Articulate body language
He said PDP remains the most stable and democratic party working to develop Nigeria. He buttressed his point further by noting that the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa had existed for over 103 years. Though he has yet to declare his intention to seek re-election in 2015, President Jonathan’s body language speaks volumes. Most Nigerians believe he will contest in the election next year. He has also reached out to governors of the six southwest states and some traditional rulers in various parts of the country apparently testing the waters and building new alliances.
However, the PDP is not without troubles of its own, as it has been trying to contain internal wrangling among some of its members. One of the fall-outs of the protracted strife within the party was the orchestrated resignation of erstwhile Chairman of the PDP, Bamanga Tukur.
Jonathan has also fallen out of favour with former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who was instrumental to his emergence as Vice-President on a joint ticket with the late President Umaru Yar’Adua. Efforts to reconcile them have not been successful so far. Rivers state Governor Rotimi Amaechi, who is among the five governors that decamped from the PDP to the APC, is equally at daggers drawn with the incumbent President.
All these may affect the PDP’s chances in 2015, analysts say. The sacking of some Ministers in Jonathan’s cabinet and appointment of new ones in March are all part of a grand design to strengthen the chances of the ruling party at the polls. Political watchers believe the APC could be a formidable threat to the PDP’s aspirations of retaining the Presidency, if it puts its house in order.
But former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw believes a strong opposition party is good for Nigeria’s democracy. Straw stated this in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital in March at a one-day international conference on democracy and good governance organised by the state government. He cited a strong opposition party and a credible and transparent electoral process as some of the elements of democracy, in his lecture.
He said: “There is a move to a more cohesive and effective opposition in Nigeria. With the creation of the APC, Nigeria is on the path of a better democracy. The ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has a lot to benefit from the strengthening of the opposition.” However, he said Nigeria still needs to get it right in terms of conducting credible elections. Consequently, he challenged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to take necessary steps to ensure that the 2015 polls are devoid of electoral malpractices.