May 25, 2014
Saharareporters, New York
In a speech that is bound to catch his allies, foes and watchers of his administration by surprise, President Goodluck Jonathan today assured Nigerians that a different government and leadership would be installed in Nigeria in 2015.
Mr. Jonathan made the surprise statement at a “Democracy Day” church service held Sunday in Abuja.
Before the president’s speech, the head of the Nigeria Pilgrims Commission, Reverend John Kennedy Opara, had set the tone when he told the gathering that this year’s Democracy Day would be the last to be celebrated by Mr. Jonathan.
When it was the president’s turn to speak, he referred to Reverend Opara’s statement. He echoed the reverend’s statement, assuring Nigerians that the Democracy Day event was the last for his current administration.
A PDP official who was at the event told SaharaReporters that he was mystified by the statements. He said he had no advance notice about the president’s remarks, and so was in no position to interpret its political meaning.
It remains unclear if the two statements are indications that the Nigerian president had decided not to seek a second term in office in general elections scheduled for next year. Mr. Jonathan continues to face criticism both in Nigeria and abroad for his dismal performance since he assumed office more than five years ago.
Our source reported that the church service was not well attended. He stated, however, that some government officials, including Senate President David Mark, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Pius Anyim, and some military chiefs were present. The president’s wife, Patience Jonathan, as well as his mother were also in attendance.
In a minor misstep in protocol, Mr. Jonathan recognized his wife before he did Senator David Mark.