Be a hero, forget 2015, Nwabueze tells Jonathan

Constitutional lawyer and leader of The Patriots, a group made up of eminent Nigerians, Ben Nwabueze, on Thursday reiterated his advice earlier to President Goodluck Jonathan to bury his ambition to run for re-election in 2015.
Nwabueze gave the advice shortly after leading a delegation of the group on a courtesy call on Jonathan at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.
Members of the delegation include Ayo Adebanjo, Solomon Asemota, Chris Okoye, Bola Kuforiji-Olubi, Dan Suleiman, Kimse Okoko and Michael Orobator.
Emerging from the group’s closed door meeting with the President, Nwabueze told reporters that Jonathan would become an “instant hero” if he dumped any 2015 ambition and focus instead on national transformation.
The Patriots presented its position on the imperative of convening a National Conference to the President at the meeting.
Nwabueze said though the issue of 2015 was not raised at the parley with Jonathan, but on the prompting of journalists, he said he was not shifting ground on his position regarding Jonathan and his possible 2015 ambition.
“That is not the purpose of our meeting today, but that is my view and I still maintain that view today.
“I still believe that the paramount problem of this country is national transformation; that you cannot combine national transformation with contesting election.
“The two are so different, because once you get involved in the election campaigns you undermine your authority to lead the nation for national transformation.
“And I said if I were the President of Nigeria, that I would restrict myself to serving the nation, in transforming this country, creating a new Nigeria, and creating a new society. That would be my concern and I would go down in history as a hero.
“So, if Mr. President does that, he would become an instant hero to this country. But it is for him to choose; if I were him, I would choose to become a hero to lead the country into transformation and abandon the ambition of a second term.
“That is what I said and I still stand by it and that is what I would do if I were the President of the country, but unfortunately, I’m not,” Nwabueze, an elder statesman, added.
Answering question on Jonathan’s eligibility to even contest the 2015 polls, Nwabueze retorted: “That is not an issue. Mr. President is eligible; nobody is questioning his eligibility.
“What makes him ineligible? Nothing. He is eligible, but that is a personal decision for him to take.”

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