Again, North to present a consensus candidate against Jonathan - Abdullahi

By The Rainbow

The Northern Elders' Forum (NEF) has  said it is morally wrong for President Goodluck Jonathan to recontest in 2015, THIS DAY has reported.

NEF spokesman, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, said the north would search for   a consensus presidential candidate just as it did prior to the 2011 presidential election to vie with Jonathan.

Abudullahi, who was speaking against the background of the call by the South South and Middle Belt elders for Jonathan to recontest assured the Middle Belt that their welfare would be better secured within the north than with the Niger Deltans.

Leaders from the two zones, led by Chief Edwin Clark, had during a visit to the president on Monday urged him to run again and criticised those against the president's second term bid for not promoting justice and equality.

Although Abdullahi, in an interview with THISDAY, agreed that  Jonathan as a Nigerian has the constitutional right to contest, he said moral obligation should make him forgo that right in compliance with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) zoning formula that ceded the presidency to the north.

'What I am referring to here is a situation of his party, the PDP, which adopted certain rules or guidelines. Even if they are not legal, but they are still traditional practices of the party, which ordinarily, as humans, we should be able to respect. If you have a memorandum of understanding, it may be outside the law but it still applies to you. You have that moral obligation to respect it,' he said.

According to him, the PDP has a zoning formula, which should have brought the presidency back to the north in 2011, but for the death of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua in office that truncated the geopolitical zone's turn.

'The north started in 2007, then President Umaru died midway in his term. The constitution allows Jonathan to carry on to the end of the first term, and after then, morality demands that based on the agreement that is known to everybody, the north should get the presidency.

'But for some various reasons that perhaps include the one that Chief Edwin Clark and others are working on, some decided that Jonathan should contest the election in 2011.  Whether he won it free and fair is another matter,' he added.

Speaking on the supposed alliance between the South-south and the Middle Belt, Abdullahi accused the Middle Belt of trying to create disunity in the north.

However, he added that the north would wait and see whether Jonathan could win the presidency with only the votes of the South-south and those from the Middle Belt alone 'in spite of his incompetence and despite the moral background that he comes from.'

On how the north would arrive at a consensus candidate for the presidency for the 2015 general election given the rancour and the subsequent defeat of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, who was picked by the zone in the run up to the last presidential election, Abdullahi said there was no cause for alarm.

He explained that part of the problem they encountered in 2011 was insufficient time aided by 'selfish interest, divide and rule and corruption,' adding: 'but now that we have two years ahead of us, we are not leaving anything to chance.'