Accessibility links

Powerful Nigerian Governors’ Group Opposes President Jonathan’s Candidacy

In Nigeria, the powerful Northern Governors Forum ended a crucial meeting in Kaduna without endorsing President Goodluck Jonathan as the ruling party’s candidate for next year’s elections.

Mr. Jonathan’s plans to retain his job is complicated by the governor’s insistence that the ruling party zoning arrangement be maintained, some analysts say.

Under the system, the party chooses candidates alternating between the North and the South. If it continues to do so, Mr. Jonathan will be disqualified. He is from the South-South, but the next candidate selected under zoning would be from the North.

“A few people cannot sit down and begin to shape opinion and direct the political direction of this country,” said Abubakar Momoh, a political science lecturer at the Lagos State University. “They have the right to make their own position known, but let them say it is their own personal position.These governor are pretending and giving everyone the impressions that they are carrying their states along.”

Momoh disagrees with suggestions the governors would wield their influence to stop President Jonathan from winning their states if he runs without their support.

“From my own point of view, I am really surprised that Mr. President is using the same old tactics and old rules," he said. "If President Jonathan wants to run, let him come out and announce that to Nigerians. Why the pretence? If he is interested in the presidency let him come out and run and stop using surrogates, using all kinds of forces and interests to go and prepare the ground for him.”

Fears by President Jonathan and his supporters that an early interest in next year’s election will cripple the operations of government are unfounded, said Momoh.

“It’s a very weak argument. There is nobody in this country, not even an infant, that does not have the feeling and knows clearly that President Goodluck Jonathan wants to run. So who is he deceiving? The man is going to announce and his godfathers have announced that he is going to run,” he said.