Former Vice President and presidential aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar has
stated that President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was conspicuously present at the December 2, 2002 enlarged
caucus meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) where the agreement to share power between North
and South was taken.
He said under that agreement, those in attendance including Jonathan, then a former Deputy Governor of
Bayelsa State, resolved after voting to rotate the presidency on the basis of eight years each between the
North and South.
He expressed surprise and shock that President Jonathan will now claim ignorance of such agreement for
the sake of his ambition to run in 2011.
According to a statement by his Campaign Organisation the President should have been honourable and
courageous enough to own up to his participation in the formulation of a major party power sharing formula.
“The ambition to rule at all costs should not make us abandon the path of honour by denying a decision
that has enthroned stability and unity in our body politic,” he said.
The PDP presidential aspirant said it is surprising that despite existing and verifiable minutes of this landmark
agreement, the President was pretending that no such pact was ever reached.
Atiku said the highpoint of the minutes of the meeting as read and adopted by the enlarged caucus was that
“the National Caucus generally decided that the 1998 zoning of the positions of the President, Vice President,
Senate President, Speaker, Party Chairman, Party Secretary etc should remain as it would stabilise the party...”
He warned that President Jonathan cannot be trusted with the PDP mandate in 2011 if emerging trends are
anything to go by.
He called on voters not to elect as President in 2011 someone who lacks the will, trust and confidence to
offer genuine and strong leadership to a diverse country like Nigeria.
“Mr. President gleefully denied before the whole world at the PDP headquarters that the presidency
of Nigeria has never been zoned to any part of the country. How did he emerge as Vice President in
2007,” Atiku queried.
According to him, “this was a man who sat at a PDP caucus meeting where a vote was taken over the
Presidency and he voted for the zoning motion and has subsequently developed amnesia. Given this
antecedent, does anyone think that candidate Jonathan will recognize term limits in the probable
assumption that Nigerians entrust him with the responsibility of leading them?”
He said that Nigeria deserves honest, reliable and trustworthy leadership at a critical moment like this.
The PDP presidential aspirant said that President Jonathan’s denial of having not ordered the disruption
of the South-east Stakeholders Political Conference in Owerri on Monday in which notable Nigerian patriots
of Igbo extraction like former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme and former Senate President Ken Nnamani,
among many others were harassed like outlaws is clearly an indication that he cannot be entrusted with the
highest office in the land.
“How can he exonerate himself from the disgraceful show of shame by the police in disrupting a peaceful
assembly of a people as recognized by the constitution without even as much as demanding for probe or
hold someone responsible if indeed he is the commander-in-chief?
“This government by denials will not by any standard help the course of
Nigeria’s development and the confidence of its people. The Commissioner of Police in Imo State takes
orders from the Inspector General of Police, who in turn reports to the President. But when a
Commander-in-chief fails to take responsibility for a clampdown on a legitimate gathering, denies
knowledge of it and fails to hold anyone responsible, it becomes difficult to trust that
leadership,” Atiku said.
He said that President Jonathan can no longer be trusted, as he is fast trading his commander-in-chief status for that of a “commander-in-denial.”