How did Goodluck Jonathan ascend to power in 2011 despite being from one of the minority groups in Nigeria? Olusegun Adeniyi in his book – ‘Against the run of play’ explains what happened and the key players in the drama that unfolded.
Adeniyi writes about a session convened by the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the First Lady’s Conference Room within the presidential villa.
On the agenda of the meeting was the presidential primaries of the PDP and Goodluck Jonathan’s intention to contest. Below is a list of the people that spoke in support of his intention:
1. Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo
The PDP national chiarman then, Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo presided over the meeting and he spoke first in Jonathan’s support. His strong statement swayed the many people in the room and everyone was ready to support Jonathan, until Chief Isokrari spoke.
2. Chief Ombo Isokrari
After Dr Nwodo spoke, Isokrari also spoke in support of Jonathan, but he lacked diplomacy and caused uproar in the room.
“Isokrari prefaced his remark with the statement that he was speaking not in his private capacity but on behalf of the people of the Niger Delta whose son, he argued should be allowed to contest the 2011 election. He then added that Jonathan had a right to seek re-election for a second term in 2015.”
3. Brigadier-General Samuel Ogbemudia
Ogbemudia had to intervene after Isokrari spoke and to douse the tension in the room, he said that the Chief did not represent the interests of the South-South. He reiterated his support for Jonathan, but said that if Jonathan was supported in 2011, he would not seek re-election in 2015.
4. Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu
Chief Iwuanyanwu spoke next and said he was speaking on behalf of the old eastern Nigeria. He also supported Jonathan and said given the alliances Jonathan had forged with the north, he should be allowed to contest in 2011.
5. Alhaji Mahmud Yayale Ahmed
Alhaji Yayale Ahmed was the first northerner in the room to speak in support of Jonathan. He made it clear that it was more in the nation’s interest to allow an incumbent from the Niger Delta to complete the tenure of the ticket under which he came to power than to preclude him from running.
6. Olusegun Obasanjo
Although Olusegun Obasanjo was not present at this meeting, he had a hand in the decision to support Jonathan. According to Segun Adeniyi, Obasanjo became the arrowheadof the campaign to get Jonathan elected in 2011.
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