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Jonathan ‘ll contest in 2011 – Ojougboh

By Inalegwu Shaibu

ABUJA—SPECIAL Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, declared, yesterday, that President Goodluck Jonathan will run for the Presidency in the 2011 general election.
Ojougboh who spoke with Senate Correspondents at the National Assembly complex, Abuja, at the end of the seven-day prayers declared for the mourning of late President Umaru Yar’Adua, said: “There is no personal reason for which you can ask him, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, not to contest. There is no moral reason for which you can ask him not to contest and so he will contest and he should contest.”

The former member of the House of Representatives who claimed that he had President Jonathan’s mandate to tell Nigerians that he will contest the 2011 elections, said that there were precedents in the world to point to, adding that by contesting, the President would not be charting a strange route.

He said: “It will not be the first time issues like this will happen. In America you all recall when Richard Nixon left office, his Vice President took over and he eventually contested. Also, when John F. Kennedy died, his Vice President took over and he equally contested.

“In any case, it is our belief that Jonathan contesting and winning the election, will lead to what I would call a renewal of mandate. It would deepen the peace in the Niger Delta, and would also serve to deepen our democracy.

“In fact the constitution also allows him to contest. Section 14 of the constitution also helps him because there must be justice and equity. There is no reason for which you can ask him not to contest.”

On the claims that Jonathan’s candidacy would disrupt the zoning arrangement of the PDP, Dr. Ojougboh dismissed the claims saying it would be a continuation of the Yar’Adua Presidency by Dr. Jonathan.

He said: “Let me tell you, zoning or no zoning, there is no moral justification for anybody to ask Jonathan not to run. That is one thing that is paramount in the minds of every body. What offence has he committed that you ask him not to run? In any case, the party will resolve the zoning issue and I can assure you that it will be resolved in his interest.”

On having the mandate to make the declaration, Ojougboh said: “That is not the issue, it is a general debate that is on going and then it is those of us who worked for the President, it is our own right to join the debate and we are joining it. And then we are telling you that the President will contest..”

Ojougboh writes Vanguard

Meantime, Dr. Ojougboh wrote to Vanguard, yesterday evening: “Further to my interview earlier this morning, let me state that at no time did I say that Mr. President mandated me to say he will run in 2011.

“For the avoidance of doubt, I said that the President can run if he decides and that it will be unfair to ask him not to run. If he decides to run I will vote for him. All what I said is my personal belief as a private citizen with the right to freedom of expression.”


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