First Republic Minister of Information, Chief Edwin Clark, on Monday said he and some groups decided tostartcampaigning for President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election in 2015 despite his directive to the contrary because of the disposition of those opposed to the President’ssecond coming.
He said Jonathan’s statement that he would not say whether or not he would contest until 2014 did not in anyway affect those of them who hold a strong view that he was qualified to re-contest.
Clark spoke with State House correspondents shortly after he and a former President of the Senate, Ameh Ebute, led some elders of the South-South and Middle Belt, under the aegis of the Congress for Equality and Change, to meet Jonathan at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said, “We could not have been talking about 2015 if we do not believe in it. It is because some people have started to say that he is not qualified to contest election in 2015, and those of us who believe in it are to educate them and that is what we are doing.
“Whatever the President said that it is 2014 before he will decide, that does not affect those who believe that he has a right.”
He said the position of his group was that all Nigerians were equal, irrespective of which side of the country they hail from.
He said the group was formed in August 2010, when there was an argument over whether Jonathan, who was the Vice President, should become acting President following the ill-health of the late President Umar Yar’Adua.
He claimed that there had been a deliberate attempt to tarnish the name of the present administration.
On 2015, Clark said, “I will never lead a group that will be opposed to 2015,not because Clark is saying so. It is written in the constitution of Nigeria. Shagari did so, Obasanjo did so. Shagari’s second term was taken over by amilitary man.
“Today, he (the military man) wants to be President. He staged a coup in 1983. I was also a Senator at that time. When it came to Obasanjo’s turn, he did eight years under the Constitution.
“If Jonathan wants thereafter, he could do so. If Shagari was entitled to two terms, why not Jonathan? Is it because he is a minority?
“The group I have brought here – the elders believe that Mr. President should contest the 2015 election, as the Constitution provides.”
Meanwhile, Jonathan told the delegation that his administration would never allow itself to be derailed from pursuing the transformation agenda to its logical conclusion.
He said he would continue to work diligently to build on the achievements catalogued in his mid-term report to the nation.
He promised to continue to do his best to justify the confidence the elders reposed in him.
He also thanked the Middle Belt and South-South regions of the country for their contributions to national unity, stressing that the unity of this country “depends on the cooperation of all.”
Ebute told the President that the group was committed to promoting the equality of all Nigerians, and that informed the total support given to him in 2010 and 2011.
While commending the mid-term report of the Jonathan administration, the former President of the Senate said the scorecard had encouraged the congress “to go out and showcase the achievements and ask Nigerians to continue to support President Jonathan to accomplish more for the nation.”