- Nigeria's immediate past president, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, has cautioned political godfathers to refrain from imposing candidate against popular choice
- Jonathan said that elections should be contested and won without violence, adding that it is not a do or die affair
- He also commended the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Uche Secondus, for insisting on a level-playground for primaries across the country
Ahead of the 2019 general elections, former president, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, has called on politicians not to yield to any form of negative influence by godfathers.
He also urged political godfathers to yield to people’s yearning in preparation for 2019, and advised them to steer clear of anti-party activities. Jonathan gave the advice when he received Senator Philip Gyunka, who visited him in Abuja on Tuesday, July 24, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
He said that though there was nothing wrong with having godfathers, but they should not be clogs in the wheel of progress. “I have no problem with the issue of godfathers because as a Christian, if you are taking a child for baptism, there is this concept of godfather or godmother.
“These are people that are supposed to help mentor the children and give advice from time to time. Godfather should not be used negatively. For example, if you come from a community that participates actively in wrestling with neighbouring communities and you know your son cannot wrestle, you cannot send him.
“Even in politics, if you have a son or anybody and you know the person cannot lead the party to victory, and you are sending the person because you are hoping for something, then you do not like the party. If you like the party you, will ask your son to work with the person that you believe can win elections.
“We lost most of these elections because of this issue of imposition of people that are not acceptable to the public,” he said. Jonathan also said that sacrificing competence and efficiency on the altar of interest was counterproductive.
“I have not gone for elections outside Africa but at least, before leaving office I went round to observe election in a number of countries. Politics is like war. I am not saying people should carry guns and knives, but to struggle to win election. People must have that kind of personal interest.
“We need to send canditates that the people appreciate, personswhom they believe in to bring development to their state so that even if it means sleeping there they will stay there and do the work.
“I commend the National Chairman of our party, Uche Secondus, because he has been emphasising that this time, primaries must be on level-playing ground so that whoever emerges, others will support the person,’’ he said.
The former president expressed optimism that party faithful in the states would work together to present candidates that would win elections. I am pleased to see you also getting interested in the Nasarawa State governorship race. I believe you will do well. We need the person that can advance the course of the state.
“I am hopeful that this time, PDP members in Nasarawa State will come together. When people do not work together they cannot achieve much. Primaries must be done in a way that there are no grievances. If you lose gallantly you will have no problem but if you are manipulated out of the process, you will be angry,” he said.
Jonathan pointed out that Nasarawa state was critical not just in terms of arable land and abundant mineral deposits but in view of its closeness to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). He said: “As we approach elections some of us who had the privilege of being at the centre for eight years have a reasonable idea of the country.
“Nasarawa state being catchment state to FCT is always very critical to the government. When you have religious turbulence in the state it affects Abuja directly. Nasarawa state is covered by the Brigade of Guards, meaning it is considered as almost a part of FCT. So, it is a state that we really need good people to govern.
“We will continue to do what we can to help the process.’’ On solid minerals in Nasarawa, Jonathan said: “A friend of mine had discussion with some groups of persons and they were asking what he knew was bringing money to Nigerians not in terms of spread but volume.
“They said it was not crude but solid mineral. He mentioned a particular mineral and said people make more money from it than those in the oil industry. Unfortunately some of these areas have not been really mapped out so we do not even know what we have.
“You see some Asian miners come to mine and from the information we get even when I was a president, the ministry has not been able to factor what is happening. What these people take out we do not even know.”
While commending the present government for encouraging governors to tap into mineral deposits in their states, Jonathan urged the governors to take the plunge. Jonathan said: "Now that even the government is looking at encouraging states to check their mineral resources, I believe it will be more efficient.
“This is because no governor would be there while we are looking for money for development and allow people to come and take things without you knowing. Earlier, Gyunka had commended the former president for always promoting peace and unity in the country."
He said that it was the style of leadership and penchant for competence that endeared him to the former president, adding that, it was second to none. Some of us believe in your leadership and we will like to have you as our mentor.
“Godfather syndrome has killed this country. It has deprived so many talented youths from being where they ought to be. There are several instances where young peoples’ dream and talents die because they are not from rich homes and same is playing out in our polity as people without godfathers do not achieve their dreams in politics.
“God created us all with specific assignments but many dreams and assignments have died because of godfathers. For me, you are the kind of man that any Nigerian that wants to succeed would want to have as a mentor.
“I believe strongly that if anyone under your tutelage holds public office, there will be peace because you are a man of peace. I have come to meet you as my mentor, to put me through on how you were able to succeed carrying out your assignment,” he said.
The lawmaker said Nigeria needed good leaders, adding that it was only good leaders that would deliver the country from its present challenges.
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com reported that the International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI) had called for the establishment of an electoral offences and political parties registration commission ahead of the 2019 elections.
A member of the joint group also known as Delegation, Terry Tselane, made the call at a news briefing on the 2019 general elections on Friday, July 20, in Abuja.
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