Softly, Mr President


President Goodluck Jonathan should be careful in his choice of friends and allies in  his bid to win the presidency next year. He must be wary of fair weather friends and  discredited politicians who may instead of boosting his popularity diminish it.

When the crisis in Ogun State became so hot earlier in the year, we thought  President Jonathan would do something serious rather than call it a party problem.  He actually did nothing, rather he  encouraged the gladiators. When a head of state  fails to frown at an illegal act and even allies with a faction of the divided Ogun  State House of Assembly, we think something is seriously wrong.

Last Saturday in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, at a meeting between President  Jonathan, Governor Gbenga Daniel and Daniel’s loyalists in the state House of  Assembly, the President recognised Hon. Yemi Coker as the Speaker of the State House  of Assembly. Coker was ‘elected’ speaker by 9 out of the 24 members of the Assembly.

The real Speaker, who was purportedly removed, Hon. Tunji Egbetokun, and other  members of the G-15 were not at the meeting.

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How President Jonathan could recognize the Speakership of Coker beats one hollow.  How the president decided to take sides in a battle that had become as messy as the  kidnap and purported resignation of Dr. Chris Ngige, former governor of Anambra  State a few years ago baffles us.

Not a few Nigerians have called on President Jonathan to wade into the Ogun crisis,  especially because his party is involved but he has kept mum. Save Nigeria Group,  political parties, eminent personalities and other civil society groups have called  on the president to do something, but something seems to be holding the president  back, or perhaps he’s not sure of what side he should take. The refusal of the  organizers of  Jonathan’s visit to invite members of the G-15 and known supporters  of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo leaves a very bad taste in the mouth. It seems to portray  the president as one-sided, a president who would takes sides instead of trying to  settle a crisis, a president who would look the other way because those who  committed an act of illegality are his friends.

This is not how to unite a state. It is not how to unite a party. It is not how to  unite a country.

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