President Goodluck Jonathan has been urged by the faction of the People’s Democratic Party (nPDP) led by Alhaji Abubakar Baraje, not to contest the 2015 presidential election in order to save the country from a needless crisis.
In a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the nPDP, Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, the group said: “We wish to advise President Jonathan to abandon his plan to seek re-election in 2015 as this ambition of his is not in the best interest of the country.”
It added: “Though he has yet to categorically declare his intention to run, President Jonathan has given enough clues indicating that he is working towards doing so. The latest of such clues came on Sunday in New York, USA.
“Speaking at a luncheon with Nigerian professionals in the United States, President Jonathan insisted that he is eligible to contest in 2015, stating that we have a constitution that makes a provision for a maximum of eight years for anyone who wants to become a president or a governor.”
The New PDP said the disclosure by the president in New York was nothing new as he made a similar claim in April 2012 in his affidavit, in response to the suit instituted at an Abuja High Court by a PDP chieftain, Cyriacus Njoku, seeking to stop him from contesting the 2015 presidential election.
The splinter PDP said it was worried that the president was insisting on running by his body language, in contrast to his previous promise not to do so, and in spite of the wise counsel of well-meaning Nigerians, including respected elder statesmen.
The statement by the New PDP stated further: “In February 2011, while interacting with Nigerians and diplomats working in the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, President Jonathan clearly stated: ‘I would have loved that the Nigerians in Diaspora vote this year (2011) but to be frank with you, that is going to be difficult now. Presently, the law does not allow voting outside Nigeria and so this year, Nigerians in Diaspora will not vote but I will work towards it by 2015, even though I will not be running for election’.”
The faction added that the president went ahead to state: “‘Four years were enough for anyone in power to make significant improvement and if I can’t improve on power within this period, it then means I cannot do anything even if I am there for the next four years’.
“This is a historical fact which Mr. President himself cannot deny now since he had two years to deny that statement but never did so. How does Mr. President want Nigerians and the entire world to see him for this volte face?
“Why can’t he not keep his word as a man of honour instead of allowing himself to be misled by selfish advisers to go back on his word, thereby overheating the polity?
“Mr. President should heed the advice of well-meaning distinguished personalities such as constitutional lawyer, Prof. Ben Nwabueze (SAN) and Archbishop Emeritus of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, His Eminence, Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie, all of whom have advised him to correctly read the handwriting on the wall and stay away from the 2015 presidential race.
“By 2015, President Jonathan would have served our nation for six solid years. This surely is enough time for him to achieve whatever he is capable of doing for Nigeria.
“What else is he looking for that is making him desperate to participate in the 2015 presidential election despite warnings that doing so may spark a chain of events capable of culminating into the country’s disintegration, thereby bringing to pass the predictions of Lord Lugard that Nigeria as a nation by 2014 maybe history, which was later confirmed by the Central Intelligence Agency in the US, that Nigeria may disintegrate by 2015.
“Apart from all these, should President Jonathan contest and win by 2015, it means he would have spent ten years in office and will be sworn in three times as the President of Nigeria against the provisions of the country’s constitution.”
The splinter group appealed to the president to “abandon this ill-advised move and save our nation from catastrophe,” adding “God has been merciful to you, Mr. President, lifting you from being a university teacher to President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in so short a time is something you should be grateful and be contented with.”
The nPDP therefore urged the president to listen to the voice of reason and avoid overstretching his good luck, stating, “A word is enough for the wise.”