I was not one of the most enthusiastic supporters of President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2011 elections even though I am now one of those wishing him to succeed for the sake of all of us. Even when my support or non-support would have hardly been noticed, the position I took was a principled one. I sided with the pro-zoning sentiment of his party, the People's Democratic Party (PDP), not least because I am an adherent of zoning as a mechanism for reconciling the divisions we are never going to be able to wish away.
President Goodluck Jonathan forfeited the sympathy of most honest observers of our politics when he denied the existence of zoning, which we all knew to be the driving philosophy of his political party. He could still have argued his way through without having to do that. His major sponsor, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, connived in this conspiracy of denial only to say "zoning was alive and kicking" after Jonathan had secured his party's nomination. The price of political dishonesty could be gruesome in a most divided nation such as ours. The late General Andrew Owoye Azazi, erstwhile National Security Adviser, attributed political notions to the crisis we have had to contend with in the north of our political divide.
It would be wrong for any section of our society to want to seek to dominate the political process. I was one of those to have put pen to paper to challenge what we used to refer to as "northern hegemony". However, it would also be wrong and unacceptable for any group or individual to want to thwart whatever mechanisms we have put in place to redress the imbalance in our federation. Call it "moral authority", the position one takes on an issue must be consistent regardless of the swing of the political pendulum.
In a nation where contest for the presidency has hardly been about ideological rivalry but a show of strength between ethno-religious groups, the contest for the presidential elections of 2015 may have begun in earnest and another storm of discontent gathering pace. "No vacancy in Aso Rock" says the posters that welcomed us into the New Year - an assumption that would be vigorously - hopefully, not violently - challenged.
Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State says there is a pact between incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan and PDP governors that there would be a vacancy in Aso Rock, come May 2015. According to him, Goodluck Jonathan agreed to serve only one term in office, going by the dictates of the PDP's zoning arrangement and compromise in the aftermath of President Umaru Musa Yar'adua's demise in 2010. If, indeed, there was a pact, it could still depend on whether or not Goodluck Jonathan would want to honour it. It would also depend on whether or not the national constitution endorses his eligibility to seek re-election in 2015. The special assistants may have spoken, and the poster may also have said things, but the truth of the matter is that President Jonathan has not categorically contradicted himself on the 2015 election; he is on record as having said he would not be seeking re-election.
But things do change in politics, and what about those hardened promoters barking orders that could give courage to an otherwise timid boxer? I fear for 2015, as I ponder on why those "all too-know" American pundits have identified it as "annus horibilis" for our nation. Their warning of an impending crisis was made a few years ago, but did they realise then that 2015 would be an election year? There could be a time in the life of a nation when the patriotism or sacrifice of one individual alters the course of a dangerous history, would Goodluck Jonathan be able to ignore whatever rights he has under the Constitution and say "I did it for party and nation"?
The PDP could be in for a major crisis, and so also could our nation, but welcome to APC as one possible cure to the headaches we are all bound to have. One is quite excited about the merger of the "progressive" political parties into a single umbrella - the All Progressive Congress. I had as far back as 1983 defended a thesis at the Department of Political Science, Howard University, arguing that the centralising influence of the presidency would compel a two-party system in Nigeria - "Party coalitions and the trend towards a two-party system in Nigeria". The then editor of Spectrum Books Ltd, the late Mr Asudo, showed great enthusiasm in wanting to publish it in book form but that possibility was frustrated when the military struck in December 1983. Hopefully, our nation will endure the storm of 2015 and a possible two-party system will bring order to its democratic process.