… You can’t stampede him to declare –Shema
From TAIWO AMODU and ADETUTU FOLASADE-KOYI, Abuja
Less than 24 hours after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) released the timetable for the 2015 general polls, a non-governmental organisation in Abuja, the Citizens Network for Peace and Development (CNDP) has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to declare his candidacy forthwith.
The group advised others nursing the ambition of contesting the 2015 Presidency on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to drop such ‘inordinate ambition’, describing Jonathan as, “the only candidate worth voting for in these trying times.”
The CNDP further described Jonathan as a patriot at heart and a nationalist whose loyalty to Nigeria was without question.
It stated that its stand was not based on sentiments but on realities on ground, adding that President Jonathan inherited colossal liabilities from past administrations including corruption, militancy and “wanton killings in the North.”
Addressing a press conference in Abuja yesterday, CNDP Director General, Preye Dressman, noted that Jonathan had raised the bar in good governance and had, so far, “been able to exhibit rare political will and courage in his drive to transform Nigeria for the better.
“Citizens Network will, in the days ahead, be at the vanguard for calls and activities geared towards ensuring that President Jonathan runs again. Any party or individual who has contrary reasons as to why President Jonathan should not contest for the office of president in 2015 should step forward and engage us in an open debate.
“While on the subject, we call on members of the PDP to sheathe their swords. Given that the party exists as a big family, we advise those nursing inordinate ambitions at the expense of the party’s unity to have a rethink and put their weight behind the only candidate worth voting for in these trying times.”
But the Katsina State Governor, Ibrahim Shema has said declaration for the race was at the discretion of President Jonathan, stressing that the latter should not be stampeded into the race.
Speaking with newsmen in Katsina, Governor Shema expressed concern over what he called open campaigns for political offices which he described as distractions to the incumbents.
“When there is time for election, the human temperature goes up. The president has not declared that he would run, but there have been speculations. The time is not ripe for campaigns but Nigerians are already running around, creating distractions. Maybe it is because our democracy is young, but it is good to learn. The president will come out and make declaration at the right time,” he said.