Channels Television weekend breakfast programme, Sunrise, played host to a former Ogun State, governorship candidate, Kafilat Ogbara and the President of the Voters Awareness Initiative, Wale Ogunade as they analysed the polity in 2013.
While agreeing that the most notable moment in the year was the decamping of PDP governors to APC, they were both of the opinion that Nigerian politics lack ideology.
Ogbara who is a member of the PDP insisted that “the problem in our politics is not really about where you belong… Whether they are crisscrossing or not, politicians are the same. What we need is a humanitarian government”
The Political Editor of Sunday Independent Newspaper, Habib Haruna, was also on the programme to bring an expected neutral view to the discussion. He was blunt in his submission that during the year 2013, he did not see the President to have shown the expected level of leadership and authority.
He however had to contend with a PDP member from Imo State, Stanley Oguike, who was also on the programme. While intermittently taking things spiritual, Oguike consistently solicited for patience and understanding for President Goodluck Jonathan, who he said is doing a good job of managing the country.
Oguike was of the opinion that President Jonathan has been unlucky to have inherited the series of problems that were not there before; especially the Boko Haram insurgency. He said that the approach he has taken is to take care of issues from the root rather than employing cosmetic approaches, but unfortunately, Nigerians are not patient as they want immediate results.
The journalist on the panel, Habib Haruna, however disagreed with Oguike, he argued that the President has not been assertive in his approach. He said that even if the President actually inherited problems he did not plan for, he is expected to be dynamic enough to change his tactics to be able to provide solution.
He stressed, “The political goodwill with which Jonathan won the presidential election has been misused. If you cannot bear the heat, leave the kitchen.”
While Oguike insisted that the President cannot be assertive in the manner Nigerians expect, because he is not a military man, Mr Ogunade, like Haruna, also towed the line of the opposite view: “To whom much is given, much is expected. Jonathan was given Presidency by Nigerians on a platter of gold and he has squandered everything.” He insisted that with such an opportunity, the President should have hired the best hands to make sure things work.
Of course, the crisis in the aviation sector was freely used to buttress points, with the alleged refusal of the Presidency to take action against the Aviation Minister cited as a proof that he is not firm. Oguike of the Imo State PDP vehemently disagreed that the President has any blame. He insisted that there are processes involved in such cases, as the Aviation Minister has not been indicted by any committee yet. He added: “One of the problems we have in this country today is the media, they are not investigative.”
In his effort to further deflate Oguike’s view point, Ogunade cited the case of former Chairman of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, who was recently declared innocent by a Nigerian court after being convicted for fraud and serving a jail term for it. He insisted that if a court in Nigeria could declare that Bode George is free, when there are cheaper thieves in the prisons, then “we (Nigeria) are in soup because that is a bad precedence.”
Ms Ogbara who said that she had worked with President Jonathan in the past and also travelled across Nigeria to campaign for him, noted that the President is “actually a good man, but I don’t know how he is now”.
She added that the controversial letter written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo is a proof that things are not as they should be in the country. She stressed that former president, Obasanjo is a special man God has given to Nigeria, and he has the political experience to guide the presidency, having ruled both as a military man and as a politician. She noted that his age counts as well and his counsel should be considered.
Looking into 2014, Ogunade predicted that there are serious challenges ahead. He said that the PDP members who are joining APC are not going there to just make the numbers, they are powerful politicians who would want to grab tickets and the people they are meeting on ground would want to lay claims to some of these positions, so there will be a lot of issues.
As the country steps into a new year of heavy political activities, Stanley Oguike wants the whole of Nigeria to seek total spiritual mentoring and mental reengineering, while Kafilat Ogbara asked Nigerian politicians to think about leaving a good record, and she prayed God to save the nation.
Wale Ogunade advised that Nigerians must now use their power of votes wisely. Habib Haruna wants Nigerians to continue to demand for their rights from the politicians.