Don’t Contest 2015 Presidential Election, Elderstatesman Prof Nwabueze Warns Jonathan
Eminent lawyer and elder statesman who leads a group of patriotic national leaders under the banner of ‘The Patriots’, Professor Ben Nwabueze (SAN), has again warned President Goodluck Jonathan not to contest the 2015 presidential election, saying such a decision will make the president an international hero and a unifying figure for the country.
Nwabueze gave the warning while fielding questions from state house correspondents at the presidential villa, Abuja where he led other members of The Patriots to submit their memorandum on “Transforming the Nation through a National Conference” to President Jonathan. Though he said Jonathan is constitutionally allowed to contest the election but warned that such will deal a devastating blow on the unity of the country.
His words: “That is not the purpose of our meeting today, but that is my my view and I still maintain that view today, I still believe that the paramount problem of this country is national transformation, that you cannot combine national transformation with contesting election. The two are so different, because once you get involved in the elections campaigns you undermined your authority to lead the nation for national transformation and I said if I were the President of Nigeria that I would restrict myself in serving the nation, in transforming this country in creating a new Nigeria in crating a new society that would be my concern and I would go down in history as a hero. So if Mr President does that he would become an instant hero to this country. But it is for him to chose, if I were him, I would choose to become a hero to lead the country into transformation and abandon the ambition of a second term, that is what I said and I still stand by it and that is what I would do if I were the President of the country, but unfortunately, I’m not. That is not an issue, Mr. President is eligible, nobody is questioning his eligibility, the President is eligible, what makes him ineligible? Nothing, he is eligible, that is a personal decision for him to take.
Talking about the focus of the meeting with the president, the eminent lawyer said, “we talked about the transformation of this country. What we said is that this country, a situation in which we have found ourselves today is in dire need of transformation. It’s entire economy, the entire polity and the entire society would need to be transformed. We believe that the way to achieve that objective is through a National Conference, a National Conference of ethnic nationalities in this country. We have done our own research and we are not perfect but our own review showed that we have in this country 389 ethnic nationalities. We need to bring these nationalities around a conference table to discuss how we are going to live together as one country in peace, in stability in security as one country with the aim of achieving national unity. But as of today we are not a nation yet, we are a state, so that is the gist of what we put forward to Mr. President and that this conference should be conveyed as a matter of priority as soon as possible, in any event before 2015 general elections”.
While defending the need for a sovereign national conference, Nwabueze said, “This is what we want you to read in the memorandum paragraph 18 -32 where we have discussed this matter. It is important that the National Assembly in putting forward that their powers under Sections 8&9 is to alter the constitution, power to alter is not as important as to power to abolish what you are altering and to replace it completely, and we said no, this country we need the people’s constitution whose source of authority derives directly from the people, forget about the contents, we will talk about the contents later, presidential, parliamentary and all that. Though important, but they are not as important as the source, where does this supreme law derives its authorities?, It must be directly from the people and that is the position of at least 85 percent of the countries of the world. Wo we examined this and we said this a bogey, there is no problem, don’t confine yourselves to Sections 8&9, because the 1999 constitution is a schedule to Decree 24, if you read Section 1(1) of the Decree there are all preambles to that Decree and the 1999 constitution that you are talking about is a schedule to Decree 24. Repeal the Decree and the constitution will disappear and you enact a brand new constitution which would derive its authorities from the people, that was what done in 1963, when we adopted the Republican Constitution to replace the Independent Constitution. That 1960 Constitution was also a schedule to British Order-In -Council just as the 1999 Constitution a schedule to the Decree 24. In 1963, we abolished the schedule under Section 2 of the Order-in-Council and made a new constitution called the Republican constitution. That is what we should do now, abolish the schedule and relieve your self entirely free to make the people’s constitution”.
However in an account of what transpired between Jonathan and the group, presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati issued a statement saying President Jonathan declared that his administration has no objection to Nigerians coming together to discuss how they will continue to live together in peace and unity.
Speaking after receiving a memorandum from the Patriots, led by Prof. Ben Nwabueze, on the need for a national conference, President Jonathan said that ordinarily, the issue of Nigerians coming together to discuss their future should not be out of place.
The statement reads: “The President told the group that there has been constant discussion within government on how to create an acceptable and workable platform for a national dialogue that will reinforce the ties that bind the country’s many ethnic nationalities and ensure that Nigeria’s immense diversity continues to be a source of strength and greatness.
“The limitation we have is that the constitution appears to have given that responsibility to the National Assembly. I have also been discussing the matter with the leadership of the National Assembly. We want a situation where everyone will key into the process and agree on the way forward,” President Jonathan said.
He thanked the Patriots for acknowledging the Federal Government’s efforts to implement his administration’s agenda for national transformation.
“As a government, we are totally committed to transforming this country, Positive things are being done and by the grace of God, we will get to where we ought to be as a nation,” President Jonathan told the Patriots’ delegation which also included Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Solomon Asemota, Engr. Chris Okoye, Chief (Mrs.) Bola Kuforiji-Olubi, Air Cdre. Dan Suleiman (rtd.), Prof. Kimse Okoko and Mr. Michael Orobator.
President Jonathan also welcomed the group’s call for the moral re-orientation of Nigerians, saying that he shared their belief that ongoing efforts at national transformation and development will be greatly enhanced and facilitated by the cultivation of better national ethics and attitudes.
The Patriots had in the address presented to President Jonathan by Prof. Nwabueze, urged him to support the production of a new constitution that truly derives its authority directly from the people of Nigeria.
“I compliment you for your initiative of introducing a transformation agenda. It is what Nigeria needs. Above all things, we need to transform this country.
“It is a great credit to you that you recognize this. We congratulate Your Excellency for recognizing the need for national transformation and moving Nigeria in that direction,” Prof. Nwabueze told the President, adding that the need for national transformation was the main reason for the Patriots’ continuing call for a national conference.
Do not hesitate to leave your opinion in the comment section below.
To contact Abusidiqu.com for Article Submission and Advertisement or General inquiry, send a mail to email@example.com