PRESIDENT JONATHAN AND THE ‘DREADED’ SECTION 89 OF THE AMENDED ELECTORAL BILL

For President Jonathan, the fear of section 89 of the amended electoral act according to our source is the beginning of wisdom . The controversial section may have dashed the purported ambition of President Goodluck Jonathan to contest for the forth coming 2011 presidential election.

The President who is said to be basking on the euphoria of the green light by the PDP hierarchy to contest is said to be worried over the insertion of the ‘dreaded’ clause in the amended electoral act. The section bars all unelected political office holders from voting in party primaries of any political party in Nigeria.

A source in Abuja who wouldn’t want his name in print disclosed that the president is presently mad at the leadership of the National Assembly who He accused of falling so cheaply to his political opponents to insert the controversial phrase in the Act.

Jonathan is presently confused as He is alleged to have told former President Obasanjo of his intention to withdraw from the 2011 presidential election. The former president reportedly urged him on but suggested that Jonathan should re-strategise.

Aso Rock is presently immersed in speculation over President Jonathan’s political future.

Reuters had reported yesterday that Jonathan may have withdrawn from the election. Although the presidency in a release through the Presidential spokes person Mr Ima Niboro quickly dismissed the publication as a mere rumour. Mr Niboro however in the release could not confirm if the President will contest the election or not.

Our source who is a serving Senator hinted that money must have exchanged hands during the process of amending the electoral act. He alleged that a former military President and a former vice president both from the Northern part of the country who recently declared to run for presidency in connivance with the leadership of National Assembly inserted the clause which they hope to use to whittle down the votes that may go to the President should he go ahead and declare his intention to run.

Although President Jonathan is not the only person who is going to be affected by this section as it will as well affect all first term governors who are presently seeking re-election, He will have to suffer the greatest effect of this bill since it will deny him the opportunity of using the power of incumbency to clinch the PDP ticket. This is because all the ministers, special advisers, commissioners and other political appointees who previously have formed the bulk of voters for their masters seeking re-election are barred by this act.

Worried by this development, an insider source in Aso Rock told Destination Nigeria that the president has tactically refused to assent to the bill, hoping that this will force INEC to revert to 2006 electoral act to conduct the 2011 general elections.

However, another source disclosed that this may not work as the opposition in the National Assembly have already threatened to override the president if He fails to assent to the bill within 30 days .This position was made known yesterday by Ali Ndume.

Presently, there is a growing concern over the preparedness of INEC to conduct a free, fair and transparent elections next year. The commission has last week disclosed that their inability to publish the election time-table less than five months to election is because there is no electoral act to guide it.

President Jonathan is presently said to be lobbying members of the National Assembly to delete the controversial section of the amended act. How far He could go with this however according to another
Lawmaker remained very slim since the president did not raise the issue during the process of amending the Act. President Jonathan may be running against a moving train, our source concluded.

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