Quasi-News and Commentary

by Wordworks2001

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)presidential candidate, Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua, on Sunday surprised many people as he named Bayelsa State governor, Dr. Jonathan Goodluck, as his running mate. He said after consulting party leaders, he arrived at the choice of Governor Goodluck.

Goodluck has not been considered a candidate for national office and there were othere, more experienced governors from south-south states that were vying for the presidential spot.  Governors Peter Odili (Rivers), Donald Duke (Cross River), were being touted as the likely candidate.
The choice of Goodluck seems to suggest that the leadership of the party wanted a clean break with the past and to temper the feelings of the people of the Niger Delta about  their treatment in the scheme  of things.Governor Peter Odili of  Rivers State was the choice of the party leadership until 2a.m. Sunday when the presidential contest was still on, He was dropped  “on account of pressures from some powerful individuals who were even far away from the Eagle Square, venue of the primaries,” according to Lagos newspaper VANGUARD.

The tensions and violence in the Niger Delta is the primary reason Goodluck got the nod. The loss of 25% of oil revenues a day also was a major factor.  While pondering who he should pick as a running mate, Yar’Adua and his strategists were said to have wondered aloud how a nation with a huge commitment to the reduction of the level of poverty in the land  would meet the Millennium Goals with such a huge loss.

The strategic nature of Bayelsa, its oil wells and the need to engage a process that would lead to meeting the needs of the ordinary people of the region, as well as  understanding the concerns of the militants, swayed it for the state.

Meanwhile, wild jubilations erupted in Yenagoa last night after news filtered in about the choice of Gov. Jonathan as  vice presidential candidate.
Fireworks took over the sky of the state capital while bars served free drinks. One must wonder if the celebrations are premature. The militant groups that pretty much own Bayelsa state’s swamps and river waterways have yet to react to the news their governor is a vice presidential candidate.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND) rose from a meeting in Warri, Delta State, in early December, warning South-south governors, among other Presidential aspirants, to forget about ruling the country.
In what appears like a dramatic ideological somersault, MEND,  resolved to work for the return of Presidency to the North.
MEND, which is about the most dreaded of the Niger-Delta coalition of militant groups, has been known for its hard-line posture in the agitation for an end to the “criminal neglect” of the region vis-à-vis perceived political injustice, which has resulted in “the zone having not produced a Nigerian political head in its 46 years despite the area being the source of over 90 percent of the country’s wealth.”

The MEND resolutions call on governors from the South-south geo-political zone that were campaigning to forget about their presidential ambition till at least 2011.  At least 18 presidential aspirants of Northern extraction were also advised to abandon their ambition for 2007 presidency, so as to “pave the way for the emergence of a candidate and president who is nationally acceptable to the rest of Nigeria.”

The list of those advised by MEND to forget their presidential aspirations include ex-military leaders, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and General Ibrahim Babangida, Alhaji Bashir Tofa, Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, Governor Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Alhaji Babagana Kingibe, Dr. Adamu Mu’azu and Mrs. Sarah Jibril.
Nigeria Tribune

Wordworks2001 is a retired US Army master sergeant. He lives in Indiana and works in Nigeria. He b logs at http://wordworks2001.blogspot.com.

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