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PRESIDENCY: ONLY ANARCHISTS WILL URGE JONATHAN TO RUN IN 2011

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Dr Godwin Dabo Adzuana
President of Benue State Elders Forum and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Godwin Dabo Adzuana, says anyone urging Acting President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan to run for president is an anarchist, who wants to cause confusion in the country.

'There's no way anybody can bring a southerner to become president until the expiration of the eight years of the North, as agreed,' Dabo stated in an interview with Saturday Sun in Abuja.

Indeed, he warns that there will be instability in the country if anybody attempts to deprive the North of its full eight years in power.

Who then will Dabo back for the 2011 presidency?
'The best thing that has ever happened to Nigeria and will ever happen to us is Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida,' he responds.

He spoke on these and other things.
Why do you always defend former military president, Ibrahim Babangida?

The point here is that the best thing that has ever happened to Nigeria and will ever happen to Nigeria at this particular time in our history, when there is confusion in the sky; when there is mistrust and disagreement; when there is fear in the atmosphere; when friends betray friends, the only person who can restore stability to Nigeria is Gen. Ibrahim Babangida. He is tested. He is trusted. IBB is the person who will provide solution to Nigeria's problems. I am asking Nigerians to ignore Jokolo because Jokolo was an IBB boy and because he failed, he now turned round to say that IBB should not be trusted.

But I want to tell Nigerians that the only person with the solutions to Nigeria's problems is Gen. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida. Some people want to create confusion in the country by saying that Jonathan should contest for the presidency. There is a binding understanding among PDP leaders and the PDP will remain the greatest party in the black world until, possibly the year 2050. The opposition has not been able to put its act together, with the result that they have failed in all the attempts to form what they call a mega party. For us to have stability, to restore honour and credibility to this country, the answer is President Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida. There is no leader in this world, who has not made mistakes. But those mistakes cannot be permanently attached to the person. We have a forgiving spirit throughout the world; otherwise most people will not be alive today. Because of what Castro did in Cuba, in his younger days, today, in spite of his illness, he is still the symbol of Cuba's stability and honour. I am telling Nigerians to ignore Jokolo for what he said about IBB. All he said were pathological lies. They are not true. I want to tell Nigerians that the only person who can restore our honour as a nation today and tomorrow is President Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida.

You said something to the effect that friends have betrayed friends. Who are the friends who betrayed friends?

In Yar'Adua's case, I was so shocked that people who were known to be Yar'Adua supporters suddenly backed out or remained deaf and dumb. They were not talking when it was relevant for them to. One example is the Governors' Forum. The Governors' Forum had remained consistent in its support for Yar'Adua. But at a stage, the governors started wavering between the acting president and the president himself.

Are you saying that the governors betrayed Yar'Adua?

I'm saying that the governors, by approving certain measures, betrayed Yar'Adua, and I still say it. But most of them have remained consistent. About 99 per cent of the governors have remained consistent. But there are about 10 per cent of them who have not been consistent and who have been vacillating between the acting president and Mr. President. But one thing is very clear in this country. We still have a president in Nigeria. Whatsoever Jonathan is doing is in an acting capacity. But unknown to many people, the acting president is carrying the president along. This is what many people do not know. There is deep consultation and Jonathan is a loyalist of the Yar'Adua dynasty and he is keeping it the way it should be kept. Those people, who think that there is a big divide between Yar'Adua and Goodluck Jonathan, are not telling the truth. There is absolute understanding. There is peace within the camp. There are no two camps because the Yar'Adua/Jonathan ticket is one ticket. There are no two tickets. So, people who are trying to put Yar'Adua and Jonathan separate are being demonic and demonic forces cannot succeed in this country today.

You said those who are calling on Jonathan to contest in 2011 are just trying to cause confusion. What is the confusion about that?

The confusion is that there is a binding agreement in the PDP that the South, having produced a president for eight years, would give way for the North to produce a president for eight years. There is no way anybody can bring a southerner to become the president of Nigeria until the expiration of our eight years, as agreed. This was something that was agreed between PDP leaders and I'm happy that Ogbulafor, the national chairman of PDP, came out of the stakeholders meeting and announced that the North will complete its eight years. I want to say that there is going to be instability in this country if anybody attempts to deprive the North of its right. It's a right, which was agreed among leaders. We have to be honourable. The South, having enjoyed their eight years, cannot deprive the North of our eight years. It is completely understandable. Except those who are intellectual anarchists, like Wole Soyinka and some other people who want to create confusion in Nigeria, that will be saying a southerner should become the president. There has been a silent understanding within the ruling hierarchy in this country, a North/South divide and this has ensured peace and stability.

We allowed the South to have eight years and now is the turn of the North. Most of the leaders in the PDP are committed to this arrangement. Most of the leaders in the PDP and those not in PDP are committed to honouring this agreement that was entered into on November 24, 1998, whereby we agreed there was going to be a North/South power sharing. It was agreed that the South will have it for eight years and after that, the North will have it for eight years. It is after this sharing formula has been honoured that we will go back to take a zonal arrangement. The South-South or South-East will produce the president after this.

Would there be trouble if the North insists that they want to go ahead with the Presidency after eight years?

If the North insists, we shall oppose it. That will be a pathological act of injustice because the gentleman agreement we entered into would have been honoured. So, there should be no question of the North insisting on going ahead again. It will not be. After the North has completed eight years, the Presidency will go to either South-South, which has now produced a president in Jonathan or the South-East. Jonathan is a product of the South-South. He is the president.

You just said there is a president in place. So, we cannot have Jonathan as the president again.

The South-South has tasted the presidency pie now, in an acting capacity, but he's performing. He dissolved the executive council and is reconstituting it. He is acting as the president and it means the South-South has taken its share too. The thing will be for the South-South and the South-East to sit down and decide among themselves who produces the next president, after the North has completed its tenure.

What about Benue State?
I want to say, without any fear of contradiction, that Gov Gabriel Suswam is going to have a second term, no matter what anybody thinks about it. He's a young man. He has made his mistakes. But the positive things he has done far outweigh the negative things. We the elders are saying there must be a generational change. We have been in politics since 1957. I have been in politics, one way or the other. Even as a young man, I was in the UMBC and all of that. Let the old generation give way to a new generation in Benue State, so that the state can move forward. I am saying that for us to have stability in Benue State, let Suswam complete his eight years, as the governor; then another person will come up and take over. But one thing is very certain; the clamour for the creation of Apa State by the Idomas is predicated on the fact that they have not produced a governor since the creation of Benue State and they want to produce a governor. So, at the end of Suswam's second term, I will then urge that we the Tiv people, who constitute 70 per cent of the state, should give the Idomas also a chance. If we allow the Idomas to produce a governor, the agitation for Apa State will die naturally and it will not be there. It is this sense of injustice some Idomas feel that they insist on having Apa State. But if Apa State is what the Idomas deserve, of course, they can have it. But I am saying that we should eat and give our neighbours. The governorship after Suswam should go down to the Idomas if they are still part of Benue State.

Again, I want to say that the senatorial election in Benue State is going to be very tough. I know there are two senators who will not come back in Benue State, but I will not name them. I will name them at the appropriate time. There are two senators; one of them I know is completely useless as a senator. He has not given us dividends of democracy. The other senator, I do not know. But all I know is that there is a clamour for a change in the leadership of the Senate that we have got. But there is one thing in this country: those in control of the mechanics of control always win an election. It has happened so many times in Nigeria. It will happen again. It will happen in Benue State. I condemn in totality Chief Joseph Waku's remarks against the Acting President Jonathan. The reason for this is very simple. Jonathan is not inhuman. Jonathan has done what is expected of him to do. In fact, most Nigerians expect him to do more. Most Nigerians expect him to stamp his footprints on the sands of power in this country. But he has been very cautious and very respectful.

The point here is that Jonathan and Yar'Adua were elected on one ticket. So, Jonathan has the right to conclude Yar'Adua's first term on which both of them have the mandate of the people of this country. One person has acted for two years; another person is taking over to conclude the remaining two years and there is nothing wrong with that. I don't think that anybody can say Jonathan is inhuman. He is a humble person. He has exhibited humility, in his dealings with colleagues in the former cabinet. Most of the people that he is bringing back to government are known friends of President Yar'Adua and I want to say again that anything, which Jonathan has done or is going to do is predicated on integrity and honesty because he's a man of integrity and honesty.

I want to make one appeal to Acting President Jonathan. The war in Bayelsa is a war that is going to tell negatively on him because that is his state. So, I'm calling on him and the governor to sit down and resolve their differences. Nigerians are happy when they see two people having disagreements. I think the government of Bayelsa State should give Jonathan the respect he deserves as their son, who is the acting president of this country. The acting president should also take into consideration that Bayelsa is his state and his state has to be at peace. So, I'm calling on the two of them - Sylva and Jonathan - to sheathe the sword, so that we can be at peace. What is happening in Bayelsa now is sad. They should find a simple way of resolving the matter amicably.