President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday for the first time personally responded to the claim by some governors elected on the platform of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) that he signed an agreement to spend only one term in office saying he did not; either in principle or written form, and challenged those who have the pact to produce the document to back up their claims.
Hopefully, this should put to rest the clamour, especially by the G-7 governors that he should respect the terms of his pact and not seek reelection in 2015.
But Mr. Jonathan, who spoke last night during a Presidential media chat – his fifth since his election in 2011- broadcast on national television and radio station said: “I did not sign agreement with anybody; if I had signed an agreement, they would have shown you.
“What I said in Ethiopia was that should Nigerians agree to a single term of seven years, I would not be part of it so that they would not say I canvassed it in order to spend 12 years in office.
“A lot of people are misinforming Nigerians. I was in Addis Ababa when I advocated for this single tenure. I said if we look at the politics of Nigeria, especially now that the country is just developing…in terms of the political evolution, we started the First Republic, it collapsed, the Second Republic collapsed, the Third Republic collapsed. This is the very first time that we have stayed.
“So, I said if we look at the way we go about our politics, to be productive, definitely if a president wants a tenure of seven years of one term without any interference, he must be productive more than even in the so-called eight years. I advocated for that, people would say the president, having completed the late President Yar’Adua’s tenure and another four years that make it five years, want to serve for another seven year single tenure, that would make it 12 years.”
“If Nigerians agree to that single tenure, I believe it will be more productive for the country because I am thinking more about the country. I did not say oh, Jonathan is or not going to contest election. I discovered that the concept of the single tenure which I was advocating at that time, it was when I was interfacing with some Nigerians in Addis Ababa, that some said I signed an agreement. They should show you the agreement.”
On his 2015 ambition, Mr. Jonathan said it is too early to declare adding that he will be guided by the electoral law.
He said: “We have laws in this country and our electoral laws regulate political activities. It gives the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) time frame to declare campaign open.
“My declaring early will create more problems for the system than solving it. A lot of people have been holding meetings silently but have you heard any of them coming out to say I want to be president or governor?” he asked rhetorically.