By: Sunday Oyewole
As controversy continued to trail the purported agreement said to have been signed by President Goolduck Jonathan not to re-contest in 2015, the President has challenged the Governors claiming that he signed such agreement to produce a copy.
Speaking at a Presidential media chat on Sunday night, the President dismissed the claim, saying those spreading the falsehood were only misinforming Nigerians.
“No, I didn’t sign any such agreement. If I had signed an agreement with anybody, they would have shown you. A lot of people are misinforming Nigerians. I was in Addis Ababa when I advocated for single tenure.
“It was when I was interfacing with some Nigerians in Addis Ababa, that some said I signed an agreement. They should show you the agreement,” he challenged.
Some of the seven aggrieved governors that have aligned with the new PDP have been alleged that the President in 2011 signed an agreement to do only a term in office.
Asked by the panel if he is nursing a second term ambition in 2015, President Jonathan insisted it would be too early to do so, preferring to carry on with the huge task of governance for now until the appropriate time,
He also added that those who have ambition to run for elective offices should not wait for the incumbent, whether President or Governor to kick-start their preparation for as long as it does not contravene the electoral laws.
“Our electoral laws prescribe guidelines for political activities. Before the president of Ghana died, I visited him and I read the papers. And I noticed that out of curiosity for elections, his own ministers had started campaigned very early. Of course they don’t have restriction. So the electoral laws give time frame for political parties and those who are interested in elections to begin to inform Nigerians.
“But if you do so earlier you would destabilize the polity. Whether it is President Goodluck Jonathan or any other people, if you declare early enough, you create more problems in the system than solve the problems. If you say you are contesting or not, you create more problems. So, don’t even force the president to declare his interest.
“It is not right. It is even against the electoral laws. Electoral laws stipulate the time that political parties will conduct their primaries. Whatever you are doing is about time…even after the 2011 elections, I directed that every billboard should be removed, and if somebody has gone to erect the billboard, I am hearing for the first time. We are talking about development.”
“Whether I am contesting or not should not be an issue in a normal society. If anybody wants to be President of Nigeria, he will contest whether I am contesting or not. My not declaring my interest does not stop or prevent him from contesting. You don’t have to wait until I, Jonathan, say I am not contesting an election. If you are interested, go and be preparing. You don’t need to wait for me to say I am not contesting.
“If you want to contest governorship election in a state where the sitting governor still has the opportunity to re-contest, you don’t have to wait for the governor to say he is not contesting or he is contesting. Members of the National Assembly, by law, have no limit to the number of times to contest elections.
“People are preparing to contest Senate, House of Representatives and House of Assembly seats, and they have not asked them whether they are contesting or not? So if you want to contest, you don’t need to come out and say Jonathan must declare whether he is contesting or not,” the President said.