EDITORIAL: Jonathan personally promised not to run in 2015, a denial today is barefaced lie

President Goodluck Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan

It was Dalhatu Tafida, the Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, who first let the world into the working of the president’s mind.

At a press conference in Abuja in late 2010, a day ahead of President Goodluck Jonathan’s formal declaration to run in the 2011 presidential election, Mr. Tafida, then Director General of the Jonathan/Sambo campaign organisation, said the president won’t seek another term in 2015.

The president, he said, would be available for only a single term if elected.

“The President wants to run for one term…Let us give him the four years and see how he performs,” Mr. Tafida implored, in what now seems a campaign gimmick.

That explanation sounded logical at the time following the subsisting power rotation formula between the North and the South of Nigeria. Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, a southerner of Yoruba extraction, was in office for eight years. The late President Umaru Yar’Adua’s, a northerner, was therefore expected to take the north’s eight-year turn.

But death suddenly struck, foisting Mr. Jonathan, who was Mr. Yar’Adua’s deputy, on the nation.

So, when Mr. Talfida spoke, the president didn’t deny or fault his arguments. Rather he reinforced them in his actions and speeches.

Although he denied knowledge of the power rotation arrangement, he was unambiguous about his future.

Addressing Nigerians in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he attended an African Union Summit, the president regretted they would not vote on April 9, 2011, in a poll that was to return him for a fresh term.

“I would have loved that Nigerians in the Diaspora vote this year. But to be frank with you that is going to be difficult now,” he said on January 31, 2011,before striking home his point.

“Nigerians in the Diaspora will not vote, but I will work towards it by 2015, even though I will not be running for election.”

The presidency’s denial on Sunday that he has made no commitment to anyone not to run again has shocked many watchers of Nigerian politics with some describing Mr. Jonathan as a shameless liar.

The denial has also triggered debate on whether Mr. Jonathan’s tenure will, or not transcend 2015.

In a reaction to Niger state governor, Babangida Aliyu’s claim that the president endorsed a pact with the governors to exit in 2015, presidential adviser on political matters, Ahmed Gulak, said the claim was “frivolous” and a  figment of the governor’s imagination.

“The alleged agreement only exists in the figment of the imagination of somebody with presidential ambition,” Mr. Gulak said, referring to Mr. Aliyu’s own ambition to succeed the president in 2015.

The president himself has yet to personally speak on the subject. But that is not surprising as that is a well known Aso Rock’s tactic where the president pushes aides to express his position on issues. At times, when a sentiment expressed by an aide gets controversial, the president pushes back, disowning such a remark.

Still, Mr. Gulak’s response on the president’s behalf seems deliberate.

For a potentially stormy subject, the president, through his political mouthpiece, Mr. Gulak, needed to have made it clear he signed no agreement if indeed he didn’t. But he should also have explained if he had changed his mind about running again. He said it himself he won’t run in 2015.

At a time the presidency is being criticised over the disgraceful admittance of lying to the public about the health of the First Lady, it faces even greater condemnation should it continue to deny that the President didn’t tell the world he won’t run in 2015.

Nigerians seem to respect the president’s right to seek re-election. The concerns have been more about whether Mr. Jonathan once pledged to run for only a single term ending 2015.

The president’s remarks in Ethiopia, probably alongside others, provides a response to that concern. The president indeed said so. A denial today would be ungentlemanly and unpresidential.

Ahead of that famous Ethiopian speech, the resolution of a meeting of 18 governors and two deputy governors provided a much-needed weight at the time for the president’s ambition, with a statement backing Mr. Jonathan for one term.

Governor Aliyu’s claim probably derived from the outcome of that meeting.

Also, after the president’s declaration in Addis Ababa, former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, warmed up to that position on March 26, 2011.

Speaking in Abuja during the grand finale of the Jonathan/ Sambo ticket, Mr. Obasanjo  praised the president for agreeing to stand for only a term and urged Nigerians to give him that one chance. Mr. Jonathan was in the audience the ex-President addressed and he nodded in agreement to Mr. Obasanjo’s remark.

Mr. Jonathan should resist the temptation to be blinded by ambition. He should be a man of his words. He should not run again.

  • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

    PREMIUM TIMES IS OWNED BY ATIKU ABUBAKAR . SO THEY CAN WRITE ANYTHING THEY LIKE. Nigerians respect Jonathan’s right to run for second term. All these he-said, them-say, amount to nothing to real Nigerian voters. Has any day passed that Premium Times didn’t manufacture a reason to call Jonathan a liar? This is no journalism.Where is your respect for the office of the President, you traitorous lot? Shame on you! FOUR MORE YEARS.

    • http://www.facebook.com/semiu.akanmu Semiu Akanmu

      Awusa, an intellectual engagement requests you to fault the serial lie allegation against Jonathan. Whoever owns Premium Times is never our business. Our business is the content of the publication. Tell us if the story is falsified with your proofs. Resulting in cheap blackmail is a symptom of cerebral naivety.

      • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

        it is our business when it becomes a pattern of a supposedly independent organisation to feed the public with false innuendos. What business has an independent medium in telling a qualified Nigerian not to run in an election? Does it not bother you that it is patently unjust?Jonathan never told the Nigerian people in any political rally or otherwise that he will run for a single term. That’s was why the twelve Sharia states voted against him. So on what basis would Jonathan promise a single term when the ‘consensus’ idiots have already rejected his participation in 2011 election? Does it make sense to you? Why didn’t the consensus idiots adopt him if he promised a single term?

        IS IT NOT A DISGRACE THAT A CITIZEN OF THIS COUNTRY IS BEEN TOLD HE CAN’T CONTEST IN 2015? THE SAME THING HE WAS TOLD IN 2011. THIS IS RACISM. SHORT AND SIMPLE.

      • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

        it is our business when it becomes a pattern of a supposedly independent organisation to feed the public with false innuendos. What business has an independent medium in telling a qualified Nigerian not to run in an election? Does it not bother you that it is patently unjust?Jonathan never told the Nigerian people in any political rally or otherwise that he will run for a single term. That’s was why the twelve Sharia states voted against him. So on what basis would Jonathan promise a single term when the ‘consensus’ idiots have already rejected his participation in 2011 election? Does it make sense to you? Why didn’t the consensus idiots adopt him if he promised a single term?

        IS IT NOT A DISGRACE THAT A CITIZEN OF THIS COUNTRY IS BEEN TOLD HE CAN’T CONTEST IN 2015? THE SAME THING HE WAS TOLD IN 2011. THIS IS RACISM. SHORT AND SIMPLE.

    • Tobibs

      Reply to Semiu Akanmu’s comment below….You faceless motherfucker!

    • Philemon A.

      The right thing to do is controvert the lies that Premuim times publishes and allow Nigerians to make up the minds about whom is telling the truth between them and President Jonathan. In any case, the issue of intra PDP agreement with respect to Jonathan is a recurring decimal. Therefore, we know who is once again lying.

      • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

        please Phil, don’t join these haters. You are smart man. I don’t know anybody who voted for Jonathan because he promised a single term and I am sure you don’t.

    • thruthnodeydie

      What respect does an office that it’s stock in trade are lies deserve? Jonathan is a bare face liar. Playing 419 on nigerians. I know you too will not state the facts as they are because you also feed from his table like Reuben.

      • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

        please tell your principal to prepare for election. Why are they afraid of Jonathan? they were claiming he is weak before. mugus.

      • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

        please tell your principal to prepare for election. Why are they afraid of Jonathan? they were claiming he is weak before. mugus.

    • Michael Kuku

      No Jonathan , No oil, No Nigeria, you people will hear from the creeks at the appointed time, enough of parasites

    • Niger delta boy

      They say you have cerebral naivety. respond please, will like to see how you dig yourself out of this comment, you this ogogoro infested nincompoop

    • http://twitter.com/doffi_atoshi Doffi Atoshi

      Premium Times is quoting the President verbatim and not alleging.

  • innocent

    Jonathan is a shameless politician, one that advances his trade with deception. That’s a know fact. In any case, if he manages to bamboozle PDP and grabs the 2015 ticket, he CANNOT win.

    • Tobibs

      Amen o! chai!

      • thruthnodeydie

        Jonathan and his family wears lies as a barge of honor. If he can lie about the obvious like setting up a committee to probe the oil subsidy fraud before the House of Rep did, lie on CNN about how happy nigerians are with the current state of electricity, and his aides and wife lying about her health what else will he not lie about.

    • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

      U said the same thing in 2011 and he won. Power belongs to God.

      • http://twitter.com/doffi_atoshi Doffi Atoshi

        This time around thesame God will retrieve that power.

  • babayamani

    Then how can he be trusted to steer the Nigerian Ship ?

  • Tobibs

    I saw it all over the news, I heard it in interviews, I read it everywhere, he said it, his cabinet members said it, his party people said it, he was going to spend one term…One disastrous one term that is….And, was this not the same bloody liar that said he wasn’t aware of his party’s zoning formula? common Nigerians on the streets knew of that arrangement except the Phd fisherman…Fucking disgrace of a man!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kenny.adewole.3 Kenny Adewole

    Under the 1999 Constitution, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is entitled to contest the Presidency of the country in 2015. Any pact signed and unsigned with an individual or a group is not supreme to the Constitution of Nigeria. The President is entitled to change his mind as at when due!

    • Philemon A.

      Yes, the constitution is supreme. Yes, Jonathan has the right to change his mind. But he must first admit to whatever he said in the past. Otherwise, how can you ever trust what he tells you today

      • Chidi

        GEJ has done very well under the circumstances that he met this rickety country. We will vote him over and over again.

        • Ton

          Read this……,
          Nigerians seem to respect the president’s right to seek re-election. The concerns have been more about whether Mr. Jonathan once pledged to run for only a single term ending 2015.

          The president’s remarks in Ethiopia, probably alongside others, provides a response to that concern. The president indeed said so. A denial today would be ungentlemanly and unpresidential.

          Ahead of that famous Ethiopian speech, the resolution of a meeting of 18 governors and two deputy governors provided a much-needed weight at the time for the president’s ambition, with a statement backing Mr. Jonathan for one term.

          Governor Aliyu’s claim probably derived from the outcome of that meeting.

          Also, after the president’s declaration in Addis Ababa, former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, warmed up to that position on March 26, 2011.

          Speaking in Abuja during the grand finale of the Jonathan/ Sambo ticket, Mr. Obasanjo praised the president for agreeing to stand for only a term and urged Nigerians to give him that one chance. Mr. Jonathan was in the audience the ex-President addressed and he nodded in agreement to Mr. Obasanjo’s remark.

          Mr. Jonathan should resist the temptation to be blinded by ambition. He should be a man of his words. He should not run again.

    • happyalways

      ….And he should simply say so….”by popular demand, though I said I wont, now I will”

  • http://twitter.com/uzunnurain16 Zunnurain

    Jeg lied to an oath.

  • armrod

    Even if he has said that he will not run for another term and now have decided to run what the heck is your problem. Even though Mr president have not declare his intention of running for another term if he changes his mind and declare to run for another term, how is it your problem if he has the right to run. Buhari said that he will not run for another election but he has changed his mind to run if his party allows him. If Jonathan accept not to run for an election it is his right which he has decided to trade away, if he changes his mind and run it is still his right which he wants to apply. If they agree to support him because he said that he wont run again they still have the liberty not to support him or enter into another agreement.

    • thruthnodeydie

      The problem is that the president is a liar. No integrity. He must first reform himself before reforming the nation.

    • NigerDelta Boy

      Armrod, this is not a change of mind matter, but a clear case of someone that does not stick to agreements be it gentle or written. where you cannot trust what a man says or do how does that person then gain the trust of his team or the masses at large. please do not water down issues like this we have a president that is completely deficient in the area of integrity and you say “change of mind”.

      • armrod

        Jonathan did not sign any legal agreement with the governors. What happened is that in a meeting GEJ I believe informed his party caucus that he will only do one term. After the meeting there was a communique which addressed all that was discussed in the meeting and normally everybody that attended the meeting signed. This can’t be regarded as an agreement because it is not biding, it was a deliberation that was reached at the meeting.Just like Buhari who said that he will not contest election again now has said he will contest because of pressure from his supporters. Jonathan you should as well remember is representing a zone, if his zone and supporters all over Nigeria wants him to contest and pressurize him to change his mind and if he indeed accept to run again do you mean to tell me that he did not stick to agreement and therefore should not be trusted. Please we are all human being we can make a decision and later change our mind to fit current realities. The reality is that SS and his supporters may want him to contest.

        • http://twitter.com/doffi_atoshi Doffi Atoshi

          Said it at Cacus meeting,then Ethiopia and later to CNN;what are we talking of?

    • happyalways

      Yes o…it is his right. But is it not more honourable to simply accept he said he wont but that he has changed his mind?……We have a President that can not even tell lies properly!

  • Emeka

    Is only the word of God can never be changed.Politicians are ca****leon.

  • Mr. Myle

    That beer palour agreement of whether GEJ should stand for one term of whatever is nonsense provided the constitution says another thing.Mpitikwelu is obsessed by PREMIUM TIMES, so he can say whatever. for us outside readers, they are just giving us a marvelous information and keep the good work PT. GEJ, PDP and all of them under that umbrella cannot be trusted and they are deceivers and Liars. APC is our hope!

  • Michael Ijere

    One miilion Premium Times + Buhari + Tinubu + APC + Elrufai etc etc can never stop Jonathan, he will run and win in 2015, no illegal agreement can hold

  • angryniger

    if you cannot trust what a so called president says, then there is a problem, GEJ seems to have amnesia about a lot of things, first he claimed he was not aware of his party PDP’s zoning arrangement (That was a lie) then he claims he never agreed to only run for one term (Another lie) why can’t the TV stations air his campaign rally where he said so, I watched the rallies, and I and most Nigerians heard Jonathan say he would only run for one term, Jonathan is a serial liar, when madam Lazarus was away in Germany, the told us lies that she was away resting, another lie, this is a family of liars, just last Sunday, lazarus [patience jonathan confessed and said she died for 7 days. The question is do this people have any shame, I BEG THE TV STATIONS PLEASE, PLEASE AIR THE SCRIPTS WHERE THIS LIAR FAMILY TOLD THEIR LIES FOR ALL TO SEE. WOULD you TRUST SOMEONE WHO CONTINOUSLY TELLS YOU LIES, no, of course not. We cannot trust GEJ, LEST I FORGET WHAT ABOUT THE CNN INTERVIEW, DID HE LIE OR NOT ABOUT THE POWER SITUATION IN NIGERIA. ?

  • concernednigerian

    This is neither here nor there. Jonathan has a right to promise anything to anybody in this world. The truth of the matter is that Jonathan is no more his own person. He has been ordained to serve humanity in the capacity of Head of Government. The South-South that bears the brunt of oil exploration that sustains the economy of the country have said that they want to be at the helm of affairs of the country to manage the proceeds from thieir resources for two terms of office. And for this they have nominated the incumbent to go for another term of office irrespective of his preferences. The North and some elements in the South-West may not like the idea of someone of Jonathan’s origin being their President. That is their right and they’re also free to vote against him in 2015. The South-South also have the right to have asked Jonathan to go for another term of office. Ultimate decision lies with the electorate in 2015. What the critics are doing is to create animosity amongst the various nationalities that make up Nigeria. If Jonathan loses in 2015, then the South-South will have to take stock of the situation, embark upon a post-mortem of the challenges Jonathan faced from Boko Haram to the entire moslem North and arrive at a conclusion whether or not it is still worth their while to contunue to be part of this absurdity called Nigeria. 2015 is pregnant with unforeseen circumstances. No president has had to contend with what Jonathan is dealing with. Buhari was a military dictator. Obasanjo came into office as a former military dictator. Shagari and Yara Adua had a fair wind as Presidents. None of the above was subjected to similar challenges as those being faced by Jonathan. Certain parts of the country had the efrontery to promise to make Nigeria ungovernable for the Jonathan administration and they have not relented ever since. The South-South can do without Nigeria.

    • http://twitter.com/doffi_atoshi Doffi Atoshi

      The issue is that of honor and integrity!

  • God’s work

    if Jonathan did not go for second term, then who will go? why is everybody against GEJ? Is it because Nigerians said NO to one people ruling us for so long now? Please give him a break bc u that is castigating him cannot even rule your family members not to talk of the whole Nation. There is an adage which says, ” Use ur own home and know how my own home is”. Where were all this BH when the Hausas and Yorubas where ruling in Nigeria?

    • http://twitter.com/doffi_atoshi Doffi Atoshi

      They performed better,check me over.

  • Easy

    This ploy of going round with a piece of paper asking people to sign away their rights has now been perfected by the Sharia states. As Nigerians, what we should be concerned about is ensuring that no one is denied his right to contest for the highest office in the land by a handful of anti-democracy forces.

    At the party’s convention where a leader is adopted as the Presidential candidate, anyone is allowed to put his hat in the ring, although it is customary to respect the wishes of the incumbent to contest for a second term. It is therefore interesting to explore what ulterior motives are driving these men. Inevitably, it boils down to the born to rule mentality of some who cannot bear the thought of anyone from the SS being the President. If it is accepted that as Nigerians, we are all entitled to aspire to this office, why are some trying to make it their own?

  • Atipako

    Whatever GEJ says on the 2nd term is not important anymore,his performance so far and lack of leadership qualities to take Nigeria to the promise land is enuf to loose the 2015 election if free nd fair.