Bayelsa: Goodluck Jonathan’s Journey to APC
Many political pundits agreed, after every other thing, that the reason why former President Goodluck Jonathan lost his re-election in 2015 was because of his political naivety. Much was expected from him in terms of policies and political decisions; there were some key actions he ought to have made and some he had no business making.
And like every politician who has made such mistakes in the past, he paid for it during the election.
Today, the Goodluck Jonathan that lost the election due to his lack of prompt decision-making skills and assertiveness is no more. He seems to have taken time to reflect on his missteps and come to the conclusion that life requires some bit of fist. If he can’t throw punches, he can at least map a bloodless intellectual plan to emerge victoriously. This plan is moving him to the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).
But before we talk about Jonathan’s possible move to APC, we need to know what went down in Bayelsa and how the former President has been struggling in his party – Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Shortly after leaving office in 2015, the PDP Governors’ caucus took over the affairs of the party, becoming the Alpha and Omega of it. Hardly was the opinion of Jonathan sorted on any issues especially that of the National Chairman of the party. They treated him like an outcast after losing the election. The then Chairman of the party, Adamu Muazu was made to resign and the caucus brought in Prince Uche Secondus – who ordinarily should not have acted in an acting capacity in accordance with the constitution of the party – and made him national chairman.
During the 2017 national convention, Goodluck Jonathan advised the leadership of the party to zone the national chairmanship position to the Southwest to allow the region to heal from obvious marginalization against them in the party; the leadership didn’t take heed. That decision caused the party dearly as the Southwest region it refused to palliate is still in distress till now.
Countdown to the Presidential election, after Atiku Abubakar won the ticket of the party, Jonathan advised the leadership to give Atiku a free hand and allow him to form an independent campaign team made up of goal-driven politicians and technocrats who can truly win the election with less sycophancy and greed. Again, the leadership refused and like a hawk on the hunt for food, they muscled Atiku into leaving them with the campaign.
Now to Bayelsa. In 2012, President Jonathan brought in Seriake Dickson to replace Timipre Sylva in the State. And like the typical Nigeria Godfather-godson story, Governor Dickson pathed ways with the Jonathan family and became a lord of himself.
This would have been a nonissue to Jonathan if Dickson performed well. Despite the riches of Bayelsa and revenue from oil, the state continues to owe basic salaries of civil servants while the development of the state keeps tanking. Resentment grew amongst the people but as a loyal party man, Jonathan supported Dickson for a second term in office.
In 2019, after the end of Dickson’s two terms of four years, he decided to be a Kingmaker himself. Normally, leaders in every party are consulted before a candidate of the party is picked. This is a mark of respect to the leader and also to ensure that such a candidate has the capacity to truly win an election. In Bayelsa, the reverse was the case.
Rather than seek the input of the only President ever produced from the South-South in choosing the governorship candidate of his party, Governor Dickson – against all counsel – opted to singlehandedly impose his cousin on everyone in the state. He achieved this in connivance with the national chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, whom many alleged to have been taken care of by the Governor. Again, Jonathan fell in line.
In choosing a deputy governor, many party members expected Governor Dickson to at least seek the input of Jonathan, again Dickson failed. He singlehandedly chose a deputy governorship candidate as well.
This humiliation was the last straw, Goodluck Jonathan picked himself up, made a plan and approached the house of the ruling party. He was warmly received and accorded the respect his own party and Governor failed to give him. The rest is history.
For the first time in 20 years, Bayelsa State has fallen to another party other than the PDP. There is a high possibility that former President Jonathan may go with that revolution given the manner the APC Governors’ caucus visited him shortly after the election.
Jonathan has nothing to lose, in fact, he will be dignified in APC and made the head of the South-South region of the party; this is the least PDP should have given him.
Boladale Adekoya is on Twitter @adekoyabee