West and North Africa
2015 Presidency: I’m Under Pressure To Run – Goodluck Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday, admitted that he was under pressure to seek a second term in office, saying, over 1665 campaign groups have volunteered to work for his re-election in 2015.
The president however said the pressure notwithstanding, he would have to wait until 2014 before making his decision known to Nigerians.
The president’s presumed second term bid has been the thrust of the festering crisis in the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
He has also consistently reminded Nigerians that talks about 2015 elections were distractive and would not comment on such.
But the leadership of the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, has restated its determination to wrest political power from the PDP.
There will be a change of guard in 2015, the party said yesterday. Besides, the APC said it was putting all efforts to ensure that rigging was stopped at all cost even as the party raised the alarm that its members were being deregistered in Anambra state ahead of the November 16 governorship election.
Regardless, President Jonathan who spoke through his special adviser on political matters, Ali Ahmed Gulak said, even Nigerians abroad are “burning in unquenchable desire to return to the country and cast their votes for the ruling PDP come 2015”.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja at a meeting of the Elders’ Advisory Council of the Goodluck Support Group (GSG), Gulak said, despite the pressure on his boss, Nigerians would still have to wait until next year for the president to decide, even as he maintained that Jonathan’s only concern for now was on fixing the nation’s economy.
He said: “Since our last meeting, we have received various support groups being coordinated by the GSG. We have, as of today, 1665. The last to visit was the Ochendo Solidarity Movement from Abia State.
About 150 (groups) of them came to this office. We discussed. They have called on Mr. President to declare his intention. They said that they were not flattering.
“The President had told the whole nation that his intention would only be known in 2014, as he would use all these years to work for Nigeria and work for Nigeria and work for Nigeria”, he added, noting that Nigerians in the Diaspora had been enthusiastic about the organisation when it launched its US branch.
“They told us that they would not only stick to vote, but they would mobilize themselves to come back and register and also ask their relatives to vote for PDP.
“There is no alternative to President Jonathan come 2015, based on GSG interactions with different political, cultural and religious associations,’’ he said.
The Chairman, Council of Elders of the GSG, Sen. Ibrahim Mantu, said many politicians in the country want to be identified with the good works of President Jonathan.
He said “many Nigerians are indeed happy with what is happening at the moment, everybody want to be part of the success story of the current administration,’’ Mantu said.
There’ll be change in 2015 – APC
Reacting, the Interim National Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Tijjani Musa Tumsah told Leadership Friday that “it is regrettable that in spite of his dismal performance, Jonathan still wants to run. We are not bothered”, he continued, “Because we are sure that there will be a change in 2015”.
APC will restore sanity in the country – Buhari
Former head of state, General Muhammadu Buhari, said the aim of the leadership of the APC is to stop the drift and chaos that characterized the country and restore sanity back into the country.
But 12 hours earlier, the APC was expressing optimism that it would take over the reins of government in 2015 at a special dinner organized by the Progressive Governors Forum in Abuja to support the candidate of the party for the Anambra governorship poll, Senator Chris Ngige.
Former head of state and leader of the party, General Mohammadu Buhari reminded the party faithful of the great task ahead of them and lamented the situation the country was pushed into by the leadership of the PDP since 1999 and called on them to forget their differences and wrestle the power from the PDP.
“Our aim is to stop the drift and slide to chaos. Our vision is to get our acts together, pull the country together, select the very best and most capable people to manage our affairs and our resources so that in due course, we will bring Nigeria out of conflict and poverty into peace and prosperity.
“We should make no mistake that this is an historic occasion and we are living in historic times. Our dear country is undergoing realignment, a re-configuration and a re-positioning of political forces. We are witnessing a landslide or a political earthquake of epic proportions. Old alliances are being questioned; new alliances are being forged.
“Nigerians, old and young, men and women, politicians and non-politicians are watching with great expectations that this movement will turn Nigeria around. Our neighbours in the West Africa sub-region are anxiously watching and hoping that this may be the time when Nigeria will, at last get its act together and provide leadership and direction for the African continent.”
Speaking further, he said, “The international community is equally watching to see if this potentially sizeable security and trading partner called Nigeria can pull herself together and play her proper role in world affairs.”
The former presidential candidate of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change traced the crises in the polity to the adventure of PDP to power in 1999 and passed a vote of no confidence on the Presidency. He said it was this that led the opposition to team up and fight the ruling party.
“These doubts and uncertainties we find ourselves is causing everyone to scratch his or her head for solutions are as a result of extreme bad government at the centre since 1999. The Federal Government is clueless with no direction; speaking from both sides of its mouth; looking both ways at once and missing the point almost every time.
This is the background and rationale for the merger of opposition political parties. The trigger is persistent election rigging. Elections since 2003 have been massively rigged”.
Speaking on the proposed national confab, Buhari described it as a joker thrown into the political arena by the government. He argued that there was nothing wrong basically in dialogue but “the snag is whether the conference has been conceived in good faith or not” adding “we in APC think not. We suspect it is an attempt to muddle the waters, to befuddle the issues and to mask the failures of a clueless government.”
Speaking at the same occasion, former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu tasked the APC leaders to rise up to the occasion by teaming up and mounting pressure on the PDP government and wresting power from them. According to him; “power is not served as a dinner, you have to go for it”.
He said:”We must rise up and challenge the ruling party. Enough of impunity, whatever we must do to assist the National Assembly in its attempt to remove some obnoxious sections of the Electoral Act must be done. We must rescue Nigeria from these people. If Nigeria must survive, we have a work to do. We must serve them before they serve us.”
The APC also raised an alarm that its members in Anambra were being de-registered ahead of the forth-coming governorship election even as it has set up some ad-hoc committees for the 2015 general election.
Briefing journalists after the meeting of its interim National Executive Committee (NEC), the interim spokesman, Lai Mohammed, explained that INEC officials are known sympathizers of an unnamed political party in the state.
His words, “ We are very worried about Anambra, two things give us concern, we have information of an attempt to manipulate the election, the people that are proposed to conduct the election are known sympathizers of a political party. We have raised an alarm, and we are asking INEC that whoever they are sending to Anambra should be credible people.
“There is also the manipulation of voters’ registration for the election. The manipulation of voters register is giving us concern.
Because sometime in 2011, about 2.1 million voters in Anambra were said to be on the voters register, later they made a cleanup and came up with about 1.8 after which they began the registration, but by last month, they came up with another figure, of 1.7 despite a continued registration.
“When we checked, we realized that areas where we are presumed to be very strong, they have deregistered many members and areas we are perceived not to be very strong, they have manipulated the figure upward. Anambra is going to be a test case for INEC. And we want INEC to discharge its duty in a very impartial manner.”
On the ad-hoc committees, Mohammed disclosed that three of the committees are presided by Governors Adams Oshiomole of Edo-Contact Committee, Rochas Okorochas of Imo- Mobilization while the Governor of Borno state, Kashim Shettima is the chairman for the Fund Raising Committee.
Gowon wades into Jonathan, Amaechi face-off
Former military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon on Thursday expressed his readiness to bring an end to the current political face-off between President Goodluck Jonathan and Rivers State Governor and Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
Gowon disclosed this in the Rivers State capital, while speaking at the Port Harcourt City centenary celebration, where Jonathan was represented by his special adviser on Documentations and strategy, Oronto Douglas.
Douglas and Amaechi were later called upon by the former Head of State, who was the chairman of the occasion to have a ‘centenary handshake’.
He urged both the president and the governor to use the occasion of the 100 years of Port Harcourt to mend fences and build bridges in the interest of the people of Rivers State and Nigeria in general.
“As we gather to celebrate 100 years of Port Harcourt, I will like to take the opportunity to counsel that we all continue to work for peace and stability of Rivers State and Nigeria as a whole. This is because if any part of our land is not at peace, everybody will suffer the consequences at one time or the other.
“It is in this regard that I especially commend Mr. President for making out time to attend this event, which is a great opportunity at celebrating a proud heritage while mending fences and building bridges. In the same vein, I like to appreciate Governor Rotimi Amaechi whose handshake with Mr. President, will not be mere ceremonial courtesy to fulfil all righteousness.
“For the records, I would not have attended this event if I had reason to believe that the possibility of brokering peace between the key leaders of thought had been foreclosed. I urge you to take the opportunity of this centenary celebration to unite the more as you are both at ‘home’ here in Port Harcourt.”
In his speech, President Jonathan, represented by his aide, Douglas, said there was need to continue to pursue peace and tranquillity in the interest of Nigerians and the development of the country.
He said, “We must educate our youths on the need to embrace peace not only in Port Harcourt and Rivers State, but the country in general. We must continue to pursue peace; this peace has done so much and means so much for us.”
I support Jonathan to continue to govern us – Amaechi
Earlier in his address, Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi said the people of the state want peace and would continue to support moves to ensure peace in the state and the country at large, their demand for social justice still stands.
Amaechi said; “We thank President Goodluck Jonathan for the contributions he has made towards the growth of peace and development of our state and country. But, I am a Catholic and if you ask a Catholic priest, he will tell you that the Church does not preach peace. What they preach is social justice. If there is social justice, there will be peace.
“I have no problem with President Jonathan. I respect him as our leader; I respect him as an intellectual and I respect him for the office he is occupying. I support him to continue to govern our country. On behalf of the people of Rivers State, the only thing we ask of is social justice.”