IF President Goodluck Jonathan was afraid of the outcome of the just concluded presidential election, he never showed it. Before the election was held, he had started giving conditions on the type of people he wanted to dominate the forthcoming Eighth National Assembly
“I would want you to elect members of the Peoples Democratic Party to the National Assembly so that I can work with people who are not rancorous” – President Goodluck Jonathan told party supporters at one of his numerous presidential rallies.
But like the biblical Moses, Jonathan has failed to lead his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, to his dreamland. His reign has brought to an abrupt end the 16-year uninterrupted reign of the party, whose former National Chairman, Vincent Ogbulafor, had boasted would remain in power for at least 60 years. A senior employee of the party told our correspondent in Abuja on Tuesday that the former party chairman could have probably meant 16 years in his projection.
Though the President didn’t start out to fall by the wayside, some states actually plotted his downfall. Principal among them were the five out of the six states of the South-West. Traditionally, the President, being a southerner was expected to have wormed his way into the hearts of the people of the South-West. This was because when he was being haunted by the then presidential candidate of the defunct Congress for Progressives Change, who was his major challenger in 2011, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), Jonathan came to seek the backing of the zone. All of the states in the zone obliged him except Osun, where he lost. But in other states like Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti and Ondo, he won.
However, in 2015, it was a different scenario as only the people of Ekiti State seemed to still remain friendly with the President. With a little margin, he got 176,466 votes as against 120,331 votes of Buhari, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress. Even in Ondo State, where the President’s party is in charge, the people revolted. In unison, the majority of the people abandoned him for Buhari by giving him 251,368 votes as against 299,889 they collectively gave the former Head of State.
Taking a leaf from the South-West example, some states in the North-Central, which were traditional supporters of the President, also deserted him. Those states include Benue, Kogi and Kwara. A former Governor of Kwara State, Senator Bukola Saraki, was among the members of the PDP, who were hounded out of the party. Saraki threw his hat into the ring and joined forces with the opposition to give a killer blow to his former party and its presidential candidate.
Though the President was able to make a showing in other states from the zone, voters from the North-West were not considerate of Jonathan in their voting. The only zone with seven states witnessed all of them chorusing in harmony and actively participated through their votes in the revolution that sacked Jonathan from Aso Rock. These states are Sokoto, Katsina, Zamfara, Kebbi, Sokoto, Jigawa and Kaduna.
It was also not a rousing outing for the outgoing President in the North-East, where his government has been battling Boko Haram insurgency. Five out of the six zones voted for change and rejected continuity which the President campaigners said he represented. Voters from those states that would prefer President Jonathan to relocate to his Otuoke, Bayelsa State home, instead of spending another four years in office, were those of Yobe, Bauchi, Adamawa, Borno and Gombe. The governors of the zone, who are members of his party and who he regularly referred to as his field commanders, were outrun by the voters with their Permanent Voter Cards, which they willingly used as their weapons. These governors are Isa Yuguda (Bauchi), James Ngilari (Adamawa) and Ibrahim Damkwambo (Gombe). Nevertheless, the President made a remarkable showing in Taraba State. But that was not enough to guarantee his second term ambition. These are the part of history-making states that made President Jonathan the first Nigerian president to lose his re-election bid. A return to Otuoke, therefore, beckons.
The President would however not return alone. He is expected to be accompanied by members of his immediate family led by his wife, Patience, whose stay in Aso Rock has added a wide vocabulary to Nigeria’s political lexicon.
Her many gaffes were said to have drawn more flaks for the President. If this was true, Patience was not bothered. While the President asked his supporters to moderate their speeches and stop hate campaigns, his wife was uncontrollable.
Throwing caution into the winds on many occasions during the PDP women presidential rallies, Patience once described Buhari as “brain dead” and asked Nigerians to reject the retired soldier. Referring to his age, she said it was wrong for such a 72-year-old man to be dragging the office of the President with her husband.
It was obvious that her counsel was not convincing enough to the voters, who in their millions voted for Buhari and rather asked Patience and her husband to vacate the opulent building they moved into since 2007.