Dem don Start: 2011, Northern Groups Canvass Support for Jonathan

Groups from the northern part of the country have expressed support for Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, urging him to contest the Presidency in 2011. While the Northern Coalition for Goodluck Presidency (NCGP) called on the reconstituted Executive Council of the Federa-tion (EXCOF) to apply all sections of the

 constitution to confirm the Acting President so as to move the nation forward, Northern Friends of the South South (NFSS) gave him the go ahead to contest for Presidency come 2011, saying that the Northerners are solidly behind him. Both groups unveiled their positions at different fora in Kaduna and Lagos.

In a communiqué issued in Kaduna and signed by the Chairman and the secretary, Abdulrahman Ahmed and Suleiman Abubakar respectively, NCGP said their concern centred on the issue of the Presidency, which has become the subject of controversy not only at home but in the entire world.

According to the coalition, since the unfortunate illness of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, the nation has turned into a theatre of political opportunists, who have make nonsense of the whole issue into ethnicity and religion.

“We are therefore concerned that the issue of Presidency, which the 1999 Constitution has spelt out in Sections 144 and 145 has been allowed to degenerate into controversy thereby heating up the polity. Let us say here without any fear of contradiction that the president of this country is for all of us, without any prejudice or sentiment and should remain so for the interest of our unity,” the statement contain.

 The group therefore wondered what the hullabaloo over whether Goodluck should continue after 2011 and those who feel that without them, there will be no Nigeria.

“Let everyone of us come together and rally round the Acting President Goodluck Jonathan to be able to steer the ship of the nation and we will resist all sentiments aimed at beclouding our sense of reasons. “We should all together come out and reject those past leaders who took us to this situation as they are not our friends; they love their families… There is nothing they have done in the past which they want to do now,” they said.

NCGP also warned Nigerians to beware of some faceless groups and individuals, who are parading themselves for a certain presidential candidate, saying that they are enemies of democracy and  should be rejected totally.

 The statement added that only a man who wants to tell half truth would want to say that all is well politically today in the country .
 “Why do we go into this crisis after 50 years of independence? We all agree that our coming together was a colonial contraption but since we have gone that long, all of us should see ourselves as one in spite of ethnic or religious differences,” the statement concluded. 

Also addressing a press conference at the NFSS office in Lagos yesterday, the Founder and President of the group, Alhaji Suleiman Yerima said that after watching the political atmosphere in the country for a while, and bearing in mind that the remaining tenure of the Acting Presidency of is very short, members of the group have put every machinery in its disposal in place to ensure continuity in government as it earnestly urge the Acting President to run in 2011 presidential election.

“We believe that it is better for him to continue to implement the programmes of this administration rather than allow someone else come in and start from the scratch. It will not be in the interest of the nation”, he said.
Yerima added that it will not be in the interest of good governance or for the interest of peaceful co-existence to bar Jonathan from running for the presidency in 2011.

Yerima, who said the country has also been made to believe that the North will not support a Goodluck Jonathan candidacy, revealed further that this was very far from the truth as those who have been following comments of notable leaders from the North in the past few days can easily discern and testify that genuine opinion leaders in the north have been speaking in favour of the Acting President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan running for presidency in 2011.

Calling on the Acting President Goodluck Jonathan to courageously accept the wish of the people of Nigerian and run for the presidency in 2011, Yerima said members of NFSS are currently mobilised and are working towards ensuring that a capable and endowed potential candidate like Dr. Jonathan is not shut out of the presidential race in 2011 if he decides to run”, he noted.

Yerima revealed further that members of NFSS have been working in all the states in the Northern Nigeria through its coordinators, sensitising the northerners on why Dr. Goodluck Jonathan should be voted for come 2011 presidential election if he decides to run.

“And we here and now assure Dr. Jonathan that based on our consultations in the last few days, the North has come out with one voice and will continue to support the Acting President if he chooses to run in the 2011 presidential race”, the NFSS President said.

He said however that whoever wishes to contest the presidency is free to come out and join the race, noting that he was certain that should Dr. Jonathan decides to run, he will floor all of them.

Speaking on the zoning policy of PDP, Yerima said, “We are of the opinion that if his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which I’m a member as an individual, decides that Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan will not run under its platform, if he decides to run and opts for another political platform, PDP will be the loser if he wins”.

He said that the group was not against other aspirants running  for presidency in 2011, adding,  “Our believe is  that the Acting President as a citizen of Nigeria has a right to contest under the constitution and should not be barred by  the PDP from running just because of its intra party zoning arrangement.  Good enough, the Acting President has said that no law stops him from running if he chooses to do so. Zoning is not a constitutional matter. It is a political arrangement by the PDP”.

The group therefore advised that the PDP should not to use “a gentleman agreement such as its zoning arrangement as instrument of exclusion with which to shut out a good and credible Nigerian like Dr. Goodluck Jonathan just because he is not from a particular area where the presidency is zoned to”.

“For the PDP, it would amount to shooting oneself on the leg by sticking to a zoning arrangement that would be counter productive for the party at this time Nigerians are looking forward to good and purposeful governance”, Yerima said.

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