The “New PDP” said it decided to advise the president against seeking reelection after reviewing the state of the nation and gauging the pulse of Nigerians on his 2015 ambition, saying doing so would be against the interest of the country and its people.
This would be the first time that the Baraje faction would publicly call on Mr. Jonathan to shelve his reelection bid thereby confirming speculations that the crisis in the ruling party is all about the 2015 presidential election.
In a statement issued on Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Chukwuemeka Eze, the faction noted that the president’s body language has betrayed his interest in seeking a second term in office although he has not categorically declared it to Nigerians.
“The latest of such clues came on Sunday in New York, United States. Speaking at a luncheon with Nigerian professionals in the U.S, President Jonathan insisted that he is eligible to contest in 2015 as 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 faction said.
The Baraje faction observed that the President had made a similar statement in April 2012, in an affidavit in response to a suit instituted at an Abuja High Court by a PDP chieftain, Cyriacus Njoku, seeking to stop him from contesting the 2015 presidential election on the grounds that he was ineligible to contest after purportedly taking the Oath of Office and Oath of Allegiance twice.
Although the High Court cleared President Jonathan to run for another term of four years if he so wishes based on the express provision of Section 137 (b) of the 1999 Constitution (as Amended), Njoku took the matter to the Court of Appeal, where the case is still pending determination.
But the PDP faction said, “We are worried that Mr. President is intent on running despite his earlier promise not to do so and in spite of the wise counsel of well-meaning Nigerians, including respected elder statesmen.
The faction reminded Mr. Jonathan of a statement he made in Ankara, Turkey in February 2011, during an interactive session with Nigerians and diplomats working in the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Union (AU).
The statement quoted the president as saying, “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 the 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.”
It also quoted the President to have said further, “Four years is 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.”
The Baraje faction said there was no way President Jonathan could deny his own statements at this point in time, since he failed to deny the statements over the past two years.
“How does Mr. President want Nigerians and the entire world to see him for this volte face? Why can’t he keep his words as a man of honour instead of allowing himself to be misled by selfish advisers to go back on his words, thereby overheating the polity,” the statement added.