President Goodluck Jonathan has said that at no time did he sign or enter into any agreement with anybody that he would not seek a fresh term in 2015.
Jonathan, who said this last night during the presidential media chat, dispelled insinuations that the political tension in the country was caused by his ambition for the 2015 presidency.
Disagreement over whether such pact exists is now tearing the ruling party apart.
But this is the first time Mr. Jonathan has commented in person since the issue was raised by Niger state governor, Muazu Babangida Aliyu several months ago.
The president challenged those claiming he signed such an agreement to show it to Nigerians.
He also insisted that time was not yet ripe for him to tell Nigerians whether he would or not seek re-election in 2015.
According to him, since the nation's electoral law has a time frame within political parties and those interested in elections must declare their interests, it is not right for him to declare his interest earlier than that stipulated time frame.
He said he should not be forced to declare his interest in the 2015 general elections, saying doing so would destabilise the polity and disrupt his administration's developmental programmes.
He, however, stressed that his silence on his interest in the 2015 presidency neither stops nor prevents any other person interested from declaring his/her own intention.
Jonathan said he discovered some people said he signed an agreement for one term when he was advocating seven-year single tenure while interfacing with some Nigerians in Addis Ababa sometime ago.
He said: "I didn't sign any agreement (for one term). If I had signed an agreement with anybody, they would have shown you. A lot of people are misinforming Nigerians. I was in Addis Ababa when I advocated this single tenure. I said if we look at the politics of Nigeria, especially now that the country is just developing...in terms of the political evolution, we started the First Republic, it collapsed, the Second Republic collapsed, the Third Republic collapsed. This is the very first time that we've stayed. So, I said if we look at the way we go about our politics, to be productive, definitely if a president has a single tenure of seven years of one term without any interference, he must be productive more than even in the so-called eight years.
"If advocate for that, people would say the president, having completed the late President Yar'Adua's tenure and another four years that make it five years, want to serve for another seven year single tenure, that would make it 12 years. If Nigerians agree to that single tenure, I believe it will be more productive for the country because I am thinking more about the country. I did not say oh, Jonathan is or not going to contest election (in 2015). I discovered that the concept of the single tenure which I was advocating at that time, it was when I was interfacing with some Nigerians in Addis Ababa that some said I signed an agreement. They should show you the agreement.
"Our electoral laws prescribe guidelines for political activities...So the electoral laws give time frame for political parties and those who are interested in elections to begin to inform Nigerians. But if you do so earlier, you would destabilise the polity. Whether it's President Goodluck Jonathan or any other person, if you declare early enough, you create more problems in the system than solve the problems. If you say you're contesting or not, you create more problems. So, don't even force the president to declare his interest. It's not right (to declare very early). It's even against the electoral laws. Electoral laws stipulate the time that political parties will conduct their primaries. Whatever you are doing is about time...even after the 2011 elections, I directed that every billboard should be removed, and if somebody has gone to erect billboards, I'm hearing for the first time.
"Whether I'm contesting or not (in 2015) shouldn't be an issue in a normal society. If anybody wants to be president of Nigeria, he'll contest, whether I'm contesting or not. My not declaring my interest doesn't stop or prevent him from contesting. You don't have to wait until I, Jonathan, say I'm not contesting an election. If you are interested, go and be preparing. You don't need to wait for me to say I'm not contesting. If you want to contest the governorship election in a state where the sitting governor still has the opportunity to re-contest, you don't have to wait for the governor to say he's not contesting or he's contesting.
Speaking further, Jonathan said the talk about corruption in the country had been overblown.
"When Transparency International speaks about corruption, I like the word they use, corruption perception index. We are doing very well in terms of cost of governance.
Denying the allegations of selective privatisation by his administration, Jonathan said: "There is no selective privatization; you cannot privatize everything the same day.
Speaking about power, he said, "We are not talking about how many megawatts. The real issue is how many hours of the day people in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and so on really have power, that is our interest" adding that even if we are generating up to 14,000mw and the people do not have the power, of what use will it be to them?
The president accused the nation's judiciary of being responsible for public treasury looters to escape punishment.
Jonathan also dismissed insinuations that the nation was bankrupt, querying the parameters being used to make the such insinuations. He also said the recent cabinet reshuffle had nothing to do with his perceived disagreement with the seven rebel governors, saying "In government from time to time you may need to re strategize your team. You do not need to rationalize it.