Jonathan assembles team for 2011 presidential run

President Goodluck Jonathan has formed the nucleus of the campaign team that is expected to deliver him the presidency in 2011. NEXT can exclusively reveal that the group of 15 members, which includes 9 serving ministers, is being bankrolled by Femi Otedola, the billionaire oil magnate and Abdusamat Rabiu, the sugar merchant .

A source close to the campaign team has disclosed that the most immediate task of the team is to ensure that President Jonathan gets the Peoples Democratic Party ticket in the party primaries in September. The source also confirmed that the campaign will be principally funded by Mr. Otedola.

“Most of the money at the moment is used for mobilization and logistics,” the source said.

According to the source, the campaign team has been meeting every two days in a fervent bid to ensure that their man staves off the PDP’s rotational presidency agreement.

The campaign team is being co-ordinated by President Jonathan’s chief-of-staff, Mike Oghiadomen, and is made up mostly of Northern ministers. President Jonathan’s dream team includes: Adamu Waziri, the agriculture minister, Labaran Maku, state minister of information, Bala Muhammed, FCT minister, Sanusi Daggash, minister of works, Mohammed Bello Adoke, the attorney general of the federation, and Shamsudeen Usman, minister of national planning.

President Jonathan has also included three of his long term associates on the federal executive council: Diezani Allison-Madueke, the petroleum minister, Godsday Orubebe, the Niger Delta Minister and Odein Ajumogobia, the foreign affairs minister.

The non-ministers on the list include Sani Dauda, a businessman with oil and automobile investments and Kashim Bukar, a Kaduna businessman. Namadi Sambo, the vice president is believed to have brought in two of his own trusted associates: Hassan Jumare, Speaker of the Kaduna State House of Assembly and Yakubu Lame, former minister of police affairs under President Yar’Adua.

Northern stronghold

With Messrs Orubebe and Ajumogobia and Ms. Allison-Madueke as the only Southerners in the team, it is clear the North-heavy contingent will be launching a charm offensive to challenge the rotational zoning agreement in 2011. As it stands, leading members of the PDP as well as influential Northern groups remain adamant that the Presidency has been ceded to the region until 2015. This view culminated in a meeting of 150 Northern elders in the federal capital last week. The unyielding stance of the northern group has led many to believe that it may pave the way for Ibrahim Babangida to carry the majority of the North’s PDP backing.

Mr. Jonathan’s administration has moved quickly to impede such an eventuality.

Earlier this week, Mr. Adoke, one of the members of the team, revealed that the committee on the Okigbo report has been constituted. He added that the committee will begin probing the part played by the former head-of-state in the $12.4bn Gulf oil misappropriation. In a separate interview, however, he claimed that he did not know anything about a campaign team for the president.

“Campaign team? No I don’t know anything about it,” he said.


The source further revealed that the team is directly responsible for the Jonathan 2011 campaign posters and billboards which have sprung up across the Abuja metropolis in the past six weeks. According to the source, the idea behind the promotional material is to “sensitise the public” to a re-elected Goodluck Jonathan.

However, according to the source, President Jonathan is not heavily involved in the day-to-day running of the campaign.

“The president does not need to know everything the team is doing,” the source said.

“At this stage he needs a little protecting.”

Power shift

Meanwhile, Isa Yuguda, the governor of Bauchi State, was expected to launch an election campaign this weekend on behalf the president. Mr. Yuguda is the late President Yar’Adua’s son-in-law and was regularly mentioned as a key figure in the now infamous cabal. The move is an indication that support from the north might slowly be swinging in President Jonathan’s favour.

On Thursday, Mr. Jonathan publicly said that a person’s ethnic and religious background should play no part in the upcoming elections, a veiled jab at advocates of the rotational agreement.

Addressing a group of Nigerians during his Canada visit, he said: “We are a country where our leaders tend to play tribal sentiments, saying I am from the South-South; I am from North-west; I am North, I am South, I am a Muslim and I am a Christian.

“All these are selfish motives to make people who probably cannot compete with others… to use these sentiments.”

According to analysts, this statement is the clearest sign yet that Mr. Jonathan is not prepared to allow his party’s zoning formula to deter his presidential aspirations.

Wunmi Sebanjo, an Abuja-based political activist, said that the president is increasingly showing determination to challenge the status quo.

“He has gone from distancing himself from the job to visibly reducing all the obstacles that lie in wait to become elected president,” she said.

“I fully expect the president to run in the PDP primaries and I would be surprised if, by December, there are many political hurdles left for him to scale.”
Source: Next Newspaper –


  1. President Goodluck Jonathan’s action is going to be a watershed in the political history of Nigeria.It is a demonstration of a will to confront the harbingers of underdevelopments,looters of the treasury and promoters of ethnic and religious strives.It is high time we tell Babangida and his Northern cohorts to allow younger Nigerians with fresh ideas and vigour to rule Nigeria irrespective of where they hails from.Imagine Babangida,at Seventy something years,visiting Barack Obama of USA and Cameron of Britain, both in their late fourties,What a shame? Our Poltical gladiators should sit up and step into their rightfull place as elder statemen.

  2. well,i wsh him goodluck as his name implied,but i wil not be disapoint if he lose because if the agreement of their party is zooning.and he too knows that very well but he claimed to be power broker.then i see jonathan as a betrayal if he knows and understand zooning system and he wish to contest,but mind you if jonathan contest for primary whether he win or not under the the unbrella of PDP that means no zooning anymore.and if GOD have destined that PDP are to rule nigeria for the next 100years that means some region will never taste presidency.elder think about what can happen then.verily i know that most nigerian are not happy for babaginda to be president.yet that should not retard us from saying the truth it is northern time.let them finish their tenure in order to avoid many is four years.A WORD IS ENOUGH FOR THE WISE