Nigeria - Jonathan Threatens to Sack Appointees ahead of 2015 polls

President Goodluck Jonathan has threatened to dismiss any of his aides or any other appointee of the Federal Government who abandons his job for politics or campaigns ahead of the 2015 election.
He also revealed to his party men his government’s plan to review the implementation of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment (SURE) programme because it had become untenable given the failure of the administration to achieve a 100 per cent deregulation of the downstream oil sector of the economy.

He issued the threat while speaking at the opening of the emergency National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abuja Monday.
The president said: “There must be time to work; at the federal level if you are holding a political office and I notice that you are involved in meetings for 2015 election, I will ask you to leave and go and hold your meetings, because that meeting is too early; government must not be distracted.
“Let me plead with those of us that are interested in the general election in 2015. I have noticed that some people have just started some meetings, it is too early to hold meetings.”
Jonathan said he decided to issue the threat because a resort to early campaigns for elective offices in 2015 by government appointees is a distraction to him and the governors and urged those involved to desist or get kicked out of his administration.
He said: “It is too early to hold such meetings,” adding that “it is even against the electoral laws to commence campaign for an election that is three and a half years away.”
According to him, “You people cannot fault the electoral laws and the constitution. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) normally declares it open. The idea is that people who were elected into offices as governors and president should be given enough time to work. In a situation whereby a governor has not even stayed for a year, the president has not stayed for a year; you start harassing people for 2015; this  is another way of saying everything is election.
“Nigerians are interested in what we put on ground for them, not how many elections we will conduct and win.”
Explaining his administration’s commitment to taking another look at the SURE Programme, the president said given the recent economic parameters occasioned by the review of the planned subsidy template, the Federal Government could not start with the implementation of the programme as planned because of the adjustments that took place in the regulation of price of the petroleum products.
He said over N1.134 trillion was projected as revenue from deregulation based on a projected crude oil price of $90 per barrel; out of this, N478.49 billion would have accrued to the Federal Government.
The president, who made the clarification following the distribution of the SURE documents to PDP leaders for onward circulation to members, cautioned that the programme’s details as contained in the distributed documents, were no longer implementable as had been planned.
He said: “Let me again, I think as I came in, I saw this SURE book being distributed, we are withdrawing it, this is the old one.  We developed this with the expectation that we are going to completely deregulate the downstream sector of the oil industry; the 100 per cent removal of subsidy, you know we could not achieve that, though there was increase in the pump price.
“I don’t want this thing to be distributed, it will give a wrong impression when we said that Jonathan government you promise this, what have you done?  We are working on a new document based on the reality, but we don’t want to promise what we will not achieve. Those who have it please withdraw it, we cannot realise the money that is stated there, but we will still come up with a document based on what we get.”
Jonathan warned against the imposition of candidates in the forthcoming congresses and national convention of the party, saying, “I plead that from the ward congresses to the national convention, let us insist that people are elected democratically.
“Let us begin to move away from the culture of imposition,” he said, explaining that this would help give way for free and fair party primaries as 2015 gets nearer.
He called for unity among PDP members, saying, “I plead with all of us to unite so that we project the manifesto of the party and of course for us to achieve this, the party must also insist on discipline.
“I always insist that until the party fires members who are indiscipline, irrespective of their status in the society, or whatever offices they are holding; if the party doesn’t have the courage to discipline its members, then of course some people will begin to behave as if they contested elections as independent candidates.”
He said there was no way that the PDP could be like the African National Congress (ANC), if it could not enforce discipline.
He said: “We must emulate what happens in South Africa, because the ANC is a strong party; even if the president of the country feels he is bigger than the party, they will push him out from the party. So, nobody should be bigger than the party, the party must insist on that.”
Meanwhile, the rivalry between the PDP elected governors and members of the National Assembly of the party Monday stalled the planned debate on the party’s constitution.
As a result of the stalemate, the party’s NEC has scheduled another meeting for February 29.
However, the NEC has approved the extension of tenure for the present National Working Committee (NWC) and the NEC till March 31, when a new executive committee would have been elected.
Also, the NEC in session has approved the dates for the ward, local government, state and zonal congresses as well as the national convention of the party.
THISDAY gathered that the bone of contention between the PDP governors and the National Assembly members involve the recommendation by the party’s Constitution Review Committee (CRC) for the inclusion of one senator each from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in the membership of NEC and the inclusion of a governor to represent each of the six geo-political zones into the national caucus of the party.
It was further gathered that the decision of the CRC to include 37 senators as members of the NEC is to reduce what a source described as “the overbearing influence of the governors”.
The fight to reduce the overbearing influence of the governors is further taken when it was recommended that the governors should not be members of the National Caucus of the party. According to the source, “there is the need to restrict the governors to stay in their states to ensure good governance than their continued stay in Abuja in the name of doing party work”.
He said: “At the pre-NEC meeting that took place Sunday night at Chidi Hotel, the members of G84 agreed that they would vote against the governors becoming members of the National Caucus.
“And the governors on their own at a meeting held same Sunday at the Rivers State Governor’s Lodge, they agreed to take the matter to President Jonathan for intervention. So, when the PDP governors met Jonathan in the early hours of Monday, it was resolved that the matter be differed to February 29 when another NEC meeting will take place.”
According to him, “the president said that this would enable every member of NEC to study the recommendations and come up with a position.”
It was for this reason that Monday’s NEC agreed that another NEC meeting of the party should take place next week to discuss the constitutional amendments, believing that reason would have permeated all recommendations.
Giving details on the approved dates for the national convention and congresses, the National Publicity Secretary, Prof. Ahmed Alkali, said the ward congresses would hold on March 3, while the local government congresses would take place on March 9; the state congresses is expected to hold March 17 and the zonal congresses would take place on March 21, while the national convention is expected to take place on March 24.

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