The news media reported on Tuesday afternoon that bigwigs of the regime and of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] were converging at the Presidential Villa as the election results indicated that they were going down to defeat. It was a big body blow to a party that has ruled Nigeria since the return to civilian rule in 1999 and that once boasted that it will rule for 60 years.What could the bigwigs have been discussing in that meeting? Most certainly they were commiserating with President Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo over the election defeat. They are likely to blame everyone but themselves for the defeat; most certainly they will blame INEC and its card readers. It is not clear at what point President Jonathan took the decision to phone President-elect Muhammadu Buhari and concede victory. He has been under intense pressure locally and internationally to accept the election results as announced. The local peace committee led by General Abdulsalami Abubakar, comprising eminent persons such as Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad and John Cardinal Onaiyekan also played a key role in averting post-election crisis.With the concession phone call which he made even before the final results were declared by INEC, Jonathan salvaged a lot of his reputation. The international community will view his action very favourably. Locally too, it will give him the breathing space to do what he can in the remaining eight weeks of his tenure. Right now PDP bigwigs are concerned about next week’s governorship and state assemblies’ election. Having lost the presidency and control of both chambers of the National Assembly, their party risks political obliteration unless it can save as much governorship seats as possible next week. Jonathan might personally care less since his political career is effectively over. After all, in 2011 when the president and National Assembly collaborated and foisted on INEC an election order that brought presidential and national assembly elections before governorship polls, it was clear what the risks were if the party somehow fails to win the presidency. They put their personal interest above that of the party and country. The worst has now happened; APC is now set to reap the bandwagon whirlwind in the next election. Election apart, the most important governance item on Jonathan’s table is to complete the Boko Haram war before he leaves office. The war made spectacular progress in the six weeks’ election postponement period. With the aid of our neighbours the Nigeria Army has recaptured all major towns held by Boko Haram. The last town to be liberated was Gwoza, which was freed a day before the presidential election. While Boko Haram has been greatly crippled it is still far from being finished. Remnants of its fighters have fled to the Mandara Mountains bordering Cameroon while many others continue to terrorise remote villages in Borno State. Chadian President Idris Deby also said that Boko Haram managed to reoccupy some towns due to the Nigerian military’s preoccupation with elections. How much commitment will Jonathan show in this war in his remaining two months in office? He might try to brighten his record by finishing off Boko Haram or he might slacken on it since the army’s rapid advances did not secure for him any electoral advantages that he wished for. Jonathan will also try to end fuel shortages that crept up in recent weeks. The president has some uncompleted pet projects such as the East-West road, the Second Niger Bridge at Onitsha and several rail rehabilitation projects but none of these can be completed before May ending. President Jonathan might also push the National Assembly to pass the 2015 budget and if possible the Petroleum Industry Bill [PIB] before his tenure ends.The Jonathan Administration has tried to keep in check the consequences of the collapse of international oil prices which severely reduced government revenue. The most visible effect so far has been the steep slide of the naira. Otherwise the government managed to keep a lid on other areas such as salary payments. With the elections over, Jonathan may find no further need to shield Nigerians from the consequences of the oil price collapse. Or he might try to do so for another two months and allow matters to explode in the incoming president’s face.Beyond those there are few if any big ticket policy items left on Jonathan’s table to be cleared before the handover. There are however some sensitive political items left to be cleared. One of such is the last minute multi-billion naira pipeline safety contracts given to ex-Niger Delta militants and factional OPC chieftain Gani Adams. Given the likelihood that the Buhari Administration will revoke such contracts and revert pipeline protection duty back to the security agencies the ex-militants will mount pressure on Jonathan to pay them in advance. Given the notorious Nigerian tradition of “reviewing” contracts awarded by a previous regime, outgoing regimes are always under heavy pressure to pay contractors before they hand over. Even though the 2015 Federal budget is yet to be passed, there is likely to be a rush by ministries and agencies to pay favoured contractors before the regime hands over. This could well be the pre-occupation of the Jonathan regime in the last eight weeks of its term in office.
If you are happy to be contacted by a Daily Trust journalist please leave a telephone
number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will
be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state
otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures,
video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others,
take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the
terms and conditions.