By Ben Agande
Abuja — Political Elders from the South-South and Middle Belt, under the aegis of Congress for Equality and Change, yesterday, said President Goodluck Jonathan has every right to contest for a second term in 2015 and should not be denied such right.
Chief Edwin Clark, leader of the group, told newsmen, after a meeting with President Jonathan, that the group, which was formed in 2010, came to pledge its support for his government.
He said: “It is written in the constitution of Nigeria that a president is entitled to two terms. Shagari did so, Obasanjo did so. Shagari’s second term was taken over by a military man.
“Today, he wants to be President. He staged a coup in 1983. I was also a Senator at that time.
“When it came to Obasanjo, he did eight years under the constitution. And some of my northern friends have said that all they had was a second term for Shagari.
“If Shagari was entitled to two terms, why not Jonathan? Is it because he is a minority? So any group that is coming to meet Mr. President with a view that he should not contest in 2015, count me out.
“This group believes that Mr. President should contest the 2015 election as the constitution provides.”
Clark said the group is made up of the south-south states and minorities in the middle belt, which comprises North-Central and North-East.
He said every Nigerian is equal and should be treated as such, noting that it was the only way the country could move forward.
Clark said: “Everybody in Nigeria is equal to the other. Nobody is superior to the other. Nobody is inferior to the other. That is why we named it equality and change. There must be changes in this country.
“We have to move forward. We have been living in a country where we have been building bridges between the various groups in this country.
“There are minority groups, there are majority groups and unless we understand one another, it will be difficult for us to survive as a country.”
Members of the group, led by Chief Clark to the meeting, include Gen. Lawrence Onoja (rtd.), Senator Rowland Owie, Senator Felix Ibru, Cairo Ojougbo, Senator Ewa Henshaw and Commodore Dan Suleiman.
Also at the meeting were Water Resources Minister, Mrs Sarah Ochekpe; Housing and Urban Development Minister, Ms Amma Pepple.
Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke; Works Minister, Mike Onelememen.
Others were ministers of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke; Minister of State, Trade and Investments, Dr. Samuel Ortom; Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku; Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs, Ahmed Gulak.
Chief Clark said the group had already commenced dialogue with other groups in the country to get their support for President Jonathan.