Monday, 21 June 2010

Goodluck Jonathan not ready to declare candidacy

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan has said that it is too early to announce his decision about whether or not he will run in next year’s presidential elections, due to fears that it might cause unrest in the government.

“Well that is one thing that appears to be dominating political discussions in the country, which has already been captioned in one newspaper, Jonathan run, don't run. It has been a topical issue. I’m not in a position to tell Nigerians whether I will contest now or not because we have a political environment that gets too heated up when people are preparing for elections. So we feel that the best thing to do is to keep our mouths sealed until the appropriate time,” Jonathan told Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).

President Jonathan said he would announce his decision before the primaries of his party, after the electoral reforms are completed. His bid to run in the election would contravene the People's Democratic Party's (PDP) unwritten policy to alternate the presidency for two-four year office terms between the mainly Muslim north and the predominantly Christian south. Jonathan, a Christian from the south, succeeded former president Umaru Yar’Adua, a northern Muslim who died three years into his first four-year term.

According to official sources many northern political leaders have urged Jonathan to uphold PDP policy suggesting that sectarian tensions, with clashes between Muslims and Christians which have already claimed hundreds of lives since January, might worsen. But Jonathan told NTA that his decision will not be influenced by either external or internal pressures and that it will be up to Nigerians to decide their political affiliation and their next President.

Sources: Bloomberg Business Week, All Africa

For more news and expert analysis about Nigeria please see Nigeria Focus and Nigeria Politics & Security.

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