May 10, 2010

President Jonathan’s Vice President

The two issues relevant to the free conduct of 2011 elections - the electoral laws/independent INEC officials and the probability of a run by the Ag. President, are not necessarily mutually exclusive but they must be executed with utmost separation. ()
Having said this (quote above, ) the next important appointment that President Jonathan has to make in a few days time – the appointment of a Vice President should be made with  his complete reference to his 2011 aspirations. Fairness only demands that the President appoints an independent INEC Chairman, other equally independent INEC officials, and does his best to sign into law the electoral law reforms without respect to any probable aspiration he may have for 2011 but his choice of Vice President should be firmly informed by the fact that he hopes to contest or not for PDP’s presidential ticket for 2011. Lets explore two scenarios and how it should influence the President’s choice of a Vice President. It could also indicate the President’s thoughts about a possible run in 2011.

Scenario 1
Assume President Jonathan wants to seek his party’s nomination for 2011. Under this scenario it is likely that he will choose as Vice President someone who is loyal to his aspiration for 2011. Someone who is not currently having a huge political clout especially within the structures of the ruling party but with a good level of public acceptance so as not to squander the public approval rating of the President himself.
Scenario 2
Assume that President Goodluck Jonathan does not want to contest in 2011. In this case the consideration should be as follows: The vice President should be someone the President is willing to deputize in 2011. He (the VP nominee) should be someone that has considerable acceptance within the ruling party and nationally. He should be a progressive candidate that can be trusted to carry on the gains of this democratic dispensation. Experience with the performance of Yar’adua suggests that a certain level of education and public administration credentials are good qualifications in a candidate for the office of President. it would be counter-productive to have a President who is easily manipulated by his senior administration officials, civil servants and or even his deputy. Retired generals may not be publicly desirable at this stage and may make the PDP to loose some votes in 2011 assuming a free and fair election.
The Last Word
Recent events in the country  - the death of President Yar’adua, the swearing-in of President Jonathan, the vacancy in the office of the Vice President and 2011 elections (including the probable candidacy of President Jonathan) seems to have diverted attention from the true programs of this administration. Whatever the President does, whoever he chooses as his deputy he must realize that the country cannot afford to get into extended debates especially if he appoints a polarizing figure as Vice President. It will further distract his administration’s attention from the critical performance measures within which his administration would eventually be judged by. President Jonathan must remember that he has got this one chance to make a difference, whatsoever he does the country would judge him by it. He would have to answer some day for his decisions as Commander-in-Chief even if it be in so short a time. The President must make his decisions count even now!
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