The Pan-northern socio-political organisation, Arewa Consultative Forum, has waded into the controversy generated by governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State and asked President Goodluck Jonathan to honour the terms of his “agreement” with PDP governors in 2011 that he won’t seek re-election in 2015.
The ACF said the revelation by Aliyu that Jonathan had an agreement with the Peoples Democratic Party’s governors not to contest in 2015 was not new. It also recalled that the President had at different for a, announced that a single term of four years was enough for him to turn things around in the country.
The ACF acknowledged that Jonathan’s eligibility to participate in the 2015 election was not a constitutional matter “but of honour, trust and confidence.”
National Publicity Secretary of the forum, Mr. Anthony Sani, said, “What the Niger State governor said is not new. This is because Nigerians read in the newspapers at that time that President Jonathan had agreed with the PDP governors to do only one term; and that was why the governors supported him. Such was commonplace knowledge in the media.
“We also read and heard President Jonathan said in Uganda that four years was enough for him to make Nigerians experience a sea of change; and that any president who could not do so in one tenure of four years would not be able to achieve anything , even if given many terms.
“With such commonplace knowledge, most Nigerians would not expect the President to swallow his words of honour and trust in order to contest in 2015 considering that he is an embodiment of national ideals and moral values. It is not a matter of constitutional right but of honour, trust and confidence.”
Sani said Jonathan’s eligibility was also a subject of legal tussle given that some PDP members were challenging his eligibility to contest in 2015 in court, having already taken the oath of office twice.
He said, “According to the members, the said constitution allows for maximum period of eight years and that if the President contest in 2015 and wins he will be in office for more than the maximum of eight years. They cite the cases of the six governors who had reruns and the Supreme Court judgment which made the periods before reruns by the six governors to count. So, they submit that the remaining period of President Ya’Adua which President Jonathan completed should also count.
“In that case, he is not eligible to contest in 2015. The case has not been decided yet. I believe such are some of the dilemmas the President has found himself; the burden of honour, trust and confidence as well as the court case” Sani concluded.