Following the release of the election timetable by INEC on Friday, the Presidency on Saturday said Jonathan would make public his decision on the 2015 presidential election soon. President Jonathan has so far resisted pressure to declare his intention regarding 2015. On different occasions, he said he would only make his decision known this year.Last Thursday, while speaking on the sidelines of the just-concluded World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Jonathan said he was awaiting INEC’s green light.He said, “I am not going to talk about whether I am standing for election or not because it is not in line with our laws. INEC has a time frame within which candidates are expected to declare. If you declare before that time, you are actually contravening the Nigerian laws. So, I won’t tell anybody that I am contesting or that I’m not contesting.”
The 2015 ambition of the President has become controversial with loyalists and opponents of Jonathan heating the polity with their statements. While some prominent South-South leaders have threatened that they will make the country ungovernable if the President is not given a second term, northern elders have claimed that the President signed a one-term agreement and must honour it; a claim the Presidency has refuted many times.
Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Mr. Ahmed Gulak, confirmed on Saturday that with the release of the election timetable by INEC, the coast was clear for Jonathan to declare. Gulak said out of the six geo-political zones in the country, Jonathan had completed consultations in four –South-South, South-East, South-West and North-West – with stakeholders in the zones asking him to seek re-election. Gulak said, “You will recall that the President’s position has remained that he will make his position on the next election known this year. Now that INEC has released timetable for the election, the President will make his position known very soon upon completion of ongoing consultations.
“I can confirm to you that consultation has been completed in South-South, South-East, South -West and North-West with stakeholders in the four zones asking the President to re-contest in 2015.”However, Gulak did not say when Jonathan made the consultations or how. When contacted on Saturday, INEC reaffirmed that with the release of the election timetable, aspirants for the 2015 general elections were free to declare their intentions to contest. The commission’s Director (Media Affairs), Mr. Nick Dazang, said that aspirants could declare their ambition but could not campaign before November 16.
Dazang said, “Aspirants can declare their ambitions and nobody is against that; but by law, they are not supposed to campaign, until 90 days to the election; that is from November 16.“I mean 90 days to the election is when campaign is supposed to begin. After that, the political parties can begin to conduct primaries and in the course of the primaries, candidates that will contest the election will emerge.”
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