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Twelve men who scored own-goals

A few years ago PDP leaders were boasting that they will rule Nigeria for 60 years and place themselves at par historically with the Communist…

A few years ago PDP leaders were boasting that they will rule Nigeria for 60 years and place themselves at par historically with the Communist Party of China and with Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party, PRI. At the time that boast was made PDP was about the only game in town. Politicians flocked to it in a one-way traffic. Election of its party officers, as well as its primary elections, was acrimonious because everyone thought that a PDP ticket was tantamount to victory in the general election. Now the juggernaut has stopped; in fact it is in reverse gear; politicians are leaving it in droves; missiles are being hurled at it from all directions; men who once led it are now disparaging it; everyone is talking about its impending defeat; its leaders are in panic mode to the point of orchestrating an election postponement.
Who are the men and women who contributed to bring the Administration and the ruling party to their current political state? Depending on who is doing the counting there are 12 of them. They are:
1] Alhaji Bamanga Tukur. His disastrous tenure as PDP’s national chairman was the biggest game changer for PDP from which it might never recover. Bamanga’s tenure also coincided with the period when three major opposition parties were consolidating into one mega opposition party but the chairman failed to recognise the emerging threat. Instead, he encouraged the Party Leader to settle personal scores within the party. It was a cover for Bamanga to also settle personal scores of his own. He suspended a state governor for refusing to answer his phone call; he watched askance as seven governors formed a faction called nPDP and he didn’t care a hoot when 5 governors jumped ship and joined APC.
2] Chief Edwin Clark. As soon as Dr. Goodluck Jonathan rose to the presidency, this Gowon-era Information Minister created for himself a position hitherto unknown in Nigerian politics, that of the president’s ethnic godfather. No Yoruba potentate occupied this post during Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s eight year rule and even the feeble President Umaru Yarádua had no such godfather. Rather than use his extra-constitutional position to steady the president’s position, Clark used it to create numerous enemies for Jonathan through his use of intemperate language and regular assaults at dissenting folks.
3] Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke. No one gets to sit atop Nigeria’s oil industry without making many enemies. Mrs Allison Madueke’s beauty, fluent English and polished manners gained for her alot of mileage but the sleaze in the oil industry ultimately caught up with her. Most damaging have been the scandalous rip offs in subsidy payments, the botched attempt to remove oil subsidy in 2012, Sanusi’s allegation of the missing $20 billion and the reported N10 billion spent to hire private jets, not to mention the failure to pass the PIB bill.
4] Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. The first ever Coordinating Minister of the Economy fancies herself as an economic wunderkind at par with German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer or the Japanese Prime Minister Sato. While most Nigerians thought economic conditions were harsh, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala bandied figures and said it is among the best managed in the world. This sharp discrepancy between official claims and people’s feelings did much damage to the regime’s credibility. Nor was there any preparation of the public mind for the steep fall in oil prices, the sharp drop in external reserves and the precipitous decline of the naira.
5] Mrs Patience Jonathan. In the last five decades Nigerian First Ladies have often been mired in one controversy or another. Mrs Patience Jonathan however stands in a class of her own by making many gaffes and ill-advised actions that badly affected the public image of her husband’s regime. Worst of them all was her intervention in the Chibok girls’ saga and her futile attempts to prove that her husband’s political enemies orchestrated the whole affair. Her quarrel with Rotimi Amaechi, the governor of her home state, also resulted in PDP’s most impactful loss of a political figure.  
6] Mujaheed Dokubo Asari. This ex-militant’s coarse manner, intemperate language and his open threats against whole regions of the country supposedly in Jonathan’s service did much political damage. Asari was later joined by more ex-militant leaders to threaten war against the country should Jonathan lose the election. Their joint threat greatly antagonised non-partisan opinion all over the country.
7] Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. If remarks must be matched to records, this former two-time ruler has no moral authority to criticise anyone but the wily Obasanjo re-launched himself back into the reckoning of Nigerians by spearheading attacks against the Jonathan regime in the last two years. Many people suspect that his motives are ungodly. Yet Obasanjo’s devastating attacks against Jonathan, sometimes through letters, at other times through public lectures have taken a heavy toll. The Jonathan Presidency never quite settled on the best way to tackle Obasanjo. Sometimes it answered his letters; at other times it tried to ignore him and at still other times it sent seven PDP governors to plead with him to keep quiet.
8] Governor Godswill Akpabio. The ambitious Akwa Ibom State governor rapidly moved very close to President Jonathan and soon installed himself as the president’s top gubernatorial enforcer. At one point he went about the task wisely, such as when he talked Bamanga into reversing Governor Aliyu Wamakko’s suspension. Other times he handled matters with very damaging crudity such as the 16 is greater than 19 affair which effectively destroyed the Nigeria Governors Forum.
9] Alhaji Ahmadu Mu’azu. When he replaced Bamanga Tukur as PDP’s chairman, the former Bauchi State governor was proclaimed by his partymen as the game changer. It turned out that he underestimated the fall in PDP’s esteem and total political stature. Even though Mu’azu toured the country trying to lure back members who defected and though he refrained from creating more problems by not trying to settle personal scores, the damage had been done and he was unable to reverse it.
10] Vice President Mohamed Namadi Sambo. Many a Jonathan kitchen cabinet member would sit back and say that the Vice President is to blame for failing to stem the tide when the country’s single largest voting bloc, the far North, turned completely against the Jonathan regime. Some northern PDP governors encouraged this belief in the hope of replacing Sambo on the ticket. Sambo has nothing of the political drive and ambition of, say, Atiku Abubakar. His affable and non-controversial nature did not add to the regime’s problems but it did not stave off the decline either.
11] NSA and military service chiefs. The top security chiefs have contributed to President Jonathan and PDP’s problems in only three ways. One was their failure to tame Boko Haram despite repeated claims that they will do so. Second was their timing the operation to end Boko Haram once and for all with the date set for presidential election. The third, final damage inflicted by the service chiefs was their asking for the election to be postponed while they attack Boko Haram.
12] Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. The President contributed to his party’s current predicament in only three ways that I can think of. They are his lack of adequate knowledge about Nigeria, lack of adequate preparation before becoming the president of Nigeria and lack of rapid catching up study when he became the president of Nigeria. His mistake in choosing Bamanga Tukur; his overreliance on Ngozi, Diezani and Akpabio; his initial misreading of Boko Haram as a political plot; his inability to manage Obasanjo, Edwin Clark, Aminu Tambuwal, nPDP and ex-militants can all be attributed to those three inadequacies. How can a match be won with 12 players scoring own goals?

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