For advising President Goodluck Jonathan not to run in 2015, former Minister of Education and leader of the Patriots, Prof Ben Nwabueze has incurred the wrath of the elders from the Niger Delta region.
Addressing newsmen at the weekend under the umbrella of South-south Peoples Assembly (SSPA), acting national chairman of the Edwin Clark-led group, Idongesit Nkanga, a retired Commodore, said the renowned constitutional lawyer lacks moral right to advise the President to shelve his 2015 ambition.
The Niger Delta elders insisted that it was wrong for Prof Nwabueze to have spoken with State House correspondents about 2015 when the issue did not come up during the Patriots’ discussion with the President.
The legal luminary had told reporters on Thursday after the Patriots held closed door talks with President Jonathan at the Presidential Villa that he stood by his words that the President should not run in 2015.
He however, emphasized that it was his personal view which had earlier been expressed, adding that 2015 did not come up in their discussion with their host, Jonathan.
The SSPA acting chairman noted that Prof Nwabueze has been an ardent critic of President Jonathan, recalling how he led people to protest against the fuel subsidy removal in 2011.
Mr. Nkanga stated, “Our investigations revealed that the issue of whether President Jonathan should contest the presidential elections in 2015 was never part of the discussions during the courtesy visit.
“If indeed so, what is the intent of the Patriots, by choosing to deliberately misrepresent and mislead Nigerians? To brief the State House Press what was not discuss during a courtesy visit to Mr. President is uncharitable, unpatriotic, dishonest and demeaning of respected statesman.
“As a constitutional lawyer, we had expected Prof. Ben Nwabueze to understand the workings of a presidential democratic government better than anybody else. The transformation agenda which he has fallen in love with is the initiative of President Jonathan and it has become a cardinal article of government by the ruling party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“Since Prof. Nwabueze admits that President Jonathan is doing a good job with the transformation of the country, it is only germane that Nigerians reward President Jonathan with a new mandate for his commitment and resilience.
“Whereas, Prof. Nwabueze out of sheer mischief says President Jonathan would be a hero if he concentrates on tea storming Nigeria without re-contesting in 2015, we hold the opinion that President Jonathan would become a greater hero if in response to Nigerians new mandate in 2015 he implements diligently his transformation program through 2019.
“Therefore, Prof. Nwabueze’s call that President Jonathan should not contest in 2015 is not only disservice to equity and justice but smacks of indignity of an elder statesman whose sense of patriotic judgment is blurred. It would perhaps be necessary to remind Prof. Nwabueze that the transformation agenda which he admits Nigeria direly needs is President Jonathan’s brainchild and that makes him a visionary leader.
“So, what in the thinking of Prof. Nwabueze would undermine President Jonathan’s authority for national transformation if he chooses to contest re- election in 2015? We wish to remind our respected Prof. Nwabueze that the challenges of leadership, particularly in a heterogeneous society like Nigeria requires humble, patient and listening leaders like President Jonathan and not self-confessed apostles of I know it all”.
The SSPA elders also lambasted Nwabueze, recalling that his tenure as Minister of Education under Ibrahim Babangida, was “chaotic, turbulent and abysmal failure, adding that they were not surprise that “Prof. Ben Nwabueze and his Patriots would follow this unpatriotic path”.
The group stated further, “This is not the first time Prof. Nwabueze has exposed the pangs of hatred against the administration of President Jonathan. He has at a various times publicly declared that President Jonathan was unfit to govern Nigeria and therefore should not contest for re-election in 2015. We are also not in a hurry to forget how he led other “so called” Patriots to march on the street of Lagos on the issue of fuel subsidy removal in 2012.
“Prof. Nwabueze has been an ardent critic of Jonathan administration and as such his recent call is a further expression of his hate for President Jonathan and all that the administration stands for”.
While condemning the proposed political summit tagged “Project Nigeria” being championed by Prof Nwabueze, the south-south elders called on prominent people from the Niger Delta to boycott the summit.
“What Nigerians need at this critical stage of our national life is not a two day political jamboree in the name of political summit? Given Prof. Nwabueze’s penchant to denigrate President Jonathan’s administration at every given opportunity, we are not convinced that the motives behind the proposed Uyo summit are altruistic.
“We therefore, call on all patriotic sons and daughters from the South-South zone to boycott the Uyo summit. It is abominable for a stranger to shave the hair of our son in our own abode. “The South-South Peoples Assembly will not tolerate Prof. Nwabueze and his group, in exercise of freedom of speech and expression, to use a platform funded with the resources from the south-south to throw tirades and salvos at the administration of our son, President Goodluck Jonathan, a man Prof. Nwabueze unrepentantly believes is unfit to provide Nigeria leadership.”