict: Too close to call.
Anambra State: This state is governed by an APGA governor. It is expected to have about 81 delegates, but nine members of the House of Representatives have defected to either the Action Congress of Nigeria or APGA. Also one of the three senators has joined the ACN. This has reduced the number of delegates to almost less that 70. The influence of the former governor of Central Bank, Prof. Charles Soludo is considerable in the state, as he is a staunch supporter of Atiku. His other kinsmen, including the former Vice President, Alex Ekwueme are also Atiku backers. The state is still left for grabs by either of the aspirants.
Verdict: Too close to call.
Ebonyi State: The governor is the zonal coordinator of the Jonathan/Sambo Presidential Campaigns. The former governor, Dr. Sam Egwu is however pro-Atiku. The estimated delegatesâ€™ number is about 71, comprising three senators, six members of the House of Representatives, 20 members of the State House of Assembly, and 13 local government chairmen. If the governor wields the big stick as he has done to stop Atiku from coming to the state to campaign and meeting the members of the State House of Assembly, then it is a Jonathan state. But the former governor, Sam Egwu still has considerable influence in the state.
Verdict: Jonathan will most likely take the state
Imo State: The governor is a PDP member and a known supporter of Jonathan, following the pledge made so far to deliver the delegates to Jonathan en bloc. Imo has estimated delegate strength of 114 comprising of 26 members of the House of Assembly, 27 local government chairmen, three senators, the governor and deputy, members of the Board of Trustees, and 27 national delegates. If the permutations are anything to go by, this is a Jonathan state.
Verdict: Over 80 percent of the delegates will vote for Jonathan.
Rivers State: The governor and the deputy are automatic delegates. The total number of estimated delegates is 112 comprising three senators, 13 members of the House of Representatives, 32 members of the State House of Assembly, 22 local government chairmen and 22 national delegates. As part of the â€œson of the soilâ€ syndrome, the state will vote at least 75 percent for Jonathan. Though, in politics, any thing can still happen. Rivers state like other South-south states will massively vote for Jonathan.
Verdict: Jonathan will secure the votes of the delegates in Rivers State.
Akwa Ibom State: The delegate strength of the state is estimated at some 115, comprising the governor and his deputy, three Senators, eight members of the House of Representatives, 26 members of the State House of Assembly. It has also 31 local government chairmen, one Board of Trustees member, one national vice chairman and 31 national delegates. The governor, Godswill Akpabio is a staunch loyalist of the incumbent president and has the party structures firmly under his control.
Verdict: This is a sure banker for Jonathan.
Cross River State: The governor and his deputy are delegates. The estimated delegate strength is about 94 comprising three senators, eight members of the House of Representatives, 21 members of the State Assembly, nineteen local government chairmen, nineteen national delegates and others. The governor is the zonal coordinator of the Jonathan Campaign Organisation. If the permutations are anything to go by, one can say, this is a Jonathan state.
Verdict: Cross River is a no go area for Atiku; Jonathan will sweep the stateâ€™s delegates.
Bayelsa: This is the home state of the president. He is a delegate. The delegate strength is about 57, comprising the governor and his deputy, three senators, five members of the House of Representatives, twenty members of the State House of Assembly. Other delegates are eight local government chairmen and eight national delegates. The governor has been trying hard to convince the president that he is in support of his (Jonathan) candidacy. In this regard, he will do everything possible under the sun to ensure that all the delegates are Jonathanâ€™s, especially now that governors are basking in the automatic ticket euphoria.
Verdict is clear: The home state of the president cannot afford to disappoint and therefore, Jonathan should sleep with his two eyes closed.
Delta State: The euphoria of the visit of President Jonathan campaigning for the re-election of Governor Emmaneul Uduaghan is good enough for pay back time. With a delegate strength of about 113, comprising the governor and his deputy, two senators (one has defected to the ACN), ten members of the House of Representatives, 29 State Assembly members, 25 local government chairmen, and 25 national delegates, it is extremely likely that the delegates of Delta will vote for Jonathan. This will get a boost with early results from the stateâ€™s re-run showing that Uduaghan has a comfortable lead over his main rival Great Ogboru.
Verdict: President Jonathan will take the state.
Edo State: Though governed by the ACN, this is the home state of â€˜Mr. Fix itâ€™, Chief Anthony Anenih. The state has a delegate strength of 66, comprising three senators, and five members of the House of Representatives (it ought to be seven, but two members have defected). The PDP State Assembly membership has also been depleted due to defection to the ACN. But with 18 local government chairmen and national delegates, Anenih is expected to deliver his state to Jonathan.
Verdict: Jonathan by a narrow margin.
Ogun State: The governor and his deputy are automatic delegates. The state has approximately 104 delegates. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is an automatic delegate by virtue of being the chairman of the BoT of the party. The three senators and nine members of the House of Representatives are automatic delegates with the 26 members of the State Assembly. The governor is the zonal chairman of the Jonathan Campaign Organisation in the South-west. All things being equal and following the pledge by the governor to deliver the state during the Jonathanâ€™s declaration and subsequent pledges, it is easy to say that the delegates will vote en masse for the president. This is irrespective of the factional crisis tearing the state apart.
Verdict: At least 75 percent of the delegates will vote for Jonathan.
Oyo State: This is too close to call, though Atiku is expected to make an impact. However, the governor and his deputy are staunch Jonathan men. The governor recently donated more than 64 vehicles to complement the Jonathan campaign. The delegate strength is about 153, comprising two senators. The senate leader Tesilim Folarin may not be able to vote, because he is in prison custody over allegations of murder and conspiracy to commit murder following the death of Lateef Salako (Eleweomo). Other delegates are 20 members of the House of Representatives, 25 members of the State Assembly, and 33 national delegates and local government chairmen. However, any thing can happen due to the factional crisis rocking the state.
Verdict: All things being equal, Jonathan will carry the day.
Lagos State: This is an ACN controlled state. The delegate strength is a mere 69. With twenty local government party chairmen, and 20 national delegates, among others, any thing can happen. Here, Atiku has made a strong showing.
Verdict: Too close to call.
Osun State: Though the governor and deputy have been removed and an ACN governor is in charge, the delegate strength was only reduced by two from 92. It ought to have been 122, but the court nullified the election of 31 local government chairmen. This is a big minus for the state in terms of the number of delegates that can participate in the primary. However, there are still three senators, 16 members of the House of Representatives, and 31 national delegates. The stateâ€™s PDP members, nonetheless, have pledged to support Jonathan.
Verdict: Jonathan will still have an upper hand.
Ekiti and Ondo States are in the hands of the opposition political parties, Labour Party and ACN, but are dominated in the House of Representatives and state houses of assembly by PDP members. Both states have a delegate strength of more than 150. It is uncertain where the delegates from both states would cast their votes, because in spite of the pledge by the zone to support Atiku, some delegates recently assured Atiku of their support, making it any bodyâ€™s game. Without a leader in the form of a governor, both states are like sheep without a shepherd. Any thing could happen.
Verdict: For Ekiti and Ondo, it is too close to call.
In the north, statistics show that the 19 northern states will contribute about 61 percent of the PDP delegates in the presidential primary election
Kwara State: The state is a PDP state with an estimated delegate strength of 86, which comprises the governor, the deputy, three senators, six members of the House of Representatives, 24 State House of Assembly members, 15 elected state chairmen, 15 national delegates, BoT members, and the National Secretary, among others. However, with the recent decamping of the strong man of Kwara politics, Dr. Olusola Saraki, it is doubtful that all the statutory delegates will remain the same. It is not known the number of State House of Assembly and elected council chairmen that decamped with the elder Saraki. Even at that, it is still difficult to predict where Jonathan will get a substantial number of delegates. This is because the governor, who controls the party structures, is a proponent of a northern presidency.
Verdict: Atiku will most like secure most of the delegatesâ€™ votes from Kwara
Kogi State: The governor and his deputy are delegates. Besides, Governor Ibrahim Idris is one governor that has continuously pledged his support for Jonathan. The delegate strength of the state is 96 with three senators, seven members of the House of Representatives, 24 State Assembly members, 21 elected council chairmen and 21 national delegates. If we are to go by the pledge of the governor, this should be a Jonathan state. Other party stalwarts led by former national chairman of the PDP, Dr. Ahmadu Ali are also Jonathan backers.
Verdict: Jonathan will comfortably win the state.
Benue State: The governor of the state is the zonal coordinator of the Jonathan/Sambo Presidential Campaign Organisation. He recently was among the governors that boosted the campaign war chest with N500 million. Benue has a delegate strength of 117, comprising the governor and his deputy, ten House of Representatives members, 27 state legislators, 23 elected local government chairmen, and 23 national delegates.
Verdict: Jonathan will get the votes of Benue delegates.
Nasarawa State: The governor is an ardent supporter of President Jonathan, but it is not certain if he controls the political structures like other governors. The delegate strength is 68 with three senators, four members of the House of Representatives, 20 state legislators, 20 elected council chairmen, and 20 national delegates.
Verdict: Jonathan will get the votes of a majority of delegates from Nasarawa.
Plateau State: Though Governor Jonah Jang has pledged his support for Jonathan, due to internal political wrangling, it is not clear if all the delegates will be available for the presidential primary of the party in Abuja, as some of them who were not favoured in the partyâ€™s sharing formula are planning a defection to another party. The state has an estimated delegate strength of 82 with three senators (some plan to leave the party), and six House of Representatives members. The likes of Yahaya Kwande and Saleh Hassan are still in support of a northern president, but Solomon Lar and his allies are rooting for Jonathan. The state is seen as a strong base for Atiku, but it would be politically naive to give the state to the former vice president. Jonathan will certainly make a strong showing in the state because of the support of the governor.
Verdict: Jonathan will secure victory with a slim margin.
Niger State: The governor who is a close supporter of General Ibrahim Babangida and is the chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, recently made a u-turn to pledge support for Jonathan. However, General Babangida is the lord of the manor in the state. Niger State has an estimated delegate strength of 106, comprising the governor and his deputy, three senators, seven members of the House of Representatives, 25 state legislators, 25 national delegates, and 25 elected council chairmen. Despite the volte face by the governor, it is still too early in the day to give Jonathan a clear victory in the state. Atiku with the support of General Babangida will most likely make an impact in the state.
Verdict: Too close to call.
The Federal Capital Territory: The territory has the least number of delegates. Estimated delegate strength is 22, made up of one senator, two House of Representatives members, and four council chairmen. With the influence of the FCT minister, delegates are certain to vote for Jonathan.
Verdict: Jonathan will take the FCT.
Sokoto State: The governor because of political calculations moved his support to Jonathan recently, but it is not certain if he should be taken seriously, because the state is the seat of the caliphate and champion of the northern presidency. It has an estimated delegate strength of 93, but there is a lot of political undercurrent that could determine where the votes would go.
Verdict: Jonathan may eke out a slim win.
Zamfara State: A latter day convert to PDP and an in-law to General Babangida, the apostle for northern presidency, Governor Mahmud Shinkafi was among the northern governors that pledged support for Jonathan. The stateâ€™s delegate strength is estimated at 70 with the governor and deputy, two senators, five members of the House of Representatives, 16 state legislators, and 16 delegates. All the political heavy weights in the state are rooting for a northern presidency. However, it is uncertain if they will support an Atiku presidency.
Verdict: Zamfara is too close to call.
Kaduna State: Owing to the influence of the vice president and the governor, this is a Jonathan state. It has an estimated delegate strength of 116.
Verdict: Irrespective of the clamour for a northern president, Kaduna will vote for Jonathan.
Katsina State: The governor is the zonal coordinator of the Jonathan/Sambo campaign. He was among the governors that donated N500 million for the support of the president. But most of the stateâ€™s political heavy weights are not with him. He has not been able to summon a meeting of the states under his zone to muster support for Jonathan. But he has severally pledged his support for Jonathan. With an estimated delegate strength of 159, comprising three senators, 15 House of Representatives members, 34 state legislators, 34 national delegates, and elected council chairmen, it is not certain that Atiku will be able to secure a majority win in Katsina.
Verdict: Jonathan will win narrowly.
Jigawa State: The governor and his deputy are playing political games with the northern presidency. The state has an estimated 124 delegate strength. Both Atiku and Jonathan have their supporters in the state. It is still any oneâ€™s game.
Verdict: Too close to call.
Kano State: This is an ANPP-led state. It has a delegate strength of 110. It is a fishing ground for both Jonathan and Atiku, but the former vice president may have the upper hand because of the clamour for a northern president.
Verdict: Too close to call.
Kebbi State: The state is a PDP state, but the governor appears to be losing his political grip on the state, as many politicians of the PDP have left the party to other parties. The delegate strength in Kebbi is put at 118.
Verdict: Too close to call.
Bauchi State: With the influence of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the FCT Minister and the governor who is the zonal coordinator of the Goodluck/Sambo Campaign Organisation, one can say clearly that Bauchi State is a Jonathan state. But Atiku wields some influence in the state. The delegate strength is 105, though one of the senators of the PDP has moved back to the ACN and others are threatening to defect.
Verdict: Jonathan will get a majority of the votes from Bauchi delegates.
Yobe State: This is an ANPP state, but will most likely be captured by the PDP. The former Minister of Police Affairs, Adamu Maina Waziri is firmly in control in Yobe. It is a state that is guaranteed to vote for Jonathan. It boasts a delegate strength of 49.
Verdict: Jonathan will win Yobe comfortably.
Borno State: This is also an ANPP state, but the governor is in body and soul a supporter of Jonathan. The likes of the Minister of Works, Sanusi Dagash and Kashim Imam are also staunch Jonathan followers. It has estimated delegate strength of 63. But Atiku may have a marginal impact on the delegates from the state.
Verdict: Most Yobe delegates will vote for Jonathan.
Gombe State: The governor has nothing at stake politically as he has completed his eight year tenure. He pledged his support for President Jonathan. The delegate strength in Gombe is 73.
Verdict: Jonathan may win the state by a narrow margin.
Adamawa State: This is the home state of the former vice president. However, Atiku has no control over the party structures in the state. The governor and other political heavy weights like Senator Jubril Aminu, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, and the members of the House of Representatives are pro-Jonathan. The plot is to disgrace the former vice president in his home state. The delegate strength in Adamawa is 93.
Verdict: If care is not taken, Atiku could lose his home state to Jonathan. Too close to call.
Taraba State: The governor and the deputy are ardent supporters of Jonathan. The state has a delegate strength of 86 with three senators, 24 state legislators, 16 local government chairmen, 16 national delegates, and other statutory delegates. With the governorâ€™s support for Jonathan, the president will win at least 75 percent delegates.
Verdict: Jonathan will win comfortably.