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Ex-Minister Jerry Gana Throws Hat Into Nigeria’s Presidential Race : Analysing His Chances


The Oasis Reporters

July 13, 2018

72 year old former Minister of Information, Professor Jerry Gana wants to be the 2019 presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP.
He wants to slug it out with fellow octogenarian, President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, APC. They won’t be alone for their age colleague, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar looks formidable enough to snatch the People’s Democratic Party, PDP ticket.

Gana, who purchased the presidential nomination form of the SDP for N1m at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja Thursday, said he decided to run because the All Progressives Congress, APC under President Muhammadu Buhari has failed to show leadership.

The SDP is a member of the coalition of opposition political parties that signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to defeat President Muhammadu Buhari.

“With the utmost sense of responsibility and honour, I hereby express my well-considered interest to aspire as the presidential candidate of the SDP, with a view to ultimately contest in the forthcoming presidential elections in 2019.

“Being a patriotic and committed democrat who has carried a burden for the rapid, effective and even development of our dear nation for decades, I am deeply concerned with the very real prospect of Nigeria imploding unless our great party comes to the rescue with a God-fearing, dynamic leadership.

“Nigeria is facing an existential threat, the seriousness and proportion of which have never been witnessed since the end of the civil war,” he said.

Political pundits aver that if the race remains strictly for octogenarians, it would be about time, for Prof. Jerry Gana to indeed, step forward and take his place. The odds would likely be in his favor.

First, when the mainstream National Party Of Nigeria, NPN zoned the presidency to the north in the Second Republic in 1979, Alhaji Shehu Aliyu Shagari took it. He’s Muslim, and Fulani from the North West.

The next time the presidency went back to the north, Umaru Musa Yar’adua of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, became President. He too, is Muslim, also Fulani and equally from the North West.

In this dispensation too, on behalf of the North, the presidency is headed by yet again, another Fulani Muslim, Muhammadu Buhari and he’s also from the North West.
The PDP is searching for a candidate from the North to slug it out with Buhari and so far, all the prime leading candidates are Fulani.

But are they the only tribe in the North? Or the most numerous?
The answer is ‘No’.

Jerry Gana candidacy would stand in good stead for the politically marginalized Northern minority tribes, many clusters of them, being Christians. They say that they’ve played second fiddle for far too long, with nothing positive to show for it.

Especially now that the present regime has proven that it is first and foremost, pursuing the linear interests of the ruling tribe. More so as the other tribes are being killed in large numbers by elements suspected to be militia of the ethnic Fulani herdsmen with little or nothing being done to protect them in the middle belt region of the same North. President Buhari is agitating to get farmlands from other tribes to resettle Fulani herdsmen whose kinsmen are said to be invading Nigeria from other West African countries with deadly weapons, united by their common Fulbe, or Fulani tribe, language and culture.

Besides, of all the candidates that may emerge from the Christian North, many have had brushes with Fulani herdsmen and would therefore not be trusted by the largely influential herdsmen.
Therefore an urbane and suave Professor Gana candidature, from Niger state may seem compelling. Unlike former Governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang, who is deeply resented by the Fulani.

Jerry Gana would get a wide range of broadbased support from the entire South, the Middle belt and even the largely Muslim North because of his close rapport with the leaders and the people.

Therefore in the absence of any younger candidate with mass appeal, Jerry Gana seems good to go. Nigeria would then have, for the first time, a Christian northerner as president since the presidential system commenced in 1979.

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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