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In Nigeria, Northern Politicians Offer Conditional Support for President Jonathan

In Nigeria, northern politicians have offered to support President Goodluck Jonathan in next year’s elections if he promises not to seek re-election. Analysts say the compromise offer is the strongest indication yet that Mr. Jonathan is the leading candidate of the ruling People’s Democratic Party.

But the compromise is not a significant political development, says Abubakar Momoh, a lecturer at the Department of Political Science Lagos State University.

“It’s just [a] political calculation and strategizing by some elite who think they just have to be politically relevant. The first question to ask is on whose behalf [is] this olive branch [being extended],” he said.

Momoh disagrees with speculation that the compromise is a ploy by pro-Jonathan elements to weaken the position of the North.

“I don’t really believe that some of the names that are being peddled around are really the ones to determine ultimately how electorates in the north will vote. And the electorate in this area is not gullible, it is informed and it knows what is going on. It will vote on the basis of what is on ground, the issues and questions about who is credible and so on. They are going to make a rational choice on the basis of what they are offered,” said Momoh.

The deal offered to the Nigerian leader, says Momoh, is intended to push one part of the country against the other and will be rejected by the electorate