Northern elite accuse Jonathan of plotting tenure elongation

In spite of his declaration that he is yet to decide on whether to stand again for elections in 2015 or not, some Northerners under the aegis of Committee of Concerned Northern Professionals, Politicians, Academics and Businessmen (CCNPPAB) have accused President Goodluck Jonathan of plotting to elongate his tenure.
The group in a statement yesterday said the issue of whether he is in his first or second term in office is a serious constitutional issue that only the courts can determine, adding that rather than preempt discussions on the issue, he should subject himself to the due process of law by approaching the courts for proper direction on the issue.
According to the group, it is improper for the President to canvass his position on the issue through the media, rather than resort to the law court, adding that preoccupying himself with schemes of tenure elongation is distracting him from focusing attention on the important job he was elected to do less than a year into the tenure.
The convener of the group, Junaid Muhammed and the Committee Chairman on Constitutional Amendment, Awwal Yadudu, accused the Presidency of using the Justice Belgore Committee set up to introduce a seven-year single term to allow Mr. Jonathan have a test-run after his current term.
“In an apparent failure of this effort, it has become clear that the President, who along with his late predecessor, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua served a full four-year term between 2007 and 2011, and currently serving a second term, seems now clearly bent on finding a way to serving a third term of office,” the group said.
 “This single-minded search for Jonathan’s tenure elongation will be fought and defeated using all constitutional means available,” the group warned, adding its members have taken upon themselves “the duty of arousing civil society groups and the general public to wake up to this relentless attempt to tenure elongation.”
“The current constitution is very clear on the assertion that whichever President serves two terms in office is not eligible for another term of office,” the group said. “A first impression one gets from the reading of the constitution is that for the purposes of tenure, qualification and disqualification, the President and the Vice President are considered as one. Based on this, President Jonathan will be considered in law to have served his first term between 2007 and 2011.”

It urged Nigerians to be aware that the country is confronted by a serious constitutional issue that impinges on the country’s overall well-being, adding that it would be ready to join hands with other Nigerians to pursue a suit on the matter in court as part of the process in the public interest.

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