The former Federal Commissioner for Information in the Yakubu Gowon cabinet insisted in an interview with The Nation in Abuja, that the president is eminently qualified to contest again.
He was optimistic that the North would vote for Jonathan based on his performance.
Northern governors, at their last meeting in Kaduna, said the presidency should return to the North in 2015.
Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State said in an interview published by The Nation yesterday that the North would prefer, in the next election, a development-oriented president who would make the generality of Nigerians happy and contended.
However, Clark, arguably President Jonathan’s number one fan, said Section 137 of the 1999 Constitution is explicit on the eligibility of Jonathan for the 2015 poll.
The section reads in part: “A person shall not be qualified for election to the Office of President if- (a) subject to the provisions of Section 28 of this Constitution, he has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a country other than Nigeria or except in such cases as may be prescribed by the National Assembly, he has made a declaration of allegiance to such other country; or
“(b) he has been elected to such office at any two previous elections…”
Clark, who turned 85 on Friday, said the issue of qualification of Jonathan for the 2015 poll is not in doubt.
According to him, “The President is eminently qualified because the Constitution allows him to contest twice. The swearing of Jonathan does not amount to contesting presidential election twice. In fact the Supreme Court has settled this in its judgments on some governors.
“Since he is qualified, Nigerians will be free to vote for Jonathan based on performance in 2015. I have said it that the President should perform. Nigerians voted for him irrespective of religious and ethnic differences and they will be willing to do so in 2015 if he performs to their expectation.
“I am not talking of force; it is not a matter of force at all. Nigerians have the right to vote or not for President Jonathan in 2015 based on performance. But I am very sure that within the next three years, he will perform to the satisfaction of all Nigerians to earn a second term ticket.”
Asked if he thought the North would back Jonathan, Clark said: “Jonathan is the president of Nigeria. The North voted for him massively in 2011; he got more than 25 per cent of the total votes cast in many of the states in the North except in Kano and Katsina.
“As far as I am concerned, the Northerners are with the President except a few professional presidential aspirants. After all, he is spending about N5billion to build schools for Almajiri among other infrastructure he is putting in place in the North.”
But a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Mike Ozekhome said it is too early for politicians to be talking about 2015.
In a text message to media houses entitled, “My reflections on Nigeria at 51”, Ozekhome said: “The country is tottering on a dangerous journey to no identifiable destination, held in the excruciating grip of terrorists, political buccaneers, historical revisionists, unrepentant 419ners, insatiable petroleum subsidy racketeers, blood thirsty ethnic militia, warlords and tribal jingoists, extreme religious bigots, economic vampires and imperious social misfits.
“I am very sad at the mountainous layers of abject penury and socio-economic deprivation currently ravaging the average Nigerian.
“The leadership of the country should urgently wake up to the reality that some Nigerians are hell-bent on breaking the country up into smithereens on the altar of political jobbery and power inebriation. They must be stopped dead on their track.
“The anti-corruption crusade must be reinvented and re-energized. Corruption has since assumed a frightening monstrous dimension where billions of Naira are now freely stolen in broad daylight to the amazement of Nigerians.”
He recalled that a few years ago some ministers and a senate president were “were removed from office over corruption allegations involving less than N50million each. Today, inconsequential public officers fleece the country billions of Naira without qualms, without being brought to book.”
He regretted that the leadership of the country seems not ready to fight the sleaze in the system.