A former governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Adamu has insisted that President Goodluck Jonathan entered into agreement with the leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to spend a term of four years in office.
He said at a meeting with party leaders at the Conference Room of the Office of the First Lady, Presidential Villa, the President agreed not to seek re-election after conceding that it was the turn of the north to produce the president on the platform of the ruling party following the demise of former President Umaru Yar’Adua.
According to him, at the meeting, which he attended in his capacity as the then Secretary of the PDP Board of Trustees, virtually all the PDP governors then were present.
Mr. Adamu, currently a senator representing Nasarawa West Senatorial District, spoke as a guest onStraight Talk with Kadaria Ahmed, a popular talk-show on Channels Television.
“I believe it is the right of every Nigerian within the Constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria to run for the highest office in the land,”Mr. Adamu who has since defected to the opposition All Progressive Congress, APC, said. “I cannot deny him that constitutional right. But I do know of the philosophy that it is not everything that you can do that you do. I know that as a fact.
“And I was party to the incident. Our president, His Excellency Goodlcuk Jonathan was in the meeting. I was in the meeting in the Villa, in the First Lady’s Conference Room when the issue of zoning came, when the issue of whether he would be allowed to contest in the first place came.
“This was after he had taken over and was completing Yar’Adua’s tenure.”
Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State had last year triggered a political storm in the country when he argued that Mr. Jonathan was ineligible to contest the 2015 presidential election having allegedly agreed not to.
Speaking in an interview with an independent radio station Liberty FM, Kaduna, the governor claimed the president signed a single-term pact with the PDP governors in 2011.
The president and his aides however debunked the claim, saying it was a “frivolous allegation.”
Mr. Adamu however said after Mr. Jonathan succeeded his late boss in May 2010 and the president was given the opportunity to contest, it was clear the presidential slot, in line with the zoning principle of the ruling PDP would return to the northern part of the country.
Mr Adamu explained, “He was given the opportunity to contest and it was clear it would come back to the North because the rotation is north and south. That is the rotation essentially.
“As far as PDP was concerned, Yar’Adua had the northern slot so to say and he didn’t go that distance. He, as vice president, took over which is okay. After taking over he wanted another shot. He was allowed the slot.
“As a party, the party produces its candidate and before he was produced there was some caucusing. And the Caucus agreed that he should be the candidate of the party. Before the Convention, a decision is usually taken that this is the person to support, maybe one or two candidates or so. He was out there. He was an incumbent president. He defeated Atiku. And he agreed to do only one term.”
Asked to name those who attended the meeting, the former governor said, “I was there. I was the Secretary of the Board of Trustees of the party. The president himself was there. Some state governors were there. Samuel Ogbemudia was there. Virtually all the PDP governors were there.”
Mr. Adamu said Mr. Jonathan would be violating the agreement if he decides to enter the presidential contest which holds in February next year, saying, “By running he is absolutely reneging on an agreement.”
He stressed, “I am saying I was in PDP. I was part and parcel of an agreement for the power shift. I’m saying our dear president was part of that agreement.”
The lawmaker said the dynamics of Nigerian politics makes the zoning of political offices necessary.
“The constitution of the country does allow it. It is not for me as an individual to say to hell with the constitution,” he said.
“To say to hell with power balancing in Nigeria, no politics in the world is precluded from having these forces that determine the shape of leadership or the location of leadership at any point in time.”
Since Mr. Aliyu opened the issue of the controversial single-term pact, others have joined the fray to insist that Mr. Jonathan should excuse himself from the impending presidential race.
The Adamawa State Governor, Murtala Nyako, a few months ago asked the president to keep his promise instead of dragging Nigerian into another civil war.
Mr. Nyako, who also said he was at the meeting, claimed there was an earlier agreement in 2003 that the north would produce the president between 2007 and 2011 and that Mr. Jonathan, who was the deputy governor of Bayelsa State, signed as number 73.
The governor said when he was approached to sign the new agreement in 2011 that Mr. Jonathan would not contest again in 2015 he was reluctant to do so because he (President) did not respect the 2003 agreement.
He said he was subsequently prevailed upon to sign.
“In the first place, when that agreement was brought for me to sign, I told them that this President (Jonathan), in the agreement signed in the year 2003, he was number 73,” Mr. Nyako who defected to the APC last October, said.
“Did we not agree under (ex-President Olusegun) Obasanjo that the term 2007 and 2011 belong to the North?
“He was number 73 as deputy governor of Bayelsa State, so when they came, they said I should sign, they said he had agreed that he would not contest in the year 2015.
“In the first place, I said I did not believe him because he didn’t give his pledge for the agreement signed in the year 2003. They said ah, ah, Baba Maimangoro. I said ok, I will sign. So I signed.”
“After that, the Niger State governor took the paper to Jonathan and he signed. Obasanjo can confirm that he came here with Jonathan and pleaded with me to support Jonathan to contest the 2011 Presidential election.”
The governor explained that it was Mr. Aliyu, Governor Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State and others he did not name that brought the agreement to him to sign.
He also stated that former President Olusegun Obasanjo accompanied Mr. Jonathan to prevail upon him (Nyako) to back the president who had already agreed to serve for one term.
He said, “Obj (Obasanjo) will tell you, he came here and pleaded with me to support Jonathan in 2011. He came here and virtually took an oath to serve only one term.”
The Adamawa State governor claimed his Niger State counterpart was in possession of the said agreement even as he lambasted Mr. Jonathan for not being a man of honour.
He said the president’s behaviour was capable of plunging the nation into another civil war.
“The Niger State governor has the agreement. We want to deal with people with honour, not people who want to drag us into civil war because of impunity, because of lawlessness, because of not fulfilling their pledges that will only take us to civil war,” he said.
“Leaders must be honest with their colleagues and the greater society. I have my craw-craw from the first civil war and if there is need to develop another craw-craw in another civil war I will stand by.”
The Presidency has repeatedly said Mr. Jonathan did not sign a single-term agreement and challenged those claiming he did to bring it out.
Shortly after Mr. Aliyu announced the existence of the alleged pact, the then Special Adviser to the President, Ahmed Gulak said, “President Goodluck Jonathan did not win the presidential election in Governor Aliyu’s state. Anybody who has a presidential ambition, it is such a person’s constitutional right to have ambition.
“He should however go about his ambition without coming up with frivolous allegations. President Jonathan did not sign such an agreement with anybody to the best of my knowledge.
“The alleged agreement only exists in the figment of the imagination of somebody with presidential ambition.”
During a media chat sometime in 2012, Mr. Jonathan said that he was yet to decide whether or not to contest in 2015.
He said his decision on whether he would contest or not would be made known in 2014. The president is yet to do so.
The alleged pact is believed to be remotely responsible for the crisis that engulfed the ruling PDP between last year and early this year.
The crisis led to the formation of the defunct New PDP with seven of the governor and others as members.
The governors are Mr. Aliyu (Niger), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), Musa Kwankwaso (Kano), Chibuike Amaechi (Rivers) and Mr. Nayko.
The splinter group, led by Abubakar Kawu, a former acting National Chairman of the PDP, has since fused into the All Progressives Congress, APC, with five of the governors joining the opposition party.
Messrs. Aliyu and Lamido stayed back in the PDP.
At the peak of the PDP zoning controversy in 2011, which allegedly led to the alleged pact, Mr. Jonathan had said the ruling party never zoned the presidency to any part of the country.
“This is the first time I have to comment on zoning,” Mr Jonathan said at the PDP national secretariat. “I have decided to talk about it, but at the appropriate time, you will know a little more. But either by virtue of the PDP constitution, or in practice, the presidency of Nigeria has never been zoned to any part of the country. It has never been zoned or maybe I would read some sections of our own constitution too.”
He added, “The office of the President and other elective offices like Senate Presidency, Speaker and National Assembly Officers, PDP has reasonable control as long as we are in the majority. Those offices could be zoned. But before you zone those offices, the President and the Vice-president would have first emerged.”
Watch video interview