By Bose Adebayo
FORMER Minister of Aviation, Youths and Sports, Alabo Tonye Graham-Douglas, has advised Nigerians to come up with progressive ideas that would assist President Goodkuck Jonathan to move the nation forward rather than engaging in controversies and bickering on his eligibility to contest the 2011 presidential election.
Speaking at a function in Lagos, Graham-Douglas, who was also a one-time Minister of Labour and Productivity, called on Nigerians to allow the President to settle down in his new office to redesign the challenges ahead of him.
His words: â€œThe ranging controversies on whether the President should contest the 2011 election will not help the nation. It will only bring distractions. The President should be allowed to settle down and redesign the challenges ahead of him.
â€œAmong other things, he has to face challenges like lack of infrastructural facilities and good governance. The President should go ahead with the saving grace of his political ambition. Nobody can force a candidate on Nigerians if he or she has not recorded laudable achievement.
â€œPresident Jonathanâ€™s work will speak for him when the time comes. Once he has proved himself in all ramifications, the nation will decide whether he should contest or not. The President was never ambitious to rule but has the quest to move the nation forward. He would have declined the move to become the president if not for the constitution that approves him to step into the shoes of his former boss.â€
On the crisis in PDP
The former Minister also expressed worries over the crisis in the Peopleâ€™s Democratic Party, PDP, which he is a founding member and called on members to follow the path of peace.
He said: â€œThose concerned should tread on the path of caution because Nigeria is too big for one or two individuals to prescribe recipes for our co-existence.
â€œWhen President Obasanjo was installed in 1999, we have good programmes to pursue and we were making headways, but within two years of his administration, some opportunists and sycophants besieged the system and introduced that magic word of second term which brought a lot of distractions.
â€œRather than going into development, we embarked upon the ambition of second term which caused us the ability to achieve great things and the partyâ€™s vision was seized from the centre to the state while the electoral system was completely defaced.
â€œPresident Jonathan has been a good lieutenant to the late President and they have the common ticket to run the nation. He should be left alone to continue with the programmes both of them have earmarked.â€
Douglas called on the warring members in PDP to exercise caution at this point in time, saying: â€œThe marriage of 1914 amalgamation by Lord Lugard is still undergoing metamorphoses that has not been finalised. We are still experimenting with it and nothing should be said to jeopardise it or create a feeling of annihilation by one group or domination of one group over another.â€