As calculations towards the 2015 general elections intensifies, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has written a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan to remind his of his promise to run for only a single term, charging him to tread the path of honour by keeping his words.
Obasanjo’s letter gives credence to earlier agitations from some governors that Jonathan should not contest the presidency in 2015 going by an agreement he entered into in 2011 to appease the north, even though the President has continued to deny knowledge of such a pact.
The governors too are yet to provide evidence of such a deal but Obasanjo in the letter he tagged “Before it is too late”, specifically mentioned that the governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, had informed him of Jonathan’s acceptance not to seek re-election in 2015.
“He (Suswam) told me that you had accepted a one-term presidency to allow for ease of getting support across the board in the North. I decided to cross-check with you. You did not hesitate to confirm to me that you are a strong believer in a one-term of six years for the President and that by the time you have used the unexpired time of your predecessor and the four years of your first term, you would have almost used up to six years and you would not need any more term or time,” the former President said.
According to him, up to two months ago, Jonathan continues to assure that he has not discussed plans to re-contest even when his body language says otherwise.
Obasanjo accused the President of destroying the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, by placing personal and political interests above national interests and failing to draw the line between advice from selfish and self-centered aides and advice from those who in the interest of the nation may not tell him what he will want to hear.
Citing some examples, Obasanjo accused Jonathan of supporting the candidates of opposition parties in governorship elections held in Lagos, Ondo, Edo and Anambra states, thereby causing disagreements between party members.
“Maybe you also need to know that many party members feel disappointed in the double game you were alleged to play in support of party governorship candidates in some states where you surreptitiously supported non-PDP candidates against PDP candidates in exchange for promise or act of those non-PDP governors supporting you for your election in the past or for the one that you are yet to formally declare,” the letter said.
He stated further: “If you as leader of the party cannot be seen to be loyal to the PDP in support of the candidates of the party and the interests of such party candidates have to be sacrificed on the altar of your personal and political interest, then good luck to the party and I will also say as I have had occasions to say in the past, good luck to Goodluck.”
The former leader charged the President to keep to his promise of a single term, saying it will be “fatally morally flawed” for him to contest in 2015.
“As a leader, two things you must cherish and hold dear among others are trust and honour both of which are important ingredients of character. I will want to see anyone in the office of the Presidency as a man or woman who can be trusted, a person of honour in his words and character,” he told Jonathan.
Obasanjo’s letter touched on many other national issues including security, corruption, oil theft, leadership, democracy and international partnerships.
He called on Jonathan to take at least one effective corrective action against high corruption which seems to top other issues bedevilling the country, using transparent means.
“This allegation will not fly away by non-action, cover-up, denial or bribing possible investigators. As head of government, the buck of the performance and non-performance stops on your table and let nobody tell you anything to the contrary. Corruption has reached the level of impunity. It is also necessary to be mindful that corruption and injustice are fertile breeding grounds for terrorism and political instability,” he warned.
Meanwhile, the President’s aides have described the letter as “most reckless, baseless, unjustifiable and indecorous”
Special adviser to the President on media and publicity, Reuben Abati, said he finds the letter “highly unbecoming, mischievous and provocative”, adding that it was deliberately leaked to the mass media in a deplorable effort to impugn the integrity of the President and denigrate his commitment to giving Nigeria the best possible leadership.
Abati said that the President has instructed that no response is provided to the letter on his behalf, as he would personally respond to the charges levelled against him and his administration at the “appropriate time”.