PDP zero-sum struggle for power without responsibility has begun in earnest. The battle line as it was in 2010 is once again between President Goodluck Jonathan and the northern political class whose current public face is Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State. Jonathan who has now come of age has taken the battle directly to his political adversaries.
The chairmanship of Nigerian Ports Authority and that of Board of Trustees of the PDP (BoT) considered critical for electoral funding and victory have both been ceded to 80 years old Tony Anenih, the celebrated ‘fixer’. The president has in his pocket, Bamanga Tukur, who is as ruthless as other past PDP chairmen such as Ahmadu Alli whose son like his was involved in alleged fuel importation scam, Prince Vincent Ogbuluafor, taken to court by Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for aiding three bogus companies who claimed to have executed jobs worth over N2.2billion’, and Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo.
Tukur has also effortlessly caged Jonathan political enemies in the South-west, neutralized the influence of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) headed by Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State and installed Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom as the chairman of newly formed PDP Governors parallel forum.
The president has ignored the claim by Governor Aliyu, the chairman of the Northern Governors Forum that he signed a document with the northern governors back in 2010, to the effect that he would do only one term. Dr Doyin Okupe the president’s spokesman has however dismissed Babangida’s claim as diversionary. He says the president considers such claim as “an invidious attempt to sway him from his chosen pursuit of the set out constituents of the transformation agenda which form the basis upon which Nigerians overwhelmingly elected him to steer the ship of the nation in 2011.” Whatever that means.
But the president’s wife not known for any form of obfuscation has along with other PDP women of goodwill started to count the chicks before the eggs are hatched. For Patience Jonathan, ‘100 opposition cannot defeat PDP’. And as for the PDP Women Leader, Kema Chikwe, her group she says “is confident that when President Jonathan returns in 2015, women would be talking about 50 per cent, no longer 35 per cent affirmative action”.
Indeed, other Jonathan strategists have moved beyond whether Jonathan would run or not .They have plotted how he would effortlessly capture 11 of the 19 states in the north and five of South-east and six of South-south.
Now that we have been told our input may not count for much in President Jonathan’s return to Aso rock in 2015, we can at least remind him of other pending issues beside his uncompleted ‘transformation agenda’ Dr. Okupe so romantically talked about.
May we remind the president that in spite of his chest-beating about achievement on electricity, 150m Nigerians still have to ration 4,600MW after PDP’s 13 years in power and frittering away of close to $20b compared to 150,000MW South Africa generates for her 35m population.
That our roads are in worse state of disrepair than PDP met them 13 years ago. (Governor Fashola of Lagos only last week threw a challenge at the federal government to identify a 100 kilometre road they have completed anywhere in the country this past 13 years.)
But far more than decay in infrastructure, the president is aware of the international community’s warning of possible collapse of the Nigerian economy in the next three years with the dwindling oil fortunes arising from US drive for self-sufficiency in energy coupled with the massive corruption of Nigerian ruling class. This was long before the recent ACN alert.
We may also wish to remind the president that even if he and the PDP do not give a damn about Nigerians who they assume suffer from collective amnesia, they can on account of Nigerians having become the butt of expensive jokes by players in the international community such as David Cameron, Prime Minister of Britain and Bill Clinton, former US President who literarily told Jonathan to his face that Nigerian ruling class are thieves, to revisit the following outstanding issues before his foreclosed return to Aso rock in 2015.
On the Lawan Farouk House committee report of alleged theft of N1.7trillion by fuel importers, Okupe had said we should praise the president for insisting the son of his party chairman fingered in the scam faces the law. Today while he and his accomplices are flying around the world, Nigerian SANs and judges have told us they are busy discussing ‘plea bargaining’ on their behalf in absentia.
We may need to remind the president that his Ribadu Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force discovered N10 trillion was lost to crude oil theft, from a yearly loss of 250,000 barrels per day or N1 trillion yearly. But Shell Nigeria’s Managing Director Mutiu Sunmonu said only on Monday that “The volume stolen, today, including over 60,000 barrels per day from Shell alone, is the highest in the last three years.” He did not forget to add the obvious: that government should confront the big men behind oil theft. In 2011, Nigeria lost $7b to oil theft.
The same Ribadu Committee reported that N178 billion worth of refined petroleum products was stolen from the pipelines, through vandalism orchestrated by thieves. That has continued unabated even with the substitution of our ill-equipped naval men with companies owned by repentant militants that have secured mouth-watering contracts. Shell claims it spent $1.1m to repair damaged pipes in Nembe Creek in 2012.
We have also only seen cosmetic changes in NNPC which the report claims incurred $5 billion (N785 billion) short-payment from sale of domestic crude and recorded a deficit of N298 billion from the accounts of its 16 subsidiaries. The report has more. $183 million (N28.7 billion) remained outstanding from signature bonuses.
And still outstanding is Oby Ezekwesili’s recent claim that the regimes of late President Umaru Yar’Adua and that of President Jonathan squandered $67bn from the country’s foreign reserve. In spite of Okupe’s wild claim that it was an attempt to bring the Jonathan administration down, Nigerians believe Ezekwesili’s challenge for a debate is a step in the right direction.
Nigerians are also interested in knowing the number of aircrafts and helicopters President Jonathan intend to add to his current fleet of 10 since 2015 is settled. Sahara Reporters had alleged in its edition of December 5, 2012 that while most major countries in Europe and Asia maintain mostly two aircraft in their presidential fleet, the Jonathan-led administration spends estimated N9.08bn annually on 10 Presidential jets.
And finally, I also think Nigerians will also want the president and PDP to give account of all recovered loots from their indicted party members and sympathizers. This is in view of the claim of an Anti-Corruption Network that the N191bn assets seized from the Managing Director of the defunct Oceanic Bank Plc, Cecilia Ibru cannot be accounted for. According to them, their “investigation and physical visits to some of the properties in the United States and United Kingdom revealed that some of the properties claimed to have been forfeited are still in her custody directly or indirectly.”
Perhaps our story would have been different if only President Jonathan and PDP had dedicated half of the energy currently deployed towards how to share spoils of office comes 2015 to serving Nigerians like Obafemi Awolowo and his AG party once did for the West and Ahmadu Bello and his NPC party replicated in the North in the 1960s.
The above few demands therefore, contrary to the conclusion Okupe will most predictably reach, are not designed to bring down PDP and Jonathan administration we are told is already destined to return to power in spite of 13 years dismal record, but to aid those who have started to question the sanity of Nigerians.