Sunday, February 22, 2015 9:58 am
President Goodluck Jonathan at the weekend in Lagos cleared the air concerning his controversial agreement that he would serve just one term if he was voted into power in 2011.
A recorded tape where former President Olusegun Obasanjo made this statement on behalf of President Jonathan at an event where the President and his wife, Dame Patience, were present is being aired on television stations in the country ahead of the shifted general elections.
Jonathan said that was not his intention but that he did not want to counter Obasanjo since it was a public function and he needed to win the party’s primary election and become President.
He said that he did not want to join issues with Obasanjo because the party members were there for primaries and “I just wanted to win my primaries.”
Jonathan, who was soliciting for support from Islamic clerics in Lagos and other Southwest states ahead of the presidential election on 28 March, at an interactive session he held with them at the State House, Marina, Lagos, also said he was quoted out of context in the statement he made in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia concerning single tenure.
“I need to clarifiy this otherwise I do not need to talk about it. This matter continues to come up,” he said adding that what happened was that late President Umaru Yar’Adua came out with political reforms when he, Jonathan was the Vice president and that he (Jonathan) was the chairman of the interparty group of the committee set up by late Yar’adua to agree on the president’s proposal for a single tenure.
“I made that statement in Addis Ababa, when I addressed Nigerians. I made that statement after I had won elections. I was advising Nigerians in Addis Ababa and I made mention of this issue of seven years of single tenure as being the best for the country.
“I now added that if Nigerians will agree to run a single tenure of seven years I will not contest. That was the statement I made,” he said.
He said that he still believed in that recommendation in order to prevent the waste of resources during re-election bids of incumbents and that he would still step down from the race if Nigerians accept his proposal of a single term of seven years.
“Those who are advertising on television that I said I was not going to contest a second tenure should play the whole tape,” Jonathan said adding that with such adverts, people were diminishing the office of the president because of politics.
He thanked the clerics for giving him the opportunity to clarify the statement and urged them to continue to pray for the unity and prosperity of the country.
Earlier the Chief Imam of Oriwu Central Mosque, Ikorodu, Lagos, Sheikh Oshoala Ajagbemokeferi, had urged the president to carry every Nigerian along in his administration.
The Imam pledged support for the programmes of the administration and urged the government to conduct a free, fair election to win the favour of God.