Zoning! Northern leaders join issues with Jonathan, draw battle line.
Huhuonline.com understands that the Northern Political Leaders Forum (NPLF) led by a former Minister of Finance , Mallam Adamu Ciroma yesterday joined issues with President Goodluck Jonathan for disowning zoning formula of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party . In what looked like drawing a battle line, they asked the international community to call Jonathan to order because his utterances and actions are capable of undermining Nigeria 's democracy.
The President has however fired back by saying that the Northern leaders could not intimidate him.
In a statement by the NPLF, signed by Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, a former Senate President, they blamed Jonathan for becoming desperate with his 2011 ambition.
The Northern leaders said: 'The Northern Political Leaders' Forum wishes to draw the attention of the Nigerian people and the international community to the steady rise of political intolerance by the Jonathan administration in sharp contrast to the Umaru Yar'Adua era.
President Jonathan is openly undermining the Nigerian constitution and democracy in his desperate bid to retain power.
'Recently he falsified history by declaring openly that zoning in the PDP does not include the Office of President and Vice-President. Section 7.2c of the PDP Constitution states clearly that; 'in pursuance of the principle of equity, justice and fairness, the party shall adhere to the policy of rotation and zoning of party and public elective offices and it shall be enforced by the appropriate Executive Committee at all levels.'
It does not give exception to the offices of the President and Vice-President. 'The recent public humiliation of respected political leaders of the South-East, among which were a former Vice-President, Senate President, former governors, ministers and highly-respected leaders is symptomatic of dictatorship which is going out of fashion in other countries of Africa and the Third World .
'Last month, the administration caused the cancellation of a meeting of Northern governors and other political leaders scheduled to take place in Kaduna . Also, last month, we the NPLF were compelled to issue a public statement condemning the selective targeting of governors and state governments perceived to be pro-zoning and opposed to the unbridled ambition of Goodluck Jonathan .
'Consistent with this mindset, the wife of the President publicly berated the elected Governor of Rivers State. Despite widespread public outcry and condemnation, no apologies were extended to the governor and people of Rivers State . This precipitated mass protests in Port Harcourt .
'Unfortunately, the administration has extended this climate of high-handedness to the Armed Forces . History shows that unnecessary politicization of the Armed Forces is a recipe for disaster.
'The NPLF would like all Nigerians to know that while Jonathan is infringing on the constitutional rights of respected leaders, he is busy generating thousands of fringe groups and hired crowds to drum support for his ambition.
'We want to state unequivocally that this is a sharp contrast to his verbal commitment to transparent fee and fair elections. It is a kind of 'do-or-die' posture that preceded the massive rigging of 2007.
'We call on the Nigerian people and the international community to prevail on President Jonathan to immediately desist from these anti-democratic and unconstitutional activities which may undermine our democracy, national unity and political stability.' On his part, Jonathan called the bluff of Northern leaders.
He said he is not a zonal leader who can be intimidated by anybody or group. In a counter-statement signed by Sully Abu, the Director of Media and Publicity, Goodluck Jonathan/Namadi Sambo Presidential Campaign Organization, accused the Northern leaders of embarking on blackmail.
The statement said: 'The attention of the Goodluck Jonathan / Namadi Sambo Campaign organization has been drawn to a series of wild allegations by the self-styled Northern Political Leaders Forum , which border on sheer blackmail and political mischief. 'Allegations of the involvement of the government of President Jonathan in actions which the Forum claimed were 'capable of undermining democracy and the country's Constitution' have become characteristic.
'The allegations were designed to impugn the integrity of the President. In that endeavour, the Forum is bound to fail woefully in the eyes of right-thinking Nigerians .
'We wonder what these political leaders want to bequeath to the country if they insist on fouling the political atmosphere by overheating the polity through tendentious accusations. We call on all Nigerians to ignore such tantrums.
'Agencies of government do not have to wait for any prompting or directive to perform their statutory functions and no one should cast aspersions on the president in this regard.
'Nowhere in the statement is the Forum concerned about the welfare of Nigerians. The focus of the Forum mainly is how to stop President Jonathan from contesting the 2011 presidential election .
'In contrast, President Jonathan's mission is how to transform Nigeria and to touch the lives of the populace in a positive way.
'We counsel all politicians to heed the advice of President Jonathan to run issues-based campaign as he will not be intimidated by any manner of underhand and diversionary tactics from the political opposition under any guise.
'We seize this opportunity to emphasize that President Jonathan is running on a national, not sectional nor zonal platform and call on his opponents to do the same.'