Elders from the Niger Delta under the auspices of the South-South
Peoples Assembly at the weekend said the leader of the Patriots, Prof.
Ben Nwabueze, has no moral right to advice President Goodluck Jonathan
not to run in 2015.
They also accused him of lying to the press, insisting that the issue
of 2015 did not come up at all in their discussion with the President.
Nwabueze, who led a delegation of the Patriots to meet with President
Jonathan at the State House on Thursday, had while responding to a
question on the statement earlier credited to him, said that he stood
by his words that President Jonathan should forgo his 2015 ambition so
that he could become a hero.
But thus did not go down well with members of the SSPA, led by Chief
Addressing reporters in Abuja at the weekend, the Acting National
Chairman of SSPA, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, said the group’s
investigation revealed that 2015 was not discussed when the Patriots
visited the President.
Nkanga said: “Our investigations revealed that the issue of whether
President Jonathan should contest the presidential election in 2015
was never part of the discussions during the courtesy visit.
“If indeed so, what is the intent of the Patriots, by choosing to
deliberately misrepresent and mislead Nigerians?
“To brief the State House Press what was not discussed during a
courtesy visit to Mr. President is uncharitable, unpatriotic,
dishonest and demeaning of respected statesman.
“As a constitutional lawyer, we had expected Prof. Ben Nwabueze to
understand the workings of a presidential democratic government better
than anybody else.
“The transformation agenda, which he has fallen in love with, is the
initiative of President Jonathan and it has become a cardinal article
of government by the ruling party, Peoples Democratic Party.
“Since Prof. Nwabueze admits that President Jonathan is doing a good
job with the transformation of the country, it is only germane that
Nigerians reward President Jonathan with a new mandate for his
commitment and resilience.
“Whereas, Prof. Nwabueze out of sheer mischief says President Jonathan
would be a hero if he concentrates on tea storming Nigeria without
re-contesting in 2015, we hold the opinion that President Jonathan
would become a greater hero if in response to Nigerians new mandate in
2015, he implements diligently his transformation programme through
The SSPA also described the ‘don’t contest’ advice by Nwabueze to
Jonathan as a disservice to equity and justice, reminding the leader
of the Patriots that President Jonathan is already a hero with the
transformation agenda being implemented.
They therefore, called on President Jonathan to ignore the advice.
Nkanga added: “Therefore, Prof. Nwabueze’s call that President
Jonathan should not contest in 2015 is not only disservice to equity
and justice but smacks of indignity of an elder statesman whose sense
of patriotic judgment is blurred.
“It would perhaps be necessary to remind Prof. Nwabueze that the
transformation agenda, which he admits Nigeria direly needs, is
President Jonathan’s brainchild and that makes him a visionary leader.
“So, what in the thinking of Prof. Nwabueze would undermine President
Jonathan’s authority for national transformation if he chooses to
contest re- election in 2015?
“We wish to remind our respected Prof. Nwabueze that the challenges of
leadership, particularly in a heterogeneous society like Nigeria,
requires humble, patient and listening leaders like President Jonathan
and not self-confessed apostles of I know it all.
“It is on record that Prof. Nwabueze’s stint as Minister of Education
under President (Ibrahim) Babangida was chaotic, turbulent and abysmal
“As critical observer of what is going on in the polity, we are little
surprised that Prof. Ben Nwabueze and his patriot would follow this
“This is not the first time Prof. Nwabueze has exposed the pangs of
hatred against the administration of President Jonathan.
“He has at a various times publicly declared that President Jonathan
was unfit to govern Nigeria and therefore should not contest for
re-election in 2015.
“We are also not in a hurry to forget how he led other “so called”
Patriots to march on the street of Lagos on the issue of fuel subsidy
removal in 2012.
“Prof. Nwabueze has been an ardent critic of Jonathan administration
and as such his recent call is a further expression of his hate for
President Jonathan and all that the administration stands for.”
The South-South elders also condemned the proposed political summit
tagged “Project Nigeria”, calling on prominent people from the zone to
boycott the summit.
The SSPA added: “What Nigerians need at this critical stage of our
national life is not a two-day political jamboree in the name of
“Given Prof. Nwabueze’s penchant to denigrate President Jonathan’s
administration at every given opportunity, we are not convinced that
the motives behind the proposed Uyo summit are altruistic.
“We, therefore, call on all patriotic sons and daughters from the
South-South zone to boycott the Uyo summit.
“It is abominable for a stranger to shave the hair of our son in our own abode.
“The South-South Peoples Assembly will not tolerate Prof. Nwabueze and
his group, in exercise of freedom of speech and expression, to use a
platform funded with the resources from the South-South to throw
tirades and salvos at the administration of our son, President
Goodluck Jonathan, a man Prof. Nwabueze unrepentantly believes is
unfit to provide Nigeria leadership.”