President Goodluck Jonathan
Junaid: Alleged secret pact on single term exists
Following last week’s declaration by an Abuja High Court that President Goodluck Jonathan is eligible to contest for the 2015 presidential election, the President of the Coalition of Concerned Northern Politicians, Academics, Professionals and Businessmen, Dr. Junaid Muhammed, has faulted the ruling, saying it is only the Supreme Court that has the jurisdiction to determine whether the president can contest or not.
He also insisted that the alleged secret signing of a single tenure term by President Jonathan exists contrary to insinuations in some quarters.
A politician, Mr. Cyriakus Njoku, had approached the court seeking for an order restraining Jonathan from contesting the 2015 presidential election because it would amount to a breach of the 1999 Constitution, which prescribed a period of not more than eight years for occupants of the Office of the President.
Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi of the Abuja High Court had ruled that Jonathan, “is, therefore, currently serving his first tenure of office and if he so wishes, he is eligible to further seek his party’s ticket through the party’s primary election and to run for office in 2015.”
However, Muhammed, who was a Second Republic legislator, told THISDAY that the court over-reached itself as it had no jurisdiction in the first place to entertain the suit brought by Njoku.
According to him, “it is not the function of any high court to interpret any extant law. It is the duty of the Supreme Court of Nigeria to interpret any extant or existing law of the federation.
“The interpretation of the 1999 Constitution or any other constitution is rested and vested on the Supreme Court. That is why some of us from the north did not care to be joined in the suit because everybody knows that the Cyriakus Njoku has no locus standi in the case.
“It is also the Supreme Court that has the right to even interpret the Electoral Act, when there is the cause for that. Some of us are keeping quite because at the appointed time, the matter would be taken to the Supreme Court for interpretation and not what the Abuja High Court did last Friday.”
He queried further by asking: “Who is Njoku, if not a front. What interest was he trying to protect, if not that he was sponsored to do what he has done.”
On the one-term deal allegedly struck between the governors and President Jonathan, Mohammed said he had sighted the document and that it was signed by the President, some governors and two deputy governors prior to the 2011 elections.
Mohammed, who spoke at a breakfast programme on Channels Television, Sunrise Daily, said he would not disclose the details, as he was not a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He challenged the leadership of the PDP to make necessary clarification on the alleged deal between President Jonathan and the 20 governors involved in the alleged deal, saying: “The governor of Niger State, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, has spoken.”
Aliyu had in a radio programme in Kaduna, some few weeks ago blown the whistle on the existence of the document, while the Presidency debunked the claim, daring anyone in possession of such an agreement to release it to the public.
But Mohammed said he sighted the original document in the hands of trusted political confidants whom he had known for over 40 years.
“The Political Adviser, Gulak has been denying that there was no deal. But he was not there at the time of the alleged deal. But the onus of proof is on the leadership of the PDP should speak on the allegation. PDP should deny or confirm the statement by the Niger State governor.”
He said: “I am persuaded to say that such an agreement exists and it was signed by some governors, and I think, two deputy governors at the time. I have sighted the document and I got to know this from people whom I have known from 40 to 50 years that the agreement exists.
“People are prepared to deny the existence of the paper because of our culture of double talk. We do not need a lower ranked aide of the President to deny it. As far as I am concerned, something of that magnitude should have been cleared by a very senior person at the highest possible level to clarify-someone at the Presidency. Dr. Doyin Okupe, is my friend and he did the same thing for Obasanjo until he was fired.”
The public affairs analyst and former lawmaker, accused Jonathan of lacking the political will to reshuffle the cabinet because of the activities of powerful forces hanging around the corridors of power.
“There are clearly many powerful forces that are stopping the President from reshuffling the cabinet because there are two women ministers who think they cannot be removed from their posts.
“The discourse on the 2015 election is premature but it was started by Jonathan. All we have had from 2011 to date was slogan. Promises were made and they have not been kept. The promises have been kept aside. You have to blame the President on early talk of 2015 and he is unleashing his attack dogs on the nation.
“Nobody would believe the tale that the President would not run in 2015. The man is behind it and his body language says a lot. The body language indicates that he would be running. They have started preparing the war chest for 2015. They are pulling money for election through deliberate, half-hearted implementation of annual budgets. They leave no room for anybody to trust them and I, for one, do not trust them, ” Mohammed stated.
When reminded that President Jonathan had said it was too early to comment on the 2015 presidential election, Mohammed said: “But the body language of the President is more than enough grounds to commence the discussion on the 2015 presidential election.”
He stated that former president Olusegun Obasanjo never openly agreed that there was a third- term, but his body language was suggestive of his support of the third term campaign.