The Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje faction of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday reminded President Goodluck Jonathan of his alleged statement made in Ankara, Turkey two years ago that he would not go for a second term. Baraje, therefore, advised the President to shelve his plan to run in 2015.
Baraje quoted the President as speaking to Nigerian professionals and diplomats working in the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Union (AU) in Turkey then.
Alhaji Baraje’s warning was the highlight of his reaction to our report yesterday in which President Jonathan addressed Nigerian professionals in New York, United States on Sunday. The President said the constitution allows him two terms of eight years.
According to Jonathan, ” already, we have a constitution that makes provision for a maximum of eight years for anyone who wants to become a president or a governor.”
But Baraje in a statement yesterday expressed concern over Jonathan’s declaration as he claimed that his ambition could precipitate chaos and ultimately, the disintegration of Nigeria.
“As a patriotic group that cares about the present and future of our great country and which wants President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to succeed, the Abubakar Kawu Baraje-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after reviewing the state of the nation and the pulse of Nigerians, wishes to advise President Jonathan to abandon his plan to seek re-election in 2015 as this ambition is not in the best interest of the country,” he said.
Though he has yet to categorically declare his intention to run, President Jonathan has given enough clue that he is working towards doing so. The latest of such clues came last Sunday in New York.
“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,” he said
Baraje also claimed that Sunday’s declaration by the President was a volte face as he claimed that the latter had in 2011 committed himself to one term.
“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 Ankara, Turkey, 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.
“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,” Baraje quoted the President as saying.
But taking on the President, the PDP faction boss said: “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 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?
“Mr. President should heed the advice of well-meaning distinguished personalities such as constitution expert, 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 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 may be history, which was later confirmed by the USA Think-Tank that Nigeria may disintegrate by 2015,” Baraje said.
The factional PDP national chairman said that the 2015 aspiration of the sitting President was against the provisions of 1999 Constitution.
“Apart from all these, should President Jonathan contest and win by 2015, it means he would have spent 10 years in office and will be sworn in three times as the President of Nigeria against the provisions of the country’s constitution.
“We wish to appeal to Mr. President to abandon this ill-advised move and save our nation from catastrophe.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.
“We urge you Mr. President to listen to the voice of reason and avoid overstretching your good luck. A word is enough for the wise!”, he advised.