Vanguard (Lagos)

7 January 2013

Nigeria: 2015 - It's Not Too Early for Jonathan to Begin Campaign - Omoruyi

Photo: Vanguard
Jonathan election poster - cartoon

FORMER Director General of the defunct Centre for Democratic Studies, CDS, Prof. Omo Omoruyi, has asked President Goodluck Jonathan to own up that he authorised his campaign posters for 2015 if he was sure that he had evidence of good performance in office so far instead of keeping Nigerians in suspense.

In an interview with Vanguard in Benin, Edo State, Omoruyi said it was not too early for Jonathan to start 2015 re-election campaign because campaign starts with the end of an election.

President Jonathan campaign posters flooded Abuja last week. His aides distanced the president from the posters, reiterating Jonathan's comments that he would tell Nigerians whether or not he would contest the election in 2014, adding that for now he was concentrating on governance.

The political scientist, who just returned from a medical trip abroad, faulted those who are asking President Jonathan not to re-contest. He also picked holes in the opposition of the North to the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB,, saying if the North had oil they would have seceded from Nigeria.

Omoruyi spoke as the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, gave reasons it could not act on the controversial campaign posters.

It's not too early for Jonathan to begin campaign

His words: "Why will he not contest? Look, constitutionally, is he not qualified to contest? If yes, then, his performance will be judged by the people and not him. When people said, ah, there are posters here and there, it is even too late. Why is it too early? Haven't you seen what is going on in the United States of America today? The man (Barack Obama) will be sworn in on January 20, 2013 and the Republicans are already looking for an alternative to him; within the Democratic Party they are looking for somebody who would replace him.

"So, it is not too early because election starts once election is conducted. Period! You do not wait. I have said it that in first year, you are busy trying to plant something; second year it must germinate, third year is a nomination year and this is nomination year. So, what is so early in it?

Jonathan should own up to the posters

"The man (Jonathan) should own up and say, look, I am seeking a second term or whatever term it is. So any group that is rooting for him is in order. He has never owned up to that. Based on what I have said, I do not know what he has done because in some of these things, you must stand to be counted. He must say, I have achieved this thing, I have stabilised this country, I have given Nigeria a leadership, and you must make a choice.

"We are gradually going to the nomination year now and if he cannot put an end to those seeking to replace him within the PDP in the third year, he should forget it. If he cannot make those seeking to replace him from outside the PDP in the third year, he should forget it."

If North had oil, they would have seceded long ago

On the attempt by the Northern Governors and federal lawmakers to kill the PIB following allegation that its provisions were anti-North, Omoruyi said: "Who owns oil now has become an issue. It is for all of us. It is for everybody. That is only the beginning of the crisis we have in this country, otherwise, I can assure you of one thing... If oil was found in the North many years ago, the North would have seceded long ago.

"That is why this craze for exploration. There is still that fear that the country would break up. You see, one document I put together for General Ibrahim Babangida contained two final points. One, he wanted former President Yar'Adua to pursue the dredging of the River Niger up to Baro and Baro is Babangida's locality. It is his home.

"The second is that he also wanted the building of a highway from Kano to Tripoli in Libya. He said he wanted quick exploration of oil. Why were that going on and why were these three issues so important? It is because they did not believe that Nigeria will last. If Nigeria breaks up, they will not have to go through the ports of Lagos or Port-Harcourt."

Why we can't act on Jonathan's posters -- INEC

As controversy continues to trail the emergence of the campaign posters of President Jonathan on the New Year, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, yesterday, advanced reasons it could not act on the posters.

Chairman of the Commission, Prof Attahiru Jega, said there was nothing the commission could do about posters displayed randomly by unknown persons in the Federal Capital Territory.

The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr. Kayode Idowu, told Vanguard that the action of the masterminds of the controversial posters fell within the region of crime and public order, which should be handled by security agencies and not INEC.

According to Idowu, the commission does not deal with unknown elements but with registered political parties in the discharge of its duties as enshrined in the law.

The chairman's spokesman said since neither the People Democratic Party nor the President had owned up to the posters, there was nothing it could do.

Idowu said: "If an identifiable party or persons acting for a party campaign outside the purview of the law, then it becomes a matter of interest to INEC. The present scenario does not add up."

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