The leadership of the New Peoples Democratic Party has¬† said that¬† President Goodluck Jonathan is not qualified to seek re-election in 2015.
The group based its reasons on the 1999 Constitution, an agreement the President¬† entered into and his open statement in Turkey in 2011.
The President had¬† on Monday said that the 1999¬† Constitution allowed¬† him to be in¬† office for a maximum of eight years. ‚ÄúAlready, we have a constitution that makes provision for maximum of eight years for anyone who wants to become a President or a governor.
‚ÄúThere is no President or governor that all citizens vote for but at the end of the election, if somebody emerges, you must allow the person to work.
‚ÄúIf you love your country, you would want your country to work. That does not mean that you will not vote against the person if you don‚Äôt like the way he works, but you must allow him to work,‚Äù President Jonathan had said in the United States of America.
But the New PDP, in¬† a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Chukwuemeka Eze,¬† warned¬† that Jonathan‚Äôs second term ambition was not in the best interest of the country. ‚ÄúAfter reviewing the state of the nation and the pulse of¬† Nigerians, we wish to advise President Jonathan to abandon his plan to seek re-election in 2015 as this¬†¬† is not in the best interest of the country,‚Äù it added.
Admitting that¬† the President had¬† yet to categorically declare his intention to run, the New PDP¬† said¬† he had¬† given enough clues that he¬† would do so.
‚ÄúWe 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.
‚ÄúIn February, 2011 while interacting with Nigerians and diplomats working in the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union in Ankara, Turkey, President Jonathan clearly stated¬† ‚ÄòI would have loved that the Nigerians in¬† the 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,” the NewPDP quoted the president to have said.
The statement said that Mr. President went ahead to add that “Four years is enough for anyone in power to make significant improvement and if I can‚Äôt improve on power within this period, it then means I cannot do anything even if I am there for the next four years.‚Äô
‚ÄúThis is a historical fact which Mr. President himself cannot deny now since he had two years to deny that statement but never did so.‚Äù
It asked the President how he would want Nigerians and the entire world to see him if he eventually makes a U-Turn.
‚ÄúWhy can he not 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?‚Äù
The faction¬† called on the President to heed the advice of well-meaning¬† personalities such as¬† Prof. Ben Nwabueze (SAN) and Archbishop Emeritus of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie, all of whom¬†¬† had advised him to correctly read the handwriting on the wall and stay away from the 2015 presidential race.
While saying that by 2015,¬† Jonathan would have been in office for six years, it added that this was enough time for him to achieve whatever he planned for Nigeria.
It¬† said, ‚ÄúWhat 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‚Äôs 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 USA Think-Tank that Nigeria may disintegrate by 2015. ‚Äú
The group , therefore, appealed to the President ‚Äúto abandon this ill-advised move and save our nation from catastrophe.‚Äù It¬† added¬† that God has been merciful to him by lifting him from being a university teacher to a¬† President
‚ÄúWe urge you Mr. President to listen to the voice of reason and avoid over-stretching your good luck. A word is enough for the wise,‚Äù the New PDP¬† added.
Eze had¬† earlier said that going by the 1999¬† Constitution, the President was not qualified to run in 2015. ‚ÄúOur position is that he is not qualified to run in 2015 because by that time, he would have been in office for six years.
‚ÄúIf he runs in 2015 and rigmaroles himself to power, he would be in office for 10 years by 2019 and the Constitution does not allow that. The President knows this and this was the reason he said in New York that the constitution allows him and the governors to spend eight years and not 10 years as he is plotting now.‚Äù
Eze claimed that¬† some New PDP¬† members¬† were in possession of a document where¬† the President promised not to run in 2015.
‚ÄúWe have fact and figures that the President promised not to run come 2015. At the appropriate time, we will release the document. Let him continue to make noise,‚Äù¬† he added.
Eze said if the President could not honour an agreement he willingly made with people without coercion, it would be difficult to take him seriously.
The Presidency¬† however¬† vowed on Tuesday¬† that nobody or group of individuals, including¬† the New PDP,¬† was¬† capable of stopping¬† Jonathan if he decided to contest the 2015 election.
Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Ahmed Gulak,¬† said¬† unrealisable ambition had blinded members of the New PDP¬† to the extent that they were no longer aware that Nigeria was¬† governed by¬† law.
He said, ‚ÄúThe Abubakar Baraje group (New PDP)¬† is an outlaw as far as the law of this country is concerned. The country is governed by law.
‚ÄúAs far as I am concerned, there is no political crisis in the country. It is a group of few people with unrealisable ambitions that are blinded to the fact that there is a Constitution and there is the Electoral Act.
‚ÄúThese people, supported by the media, are the ones making a storm out of a tea cup.
‚ÄúWhen we reach the bridge, we will cross it. But I will continue to say that nobody or group of individuals, be it the¬† Baraje group or not, can stop Mr. President from contesting 2015 election if he resolves to do so.
‚ÄúStopping him is abridging his constitutional right and it is illegal.‚Äù
Also, the¬† Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the Bamanga Tukur-led PDP, Ibrahim Jalo, said that it¬† was wrong to equate what the President said in New York to mean a declaration of intent to run in 2015.
He¬† said, ‚ÄúThe President has not said he is running in 2015 even though it is his right to do so. The President said the constitution allows him to run for second term; that is correct.
‚ÄúBut let me say that the President still stands by his statement that he would let Nigerians know if he would be running for second term or not, by 2014.
‚ÄúNigerians, especially journalists, should allow the ongoing peace talks(in the PDP) to work out. We should stop misinterpreting the President.‚Äù