‘Nigeria’ll plunge into violence, anarchy if Jonathan, others contest 2015 elections’

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Northern delegates at the on- going National Conference have threatened that if President Goodluck Jonathan presents himself for re- election in the 2015 presidential election, it would plunge the country into political chaos.

The delegates alleged that the draft Constitution as prepared by the Justice Idris Kutigi led Secretariat was a third term agenda designed primarily to allow for President Jonathan, other incumbent elective office holders whom they alleged as not qualified to contest to run for the election.

They warned that if allowed to sail through, it has the potential of throwing the country into violence and anarchy.

Addressing Journalists Tuesday at Gombe Jewel Hotel, Wuse 11, Abuja, Chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF and former Inspector General of Police, IGP, Ibrahim Coomasie warned that if the document which he described as a third term agenda was not killed at the conference, it would like in 2005, lead to anarchy, violence and chaos.

The northern delegates who distanced themselves from the draft Constitution, however noted that its appearance on Monday was a surprise to them stressing that as members of the National Conference and by constitution, it was not within the purview of delegates to draft a new constitution, adding that the document was illegal

“Given the observation under (iv) above, adopting a new Constitution is therefore calculated to enable incumbent elective office holders who are statute-barred from going for 3rd Term at both Federal and State levels, to run for offices again under the guise of running under a new Constitution.

“This will also have the consequential effect of depriving aspiring politicians from all political parties, as well as all Nigerians, of their rights to choices and preferences as enshrined in the constitution.

“If not arrested, the 3rd Term agenda, as in the past (2005), is capable of plunging Nigeria into another circle of political chaos with potential of violence and anarchy.

“We, Northern Delegates to the Conference wish to assure patriotic Nigerians, and all lovers of democracy, that we are neither privy to, nor were we accessory to the emergence of the controversial “New Draft Constitution 2014″.

“We, therefore, unequivocally disown it, and emphatically disassociate ourselves from it. Accordingly, we will have nothing to do with it, for the following legal, moral and political reasons:

“Delegates to the conference were not elected, and therefore lack both legal, and moral authority to draft a new constitution for the Nigerian Federation. Rather, we were constituted to serve as an ad hoc advisory mechanism for to The President, as representatives of broad interests across the federation, and cannot, therefore, legally arrogate ourselves the far-reaching function of making a “new” constitution for the Federal Republic of Nigeria. That can only be done by an appropriately constituted Constituent Assembly.

“The Secretariat of the Conference has indicated in chapter 7 of the draft Report Vol. 1 that the so called ‘new Constitution’ is to be brought into effect through a national referendum to be specifically held for the purpose.

“To this we say, without any fear of contradiction, that there is no legal provision in our Constitution for the holding of such a referendum. The reference to a referendum, made by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in his inauguration address at the National Conference on 17th March 2014, was purely speculative, as it was predicated on the National Assembly introducing a provision in the Constitution that will permit the holding of referendum.

“… if at the end of the de liberation the need for a referendum arises”. We want to say, with authority, that such a proposal has since been turned down by the National Assembly. Inquiries at both the Senate and House of Representatives have since shown that efforts at tabling the case for referendum, through private member-bills, were rejected twice, and cannot, therefore, be reintroduced in the life of the present Senate.

“From the foregoing, it is now abundantly clear that the conference has been infiltrated by fifth -columnists whose goal is to subvert democratic processes and plunge the country into deeper, but avoidable political Crisis.
(iv) To all intent and purposes, the introduction of a “new Constitution 2014″ for Nigeria, is a calculated attempt by some people to take advantage of Court of Appeal’s ruling in 2003, as delivered by Justice George Adesola Oguntade, (JCA as he then was) in the celebrated case of Attorney-General of the Federation Vs. ANPP, and Others (A.G, Fed. v. A.N.P.P. [2003] 15 NWLR (Pt. 844).

“Wherein Governor Abubakar Abdu of Kogi State (then) was challenged over his eligibility to run for a second term in 2003, having had a first term which ended in May 2003. The contention was that having been champion and uphold democratic principles, as enshrined in the constitution and other legitimate sources of law-making,”
Coomasie said.

It would be recalled that as delegates resumed plenary on Monday after a month break, the Conference Secretariat prepared a draft Constitution to be sent to the National Assembly which was distributed along side the Bill and two volumes of the final report of the Conference to delegates. It contained some alterations in the Constitution as part of the recommendations during Committee sittings and plenary.

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