By NBF News

Alex Akinyele
A warning has gone out to President Goodluck Jonathan to shun all entreaties urging him to contest 2011 elections. A former Minister of Information, Chief Alex Akinyele, told Daily Sun in Lagos that those calling on the President are enemies of the nation and a bunch of sycophants.

Akinyele, while expressing confidence in the ability of Jonathan to leave a lasting legacy for the nation within his short tenure, insisted that his contesting the election would definitely compromise his vision of bequeathing a transparent and credible electoral process to the country. He charged the President to make the issue of uninterrupted electricity supply a national priority and ensure that elections are no longer won at tribunals.

'Honestly, I don't believe that he got there on sheer luck. No. I believe strongly that he has worked very hard since he joined the political terrain, which made people believe in him as able and competent person to work with. Don't forget, he had been a commissioner, a deputy governor, a governor, vice president and now the president. To get to that level, you must possess certain positive attributes, which made people to believe in you and of course, God's divine support. That is what others call luck. So, in him we have a quality and experience President.

'There have been arguments for and against his contesting the election, although, he has not come out to say his position on the matter. I want to advise our President to shun all temptations that may push him to contest. You see, Nigerians are fond of tempting their leaders to do things against their conscience and when there is a problem, they will back out. He should shun all temptations. I am aware of the fact that the pressure of the temptation might be too much for him to bear but he should remain steadfast in his rejection of the move to lure him to contest.'

My reason
'Jonathan is a formidable member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Zoning system is part of the political philosophy in the party. It is the philosophy of the party to zone high offices. That arrangement produced the Presidency from the South-West for eight years and after that, it moves to the North. It is after the North might have served its eight years term that the Presidency can go to the South again. It could be South-East or South-South. I believe the President was privy to this arrangement and I believe, it will not be fair for the same man to say he wants to run for Presidency.

'Let me also add that, I'm not unmindful of the fact that politicians are fond of talking from both sides of their mouths hence, nobody takes them serious. But I want to believe that our President does not belong to that category. He is a man highly respected for his sincerity of purpose and impeccable loyalty to the system.

God has been extremely kind to our President. He has reached the highest anybody can aspire in this country through sheer hard work and divine hands of God. He should see everything that happened in his political career as divine grace of God Almighty. He is not the only one that is hard working or diligent. But God in His infinite wisdom elects to favour and nobody can question that. Some could not even end their career as a state governor.

'My advice is that, he should not allow anybody to sway him into what I call inordinate ambition to derail him on the path of honour God had designed for him. So, as a member of PDP, he should honour their internal arrangement. He should shun the toga of opportunity. The party had zoned 2011 to the North. And he accepted when he joined the late President Umaru Yar'Adua. If Yar'Adua were to be alive, would he have jettisoned that arrangement? The answer is no. There is no way he would have opposed him.'

Unfair argument
'Yes, I have had some dubious politicians arguing that both Yar'Adua and Jonathan shared the same joint ticket beyond 2011. I want to say that that is rather dubious and unfair. Whatever anybody may say, Jonathan is not from the North. And that ends the matter.'

Zoning formula and the Constitution
'I quite agree that zoning formula of the PDP is not part of our Constitution but the fact remains that, the zoning philosophy of the party, no matter what anybody may say was designed to bring peace and harmony into the polity. And so far, so good. Therefore, it would not be proper for anybody to truncate it at this point in time no matter how plausible their argument may sound.

We don't want any chaos in the land and if Jonathan decides to run, it may lead to chaos and that is why I strongly advice him to shun the temptation. There was a time when the northerners monopolised power in this country and I think that is what PDP zoning formula was trying to put an end to. It would be unfortunate that he would be held responsible if any chaos breaks out as a result of his contesting next year election.'

He can still leave a legacy
'I want to strongly advise him to do everything possible and God will help him to write his name in gold by solving the energy problem in this country. We need constant supply of electricity. Almost all our problems in this country emanated from lack of electricity. It is due to lack of electricity that unemployment problems keep on mounting, factories are not working well, multinationals are moving their factories to Ghana. If he could fix that, he would leave a lasting legacy.

Nigeria will never forget him forever. He could be a president for 40 years, we may just forget him as soon as he leaves office. After all, how long did Murtala spend in office, that we are still remembering him today. Only six months! I believe that president Jonathan appreciates the problem of electricity and that is why he has taken it upon himself to be in charge of the ministry. We shall be praying for him along that line. He should make electricity a national priority just as it is being done in Ghana. We must get it right.'

Electoral system
'Whatever it takes, President Jonathan must put in place an electoral system that will not guarantee automatic victory for party in power. Automatic victory either by crook or by whatever means is a legacy of one man, which has made Nigeria a global laughing stock. He has a divine duty to reverse that trend by putting in place an electoral system that has integrity and transparent.

Let him ensure the institutionalisation of electoral system that will guarantee free and fair election under him and after him. The tragedy of Nigeria today is that we have democracy without democrats. People who believe that peoples' votes do not necessarily count. That is legacy of one man, Jonathan must reverse it.

'As I was talking about his reputation, if he goes in there and win, people will say yes why not, after all, there is no sitting President in Africa who has lost any election except in Ghana. The Ghana standard is our aspiration and I believe God has put Jonathan at vantage position to take us there. He cannot afford to fail.'

We cannot always rely on judiciary
'No doubt, judiciary has done a lot to sustain this nascent democracy. However, it is most unfortunate that people must go to election tribunal before they can get their mandate. Jonathan must reverse this ugly trend. People are fast loosing respect for election tribunals in this country.

The judges are human beings. And giving the capacity of politicians for mischief and win at all cost syndrome, they often subject the judicial officers involved to unimaginable pressure under which some might have caved in. Nobody should be sworn in unless all judicial disputes have been resolved. Jonathan owes this nation, his God and world over; the responsibility of bequeathing a transparent electoral process that would be pride of all to us.'