Jonathan, Buhari should form Unity Government — Ben Nwabueze, others

Prof. Ben Nwabueze

Project Nigeria Movement, a coalition of civil society groups led by respected lawyer, Ben Nwabueze, on Tuesday called on whoever emerges winner of the March 28 presidential election to form a Government of National Unity.

In a communiqué issued at the end of its meeting in Lagos, the group stated that given the neck-to-neck race between President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, APC, the winner takes it all arrangement would no longer fashionable.

The group, therefore, advised both the two frontline candidates to consider forming a unity government if any of them wins the election.

According to the group, the circumstances thrown up during campaigns by the two major political parties made it imperative for such coalition.

“Whoever wins the election will constitute his government with ministers drawn from both parties or from all the parties that contested the presidential election in a manner to be agreed under a formal accord,” part of the communiqué reads.

The group, however, praised Mr. Jonathan for convening the 2014 National Conference but advised Nigerians to support a candidate based on their party manifesto, antecedent, character and intellectual depth.

It also listed other qualities of the would-be president to include good educational background and ability to provide effective presidential leadership.

“Without prejudice to the provision of the Constitution, effective presidential leadership requires a president with good and sound qualifications,” the group said.

“In particular, it requires good education up to a minimum level of a university first degree or its equivalent.

“With the academic knowledge, intellectual insights and mental orientation, ideas and perception it imparts as well as brilliant, acute and creative intellect and ability to combine ideas and power, intellectualism and politics.”

The group noted that the implementation of the report of the 2014 National Conference can only be accomplished through a new constitution adopted and approved by Nigerians through a referendum.

“Accordingly, President Goodluck Jonathan must, likewise General Buhari, make an unequivocal public statement avowing their commitment, if re-elected, to implement the decisions of the National Conference in the way and manner suggested above.”

“President Jonathan’s public statement must also avow a commitment to expand his Transformation Agenda to embrace the entire polity and society to rid and cleanse them of the prevailing corruption, moral degeneracy and decadence as well as the pervasive social injustice, inequity and inequality.”

The group argued that Nigeria is in dire need of a social and ethical revolution led by a president imbued with a revolutionary fervour to change things and create a new and better society; a president capable of mobilizing the people for the right purpose.

On the planned use of card reader during the forthcoming elections, the group noted that Nigeria has been embarrassed by rigging in past elections and if the card readers could stop rigging, it should be used.

“We urge INEC to do everything to make sure that what they have now works and it’s used for the election. We are fully in support of the use of card readers,” he said.

The group, however, noted that the ‎use of military for election is unconstitutional.

On the postponement of elections, the senior lawyer said it was a blessing in disguise adding that it has given INEC more time to get itself fully ready for the exercise while also enabling political parties to review their campaign strategies to make them more issue based.

“But more important than the justification or otherwise of the postponement is a guarantee that the period before, during and after the election will be violence-free and that there will be no further post-postponement for the same security reason or for any other reason not in accordance with or without the contemplation of the Constitution,” the communiqué reads.

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