Nigeria’s presidential election is set for February of next year, barring any unforeseen circumstances. The machinations of politics in the run-up to the election have begun in earnest. The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is preparing to wrest power from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) at the national level (APC). Serious contenders for the top job abound in the PDP. If achievements and promises made and kept (or broken) are used as yardsticks for electing the next President post-Buhari, the PDP has a good chance of defeating the APC convincingly.

Former Nigerian President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ) is now a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He is still a PDP card-carrying member as of the last time we checked. However, reports on the internet claimed that the ruling APC was courting him to defect from the PDP and run for president under its banner.

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The scheme is primarily aimed at ‘coronating’ Jonathan as President, and because he has previously ruled, he is only eligible for a one-term presidency. And when his last constitutional term ended, a northerner would naturally succeed him as Vice-President, propelling another Hausa or Fulani to continue the northern presidential reign.

Jonathan might or might not be aware of this nefarious scheme. His handlers, on the other hand, must make him aware of the implications and consequences. Power is enticing, but it taints good morals. GEJ may not be a saint, but he is a man of integrity.

His six years in Aso Rock will be remembered for a number of historic events, both good and bad. His ascension following the tragic death of then-President Musa Yar’Adua was made possible by the Senate’s unprecedented ‘doctrine of necessity.’ GEJ, aided by that extraordinary constitutional coup, displayed a timidity and myopia never seen before in Nigerian executive power corridors.

He fumbled and wobbled until he was ‘intimidated’ out of the Aso Villa, indicating that he was unprepared for power or the massive task ahead. Corruption, impunity, and opacity flourished as he stumbled and wobbled, unable to provide effective leadership.

Jonathan’s inability to command and control disappointed a lot of people. On numerous occasions, he demonstrated his ineptness and incompetence. Though a gentleman, whatever presidential failures he was associated with were made up for when he patriotically acknowledged his defeat in the polls after the presidential election of 2015. He had demonstrated a rare African quality of statesmanship by doing so.

During his presidency, Jonathan accomplished some good things. In the international exchange mechanism, he was able to keep the Naira stable. The economy performed admirably, propelling the country to the top of Africa’s economic rankings. In an environment where Boko Haram had declared Western education an aberration, he built many modern schools up north, encouraging the many illiterate young northerners to go to school.

However, his legacy was also marred by massive corruption, which continues to reverberate today. We were treated to ‘Dasuki-gate’ and ‘Diezani-gate’ after his exit from the Aso Villa. Even his wife, Dame Patience, has had to deal with the EFCC over graft issues. Many state and non-state actors took advantage of GEJ’s generosity and docility to defraud the country.

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Many undeclared presidential candidates abound in the ruling APC, quietly nursing their ambitions and biding their time. The strongest candidate is Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the former Lagos state governor and godfather, who has not yet declared his candidacy openly.

However, there are subterranean campaigns to this effect taking place across the federation, with many support groups competing to outdo one another. However, the Lagos strongman has stated that he will make his ambition public after conducting extensive consultations.

Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, a proud Lagosian and the current Vice-President, is also vying for the highest executive office. Asiwaju Tinubu could be said to have made Osinbajo —- right from his appointment as Commissioner to the Vice-Presidency in Tinubu’s cabinet in Lagos, but both men’s presidential ambitions threaten to destroy any goodwill that exists between them.

Prof. Osinbajo, like his benefactor, has not made his presidential ambitions clear. However, campaigns are also taking place in the shadows, with anonymous posters being seen in Abuja and elsewhere.

Governor Nyesom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and his gang of governors may well decide who gets what when the time comes. Aminu Tambuwal, the governor of Sokoto, and Bukola Saraki, the former Senate President, may face off against Atiku Abubakar for the party’s flagbearer.

Other opposition politicians from smaller parties must be taken into account. Quality candidates such as African Action Congress (AAC) Comrade Omoyele Sowore and banker Kingsley Muoghalu may want to try again to upstage the establishment, as Emmanuel Macron did in France five years ago. There is no shortage of good presidential materials in Nigeria.

The country’s south-east region is adamant that it will be their turn to produce the President in 2023. However, it appears that no one is paying attention to them or their complaints. The PDP appears to be on the verge of abandoning zoning. And the APC appears to be looking for a successor to Buhari in the south-south or in the Niger Delta region.

Goodluck Jonathan must be wary of any future presidential ambitions backed by the same forces that brought him down in 2015. These political scumbags and criminals would produce nothing good or patriotic. A trial, on the other hand, would persuade him that he should not have tried in the first place.

For all intents and purposes, failure would put an end to his less-than-stellar political career. While his name conjures up images of ‘good’ and ‘luck,’ we wish Ebele of Otueke ‘bad’ luck if he decides to run for president with his Ijaw hat in the ring.

What matters more to us is the emergence of a hale and hearty President post-Buharism, one capable of healing the nation and putting an end to the bloodshed; one capable of redressing the country’s economic meltdown and social tensions.

Above all, that tried and true leader, sound in mind and heart, committed to the country’s restructuring for the benefit of all Nigerians! Greatness will come sooner than expected if the country is well-led from the top.

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As a result, tribe, region, and religion are unimportant. Sectional, regional, and religious politics (all of which Buharism excelled at) have nearly destroyed a beautiful country. After the Buharian retreat and retirement in Daura, whoever comes in must be elected and judged on their competence and patriotism. Not through the prisms of race or religion, either.

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