Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Nobody can stop Jonathan from contesting 2015 election – CLARK

AHEAD of 2015 Presidential election, former Federal Commissioner for
Information and Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, yesterday, reiterated
that nobody in Nigeria can stop President Goodluck Jonathan from
The elder statesman who noted that Nigeria belongs to all and no tribe
can boast of its superiority over others, stressed that it was not
speculation that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, will adopt
President Jonathan as its sole candidate.
Speaking when he received a delegation of second Republic House of
Representatives members who paid him a visit at his Asokoro residence
inAbuja, Chief Clark maintained that Nigerian citizens were equal and
can aspire to the highest office in this country, adding that the
person should remain in office in line with the Constitution of the
According to him, in civilised democracies where the minority and
majorityethnic groups exist, it has never been the prerogative of the
majority ethnic group to lord it over the minorities.
He said: "For instance, in Great Britain from whom we got our
independence, there are the English, the Welsh and the Scottish. The
English are the majority, followed by the Scottish and then the Welsh.
Each of these ethnic groups has produced the Prime Minister of Great
Britain based on the quality of the candidate. In fact, in recent
times the Scottish has come to produce more Prime Ministers than the
English whoare the majority."
Chief Clark who noted that it was the constitutional right of
President Jonathan to contest for re-election in 2015, said, "The
Constitution provided for two terms. In 1979, Shehu Shagari from the
North was president until 1983 when he got his second term but Buhari
for reasonsbest known to them, they thought that at the end of his
second ruling he will hand over to Ekwueme or to Akinloye. They then
staged a coup and drove him (Shagari) away and imprisoned all the
politicians. Who took over? Another Northerner.
" The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides
for two tenures of four years each after two democratically conducted
elections. Apart from the illegality of the purported agreement with
the northern state governors, such a mindset violates the letter and
spirit of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as
amended. There is no speculation that the PDP is planning to impose
President Jonathan as the sole candidate of the party in the upcoming
"The practice in democratic presidential system of government is that
an incumbent president remains the sole candidate of a political party
at theparty's convention, if he or she is willing to contest for a
second term in office. This is the practice in the United States of
America from where Nigeria copied her own model of the presidential
system of government.
"When the American type of presidential system was adopted in Nigeria
in 1978/1979, former President Shehu Shagari was the sole candidate of
the National Party of Nigeria, NPN, when he chose to run for a
secondtenure in the 1983 Presidential election. Or do you think there
was dearth of qualified candidates in that era? Note that in the words
of Dr. K. O. Mbadiwe, 'the NPN had many men of timber and calibre who
were ready to contest the presidential primaries if Alhaji Shehu
Shagari had not indicated his intention to contest.'
"The list is endless. In 2003, it was only through the instigation of
somegovernors led by Chief James Onanefe Ibori who were disappointed
that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar stepped down for his boss, Chief Olusegun
Obasanjo that Dr. Alex Ekwueme was persuaded to contest the
presidential primaries against the party's decision. However, he was
defeated by President Obasanjo who had the party's blessings.
"To lend credence to the fact that a sitting president is entitled to
a second term, the ambitious and unpatriotic governors and some
Northern conservative politicians confirmed this constitutional
provision by saying that it was the second term of the late President
Umaru Musa Yar'Adua that the North wanted to complete in 2011. In
other words, late PresidentYar'Adua was entitled to eight years in
office but Dr. Jonathan is entitledto only a single term contrary to
the 1999 Constitution. Is that not double standard? What a shame!
He, therefore, called on Nigerians to support President Jonathan and
his transformation agenda which he said was for the interest of the
Leader of the delegation, Umar Lawan said they came to celebrate with
Clark on his 86 birthday and express the willingness of his members to
support Jonathan's re-election in 2015 giving his outstanding
achievements in office.

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