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Tope Adaramola
 Published February 15th, 2011

Ordinarily, one could pardon occasional verbal slips of President Goodluck Jonathan when he mounts the political campaign podium to canvas for the hard- to- get support for the Peoples Democratic Party come April 2011 General elections. The reason is not far- fetched: the President had hardly been the arrow-head of any rigorous campaign for political office since the beginning of his political ascendancy. Providentially, someone had to do it for him as a Deputy-Governor turned Governor and later Vice- President turned President.

But with the onus of bearing the Presidential flag of the beleaguered PDP thrust on him, the President should now know that electioneering campaign and strategy is an art in itself. Every word, body language and composure on the podium matter as they go a long way in getting an intending political office holder closer to his goal or far away from it.

The recent utterance of President Jonathan in Ibadan, during the flag off of   his campaign in the South West does not only underscore Mr President’s minus in the use of words, but also knocked the bottom off the optimism that gutter snipping and mudslinging would for once be reduced in the nation’s political campaign strategy. Jonathan was reported to have affirmed PDP’s readiness to recover the states of Lagos, Ekiti, Osun and Ondo States from “rascals”. Although the strategy the party intended to utilise in achieving this uphill task was not yet revealed by the PDP flag bearer, one could insinuate that this may not exclude the “do or die” approach of his political God father, President(General) Olusegun Obasanjo four years ago .How this will happen in a free and fair election in the South West still remains a logic understandable only to the PDP, as citizens of almost of all those states referred to by President for capture are already basking in the air of freedom from the PDP strangle holds which had taken them backwards for at least 10 years.

It still remains a puzzle why Jonathan, supposedly cerebral, would refer to the Governors in charge of his target states as rascals. How can Mimiko, a Medical Doctor; Fashola, an accomplished Senior Advocate of Nigeria; Aregbesola, an Engineer, and Fayemi, a PhD holder like Jonathan himself, as well as a successful academic be qualified with the adjective of a “rascal” by Jonathan in his vociferous thirst for votes in the South West. If the adjective of Jonathan has exact description of these great and resourceful Governors, then one could submit that the entire South West is actually in need of more of these “positive rascals” to return the entire region to the pride of place that it was ab initio. At the moment, Nigerians could see with their eyes what has become of the remaining two states- Oyo and Ogun- under the control of the PDP. The citizens there are groaning for change from the high level social, economic and infrastructural regression they are made to live under in the last eight years.

Well, even if we pardon Jonathan’s malapropism on the ground that such action usually characterises the dilemma of a public speaker struggling to convey a burning heart desire or burden in the right words, the fact that is deductible is that the entire South West is in  dire need of “positive rascals” to salvage the region from the political cankerworms holding sway and help it re-affirm its pride of place as the most vibrant sub- region in Nigeria.

Tope Adaramola

Is a public affairs commentator       

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