“President Jonathan said, not only once, twice, publicly, not only inside Nigeria, outside Nigeria, that he would have one term, and said that to me,” Obasanjo said in an interview in London.
Jonathan, a southern Christian, has been in power since his predecessor Umaru Yar’Adua died in office in 2010. When he won 2011 elections he broke an unwritten convention within the ruling People’s Democratic Party to rotate power between the south and the mainly Muslim north of Africa’s biggest oil producer. Jonathan, 56, has not yet said whether he intends to stand for re-election in a vote scheduled for 2015.
“One of the things that is very important in the life of any man or any person, is that he will be a man or a person of his word,” Obasanjo said. “If you decide your word should not be taken seriously that’s entirely up to you.”
Reuben Abati, Jonathan’s spokesman, couldn’t be reached on his mobile phone for comment as it was switched off.
Obasanjo, who backed Jonathan’s presidential campaign four years ago, declined to say whether Jonathan should or shouldn’t stand for re-election. A former military ruler in the late 1970s, he later served two terms as elected president after military government ended in 1999.