President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is widely acknowledged to have departed from his predecessors well known penchant for meddling in administration of election during the last election. Professor Attahiru Jega, INEC chairman, was allowed to pick his staff and conduct the election to the best of his abilities. Other than allocation of funds, and provision of security, the presidency step out of the way of the commission. Should we expect the same scenario to play itself out as we march gradually towards the next presidential election?
Recent events in Bayelsa state seems to point to a negative answer to this loaded question. Bayelsa is the home state of President Goodluck Jonathan. He was once a deputy governor and governor of that state before he ascended to the post of vice president and subsequently president of our dear country. What is happening now in PDP’s Bayelsa gubernatorial electoral politics had been described as the very worst of Nigerian politics and likened to a battle for the very soul of our democracy. Every news story on the debacle speaks of contempt for due process, arrogance of power and stark display of naked dictatorship. It confirms everything some of us have always known about the so called People’s Democratic Party. A party without any fundamental ethos and democratic values other than to win election by every means possible, legal or illegal.
According to the Nation online, “the state was supposed to have carried out ward congresses on Monday, November 14th, but it turned out to be a farce. The party headquarters deployed men and police from Abuja, gathered the delegates and other party faithful, and whisked the materials to Abuja after misinforming the party men and women that they wanted to pay a courtesy call on the governor who never saw them.” In a party known for giving establishment support to all its incumbent governor, the party seems to have thrown the current governor under the bus, for no reason other than a perceived disagreement with the commander in chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is as if what we have in our constitution is an imperial presidency and not a constitutional one.
To ensure that everyone knows where the sitting governor’s problem comes from, the federal government on the eve of the gubernatorial primary suddenly disbanded the state security outfit without any reason. This was quickly followed by declarations of interest by other party men, loyal to President Jonathan.
What does this story portends for our democracy? First of all, we need to understand that we cannot rely on President Jonathan to defend our hard earned democracy. He is no different from every other PDP dictators the party has thrown up in our faces since 1999. More importantly we need to seriously push for a sovereign national conference that will devolve more powers to our local and state government. A federal police force is a veritable tool in the hands of dictator for destruction of our democracy. It is time to stop believing the ruse that Goodluck is any better than Obasanjo or Yar’adua before him. They are all fruits from the same poisonous tree aptly called PDP- People’s Destruction Party!