Nigeria: Senator Mark tipped to head ‘transitional government’ – via Africa Confidential

David Mark

June 15, 2014

UK-based influential publication, Africa Confidential, has tipped Nigeria’s Senate President David Mark to head a “transitional national government”.

In an analysis posted on its website on June 13, 2014, the publication said: “Should (President Goodluck) Jonathan stumble, jump or be pushed, a groundswell is building for some form of transitional government to tackle both the security crisis and the flagging morale of the military.” It did not say where the “groundswell” was building ─ in the military or political class ─ but made references to “ominous rumblings in the military”.

An Aso Rock insider has dismissed the report as “absolute nonsense”. The publication described the “David Mark scenario” as one of the “messier options” before Nigeria, saying unnamed politicians “in Abuja think that Jonathan won’t win the PDP presidential nomination for next year’s elections, while others say he won’t even manage to hold on to power until the vote”.

It said political confidence in Jonathan’s government is declining in the face of the Boko Haram insurgency, describing the senate president as taking a harder line against the militants “than his counterparts at the top of government”. “He is also, we hear, outraged by the current state of the armed forces, whose soldiers say they lack basic supplies and weaponry,” Africa Confidential wrote.

The publication was ambiguous on many issues ─ especially how a transitional government will legitimately emerge given the constitutional processes involved in democratic transfer of power in Nigeria. However, it hinted at a possible deadlock ahead of the 2015 presidential election, quoting “political insiders” as saying that “Jonathan won’t get the votes, state by state, to win the party’s presidential primaries but they don’t yet have a clear idea of who could”.

A senior presidency official, who declined to be named, described the report as “kite flying” and an attempt to sell “a warped agenda” to the international community. “The premises are faulty and the conclusion is absolute nonsense,” he told TheCable. “

“There is no space for transitional government in our constitution. Even if the president decides not to run, there are other members of the PDP who can run. The conclusion that David Mark will end a transitional government is ridiculous.”

Africa Confidential prides itself as a specialist publication with “continent-wide, on-the-ground coverage” which enables it to identify and monitor upcoming issues “long before they are picked up by the general media and analyse their real significance for our readers”.

It was established in 1960.

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