By Comrade Edwin Uhara
In the coming weeks, active political activities for next year’s General Elections will kick start fully and officially! It will be a time to expect the unexpected. A time for massive defections from one party to another in furtherance of one’s political interest. A time for accusations and counter accusations. A time to open the dossiers of politicians for public scrutiny. A time for truthful or deceptive political promises among others. Just like we say in journalism profession; “If it can bleed, then it can lead”. The coming weeks will be time when my colleagues in the media who are still standing idly, watching and studying the nation’s political activities will be divided along party lines promoting, attacking and defending the interest of one candidate or the other depending on the terms, it will be the time when my articles will no longer appear in certain media organizations.
However, President Good luck Ebele Jonathan should note that, as a top candidate for the forth coming Presidential Election, most aspirants would turn him to be their punching bag with the sole intention of discrediting him while enhancing their own chances for the polls. Hence, he should never put up “A too big to fail attitude” throughout the electioneering campaigns! He should not leave anything to chance because an unconsidered variable in an election of this magnitude may turn out to be the major issue; especially now that the major battle is going to be between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Therefore, the would-be Jonathan’s official presidential handlers should do away with some of the attitudes similar organizations put up during the 2011 presidential campaigns. They must put Jonathan’s interest at the forefront and be open to good ideas and recognize individual and collective efforts that will ensure that Jonathan is returned to office next year, instead of wrongly thinking or assuming that anybody coming around is coming to dislodge them from their vantage position. The truth is that, if they refuse to show altruistic commitment and supports to the President’s re-election bid and allows selfish interest and the spoils of the moment to deny him re-election, Jonathan as a person has nothing to lose! Rather, when the worse comes to worst, Jonathan would join the league of African Statesmen. In this regards, it is them that will bear the brunt of their mistakes than President Jonathan himself! Also, it is the Nigerian people, the intellectual and business community that will be most affected, and as a result this, they would be bugged down by the miasma of policy instability. I say this because, I personally do not believe in frequent change of government and policies.
Besides, President Jonathan should not maintain complacency in extra-ordinary times because, that was the strategy that cost former French President, Nicolas Sarkozy his re-election bid in 2012. It will be recalled that when the opposition party led by Francois Hollande was roaring like lion and leading in various opinion polls, Nicolas Sarkozy was displaying nonchalant attitude and an image of a bound to win candidate. So, before he could realize what was happening, the opposition party; the Socialist Party which had been in disarray after the fall of its predicted Presidential candidate and former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Dominique Strauss-Khan, had already gained much grounds.
Subsequently, when they went in to the election proper, Francois Hollande defeated Mr. Sarkozy. I’m however not saying this will happen to President Jonathan, but it’s a call on him to seat up and march or surpass the opposition in every front till the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declares him winner of the February 14, 2015 Presidential Elections! Though, some of us will move back to trenches to ensure his absolute victory so as to avoid any form of run-off next year! Hence, I decided to cite the experience of Nicolas Sarkozy and his party, the Union for Popular Movement (UPM) so that Jonathan’s official Presidential handlers will learn nostalgic lessons from the misadventure.
This is because, those managing any presidential candidate must be open to new ideas at all times; especially game-changing ones. These are ideas that can leapfrog a backward candidate to the leading position in the race. They should note that, Nigeria is changing and as a result, ideas that worked in previous elections may not work in the coming election or may simply require little review and improvement so as to march the unfolding political realities in the days ahead!
Secondly, presidential handlers should always consider the interest of their candidate first before any other considerations! They should be focused, dedicated and always be loyal to their candidate. They should never be two-faced Janus or found running with the here and hunting with the hound or backstabbing their candidate and cutting deals with his opponents. Some of the things I highlight here were some of the egregious political mistakes I personally observed while working with the Jonathan/Sambo Presidential campaign train during the 2011 elections.
Finally, from every political calculations and permutations devoid of Propaganda, President Jonathan is still on the lead even as he needs more works to be done in the area of grassroots mobilization and sensitization. Hence, lets us continue to be proactive while waiting for the right time to officially give him the green light to continue in office through our ballots.