By George Onah
The Ijaw National Congress has told President Goodluck Ebelle Jonathan not to bother himself about contesting the 2011 Presidential election but to concentrate on the duties he was sworn-in to perform and â€œfor which all progressive forces have prayed to Godâ€.
It also repeated the call for the convocation of a national conference of all ethnic nationalities to ventilate their views, hopes, fears and aspirations, stating, â€œonly such a forum would enable the Nigerian nation truly appreciate the wide and diverse needs and bottled-up frustrations of various interests groupsâ€.
President of the congress Dr. Atuboyedia Obainime told the press in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, last weekend, that he acknowledged the fact that Jonathan as an adult Nigerian had the constitutional right to aspire to any office in the land.
He, however, explained that the president should not pre-occupy himself with plans to be re-elected in 2011 but his priority should be â€œto see this period of our national life as one deserving utmost focus, dedication to service and indeed true statesmanshipâ€.
â€œPresident Jonathan should first and foremost see himself as a Nigerian leader, patriot and president who must strive at all times to rise above board and be counted as a statesman. There should not be the tendency to demean the presidency by misconstruing it as a Niger Delta turn.
He must resist likely temptations from those who may wish to box him in a corner, by insisting â€˜this is our turnâ€™. The president must maintain and stabilise the realm, by seeing the stability of the Nigerian state as a major priority.
This he can achieve by striving to bring to fruition the enviable vision, mission and real legacies of his fallen principal, the servant-leader, late President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua. President Jonathan must take a more critical look at Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s 7-point Agenda and reduce them to two or three point agenda that are realisable and achievable taking into cognisance the finances and time availableâ€.
It is on account of this approach â€œthat Jonathan could immortalise Yarâ€™Adua, give Nigerians hope for a brighter future and bequeath a legacy with a strong impact that aptly highlights the much needed difference.
The demands of Ijaws and indeed the Niger Delta region have not changed because the fundamental issues that formed the nucleus of the Niger Delta struggle have not been properly addressed. We urge him to run an open, transparent and vibrant presidency. All these cardinal principles should be hinged on the rule of law, equity, fairness and justice.