President Goodluck Jonathan is reportedly having serious thoughts over his 2015 re-election ambition because of the constitutional obstacles in his way.
It was gathered that the president is presently scouting for a candidate from the northern part of the country he can trust, in the event that he failed to scale through the legal hurdle.
The legal battle relates to the constitutional provisions which provide that a president can only serve two terms, which President Goodluck has served already.
Although many are of the opinion that the President is eligible to contest in 2015, the President is said to be leaving nothing to chance should the impending legal battle against him succeeds.
It was gathered from sources close to Jonathan that he has been on the lookout for a northern candidate since it became obvious that declaring intention to run in the 2015 elections will be greeted by various lawsuits contesting his constitutional eligibility.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “There are two constitutional provisions that are in question. The first is section 135 (1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, which states that no president can take the oath of office of the president of Nigeria more than twice.
“You will recall that on May 6, 2010, President Jonathan was sworn in by Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu as the fifth president of Nigeria after the death of then president Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. Upon winning the presidential election in 2011, he was again sworn in and took the oath of office as the sixth president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This means he has been sworn in twice already, not as acting president but with full powers as commander-in-chief.”
Jonathan’s move is predicated on the plot by some powerful politicians and groups in the country who are said to have assembled a team of lawyers to challenge him whenever he declares his intention to take a shot at the nation’s No. 1 job
According to report, some top politicians are waiting for the president to declare to enable them embark on the legal battle, as any move in that direction now would amount to a wild goose chase.
According to the source, the president is aware that there are people who are patiently waiting for a declaration of intent to run for the office in 2015 before they proceed to the courts for interpretation of the section and, ultimately, to stop him.
Jonathan, he continued, has never been desperate to return in 2015 but for pressure from his kinsmen and other political associates who have been egging him on.
“Also, his aspiration is not based on his conviction but due to pressure from the south-south and, specifically, the Ijaw people. This is one of the reasons he has been postponing declaration for 2015.”
Jonathan is also said to be concerned that if he decides to take his chances and declare for 2015 and in the event that the courts deliver a verdict ruling him out of the race, the PDP may lose the presidency without a ready candidate in place as flag-bearer of the party.
The president, it was learnt, is also worried that his delayed declaration may also impede the 2015 transition in view of INEC’s demand for the list of each party’s candidates by October-November this year.
“The timetable released by INEC states that parties must submit the list of their candidates by November, latest, this year, and pegged presidential elections for February. From November to that date is roughly two months and Mr president is aware that there is really no time to go through the processes of a court case even if it is expedited. Another consideration he is making is that there may not be enough time for the party to get a flag-bearer if he is disqualified and this may lead to losing the presidency to the opposition,” the source added.
So far, Jonathan is yet to settle on any candidate; he is reportedly being careful with choosing a successor whom he can truly trust.