President Goodluck Jonathan declared yesterday that interim national chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande and his party has every reason to fear because he is qualified to contest the 2015 presidential.
"If this is the winning strategy of the APC, Chief Akande has every reason to panic because the issue of eligibility for election into the office of the President has been settled by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended which provides as follows; 137. (1) A person shall not be qualified for election to the office of President if -
(b) he has been elected to such office at any two previous elections. Speaking through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, Jonathan who noted that Akande and his party have every reason to fear if the party's strategy for victory is to claim he was not eligible to contest, added that he has "been elected into office on only ONE previous occasion and is therefore not statute-barred from running. "Finally, though President Jonathan has not indicated whether or not he is interested in a second term, Chief Akande, who has taken stock of his party and seen that they have no electable presidential material is already trying to be clever by half by claiming the President is statute-barred from contesting in 2015 saying it will amount to a "third term," the president added.
In a statement he issued on Sunday titled President Jonathan To Akande: Respect The Truth, Your Age And Nigeria, Abati who accused the APC of "seeking to bait the Presidency to respond to it to achieve two purposes" took a swipe at Akande, saying he threw respect for the truth, his age, as well as the country to the wins and sank to a new low when he rudely and falsely described him (Jonathan) as a "kindergarten" leader who treats national issues with levity.
Noting that the presidency has since observed with dismay the continuation of efforts by leaders of the opposition to promote themselves and their party through the irresponsible denigration of Jonathan and the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the president's spokesman said, "We urge Chief Akande and his fellow-travellers to remember that there are laws against libel and defamation of character in this country even if there are no legal impediments to indecorous, hypocritical and unpatriotic vituperations.
The statement made available to LEADERSHIP further noted: "Also, nothing else but gross ignorance and lack of consideration could have led Chief Akande to refer to a President who, having served as deputy governor, governor, vice president and president, has far more experience of governance at the highest level than him and his preferred "candidates", as a kindergarten leader.