Just one year into his four-year term and without an express wish to seek another term, those imputing a second term intention to President Goodluck Jonathan are being unfair to him, and in fact distracting him, former military president Ibrahim Babangida has said. Babangida said this in an interview with THISDAY at his Minna home.
The issue of whether Jonathan should seek a second term or not has been one of the hottest topics on the national political scene as the country marches towards another general election in 2015. Some groups in the northern parts of the country are opposed to a Jonathan second term and want the presidency to go to the region in 2015. They base their demand on the belief that the north, which produced the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, ought to be compensated for the period he did not serve out before his death in 2010.
Yet, down south, especially in the South-east, many politicians are demanding that the zone should produce Jonathan’s successor. They feel strongly that the zone has been marginalised and should be allowed to produce the next president to give the people a sense of belonging, even though they remain largely noncommittal on whether to contest against the president in 2015.
Jonathan himself has also remained silent on his intentions ahead of 2015, and he has not denied the growing insinuations that he is in fact interested in doing another term, fuelling speculations that he would be contesting the next presidential election.
But Babangida said the rash of activities around Jonathan’s suspected second term bid were unnecessary and diversionary.
According to the former head of state, “You can’t make a view or you can’t make opinion on something Jonathan didn’t say anything about.
“So it will be unfair. I think we should allow him to run the course; he has a job to do now. He has just been elected. I think it’s not up to one year or one year plus.
"So he has got three more years. What he did or what he does will recommend him to the public and to the Nigerians.”
Babangida said the unity of the country and issues that would promote it should be the focus of Nigerians at the moment.
“I think one of the most important things for Nigeria at 52 that each and every one of us should be grateful for, talk to God, talk to ourselves about is that we are able to maintain this country as one despite all the problems that we had in the last 52 years. I look forward and pray that we will continue to remain one.”
He stressed that the current security challenges faced by Nigeria is not a peculiar problem, saying the recent Arab Spring in North Africa has the tendency to awaken pent-up nationalist feelings in other parts of the world.
But Babangida said Nigeria’s security problems “can be tackled by all of us Nigerians, every one of us, irrespective of which part of the country you live, you must be determined to say, now look, enough is enough, this will not happen, you have to find a solution.”
He believed dialogue and fairness remained the best solutions to the nagging problem of insecurity.