HomeUncategorized2023: Opposition Thickens As Jonathan Weighs Options

2023: Opposition Thickens As Jonathan Weighs Options

Plans to get immediate past President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, to run for the presidency on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, are facing attacks across the divides.

Sources told Vanguard that the Otuoke, Bayelsa State-born politician, who is still a member of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is weighing his options on whether or not to contest the 2023 elections on the platform of the APC.

The APC has zoned its presidential ticket to the South, while the PDP has left its ticket open, with a plan to take a decision a few days to the presidential primaries, which must be concluded between April 4 and June 3, 2022, according to the 2023 election timetable unveiled by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, last weekend.

Party leaders and politicians, yesterday kicked against plans to draft Jonathan into the 2023 race, just as Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State said that moves by the APC to zone the Presidency to the South in 2023 is not a threat to the PDP.

North deceiving Jonathan—PDP source

A close ally of the former President told Vanguard in confidence that the North is deceiving Jonathan to contest.

The PDP leader, from the South said: “He would be under pressure to run but the truth of the matter is that it is to the advantage of the North.

“They (North) are deceiving him to run for only four years. The minimum term any Nigerian can run is eight years. He has done six years and they (North) are asking him to do one term; the moment he is two years in office, he will be dragged to the Supreme Court and they (North) own the Supreme Court.

“By the time the Supreme Court rules, he would be ousted and his Vice will be asked to be the substantive president. So, he should not allow himself to be deceived. He has to be careful.”

He’ll be a spoiler to South — Osuntokun

Contacted, Mr Akin Osuntokun, former Political Adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, said the former President would be a spoiler and a traitor to the South if he accepted the offer.

“If he likes himself, I don’t think he should run. What they want him to do is to cheat the South. I doubt if Jonathan will offer himself as a traitor to the South by accepting the proposal. To me, he will be a spoiler for the South. Jonathan should be smarter than that. Let’s look at the logic of it. I am sure he will be tempted by the offer but if you look at the logic of it, he is being offered the back seat. Some people are putting up the proposition to him but I am almost certain that he may not accept it because it will damage him.”

I’m not aware he’s running—Bode George

Speaking on the issue, former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Chief Olabode George, said the former president had not informed him of his decision to run for presidency in 2023.

George said: “I am not aware that he (Jonathan) wants to run and I am not aware that the APC has reached out to him. But, he promised coming to see me, I will ask and confirm from him when he comes.”

We can’t replace failure with failure—Shettima

President of Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, urged the former President not to throw his hat in the ring because Nigerians want something new.

Shettima said: “Nobody can stop him from contesting; it is his constitutional right to contest. If I have my way, I will advise him not to contest because Nigerians cannot wait to see something different from what we have now. Nigerians cannot go back to him because things went bad under him. Nobody can stop him from contesting but we cannot replace failure with failure.”

It’s his decision—Oladunjoye, Ogun APC spokesperson

Spokesperson of the APC in Ogun State, Mr. Tunde Oladunjoye said Jonathan is free to contest because “it is his personal decision.”

On him joining the APC, Oladunjoye said: “I cannot speak on behalf of the party at the national level because with the calibre of the former president, he will be admitted first at the national level before going to his ward to register.

“Article Nine of the APC Constitution states that ‘membership of the party shall be open to any citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who has attained the age of 18 years and who accepts the aims and objectives of the party, provided that such a person is not a member of any other political party or any organisation whose policies and programmes are inconsistent with those of the party.’”

He has to cross the bridge—Ondo APC spokesperson

Also speaking, Publicity Secretary of the APC in Ondo State, Alex Kalejaiye said: “The decision would be taken by the national leadership of the party. However, the APC does not discriminate against any Nigerian, who finds it appealing, on account of performance and disposition to the physical and
economic development of Nigeria. We do appreciate and welcome men of honour like the former president, who can add more value to what we are doing, in the overall interest of Nigerians.

“The speculation that he would like to contest on arrival remains what it is. Every bona fide member has the inalienable right to participate in an electoral process. However, the former president has to cross the bridge before debating the issue of eligibility for whatever position. It has to be a step at a time, and party constitution will guide appropriately.”

Why we want Jonathan—Northern group

Meanwhile, the Northern League of Professionals, NLP, yesterday, threw its weight behind Jonathan, saying the former President would be the best option to consolidate Nigeria’s democracy and advance the course of development for the country come 2023.

The group, in a statement by its Coordinator, Alhaji Mohammed Ajiji, said: “Governance is a continuum and that was what informed the continuation and completion of some of the projects started under Jonathan by the Buhari administration.

“Projects like the construction and rehabilitation of the railways, the Second Niger Bridge, Loko-Oweto Bridge and the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway among others are being implemented by the Buhari Administration even though they started under President Jonathan.

“This is a clear example of continuity in governance and we would want to see a situation where former President Goodluck Jonathan will pick up from where President Buhari stops to ensure that there is widespread infrastructure development and the implementation of policies and programmes to address the challenges facing the country. Our goal is to ensure there is sustained development by continuous implementation of programme without interruption.

“Jonathan disappointed the doomsday prophets who thought he would place his personal ambition above Nigeria’s peace, unity and stability by peacefully handing over power to Buhari after an election he conducted and adjudged by local and international observers to be free and fair.

“None of the presidential hopefuls has the experience garnered by Jonathan over the years having served as a lecturer, deputy governor, governor, vice-president and eventually the president of the Republic.

“Jonathan is the best option to unite the country at the crucial moment where there are various agitations across the land.

“Because of his mien, Jonathan is not known to be a power monger or a leader who will misuse power but as a unifier and a democrat who is at home and can be trusted by every part of the country.

“All parts of the country will have a fair deal under Jonathan and he’s not known to be vindictive or has scores to settle. He has trusted friends across all sections of the country who can attest to his personal attributes as a man of peace with impeccable character.

“He is a bridge builder who has vast experience in managing the country’s diversity. Jonathan also hands-on experience and will not be a learner on the job. As humans, we also believe that Jonathan has learned from past experiences.

“Beyond the national experience in leadership, the appointment of Jonathan as ECOWAS Mediator by President Buhari has given him vast experience in regional and international politics, which has placed him head and shoulder above all those vying for the office of the president.

“For Jonathan, going back to Aso Rock is no longer to make a name but to continue to serve the nation with dignity and honour. He’s now a global citizen and we are calling on him to join the race because he’s just the right person Nigeria needs at the moment. Every situation requires its peculiar kind of leadership and this moment requires a man with Jonathan’s character, experience and exposure.”

APC’s zoning not a threat to PDP – Bala Mohammed

Meanwhile, Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State has said that the decision of the APC to zone the Presidency to the South in 2023 poses no threat to the PDP.

The governor, who addressed newsmen in Abeokuta, after visiting former President Obasanjo, said the PDP would continue to strategise to rescue Nigeria from the present situation she has found herself.

Mohammed said: “The zoning of Presidency to the South by the APC is not a threat to the PDP because each party is trying to strategise, to plan and organise. If they zone it to the South, it is open to us to see how it is going to give us more electoral victory if we put it in the North.

“This is the kind of things we are doing: the leg works, the permutations and so on. So, that, at least, whatever we are going to do, will give Nigerians the opportunity to choose between the best alternatives.”

Explaining why he visited Obasanjo, the governor said the relationship between them and the issue of PDP were the essence.

“We know that Baba is non-partisan, we know he’s an elder statesman per excellence. But we are rebuilding our party to remove rancour, division and what-have-you. So, we still need him because his words of wisdom are always very useful.

“So, I have come to sound his opinion on some of the things going on in the party, to close ranks and make sure we provide Nigerians with the opportunity to rescue the country from the present division which we have found ourselves.”

On his chances of getting the PDP’s Presidential ticket in 2023, he said: “To me, Presidency is a consensus; a stakeholder and statesmanship and its responsibilities. Of course, every Nigerian should try to contribute his or her quota to the growth and development of the nation.

“Leadership recruitment should be based on merit, it should be based on making sure we bring everybody on board and should not be based on the manifestation of separatist, which is the instrument capable of dividing us further.

“Nigeria is too large and too important to be ignored. Some of us have benefited so much. It is not about me and my aspiration, but about the country.”

Choosing candidates by consensus anti-democratic— Buba Galadima

In his remarks, Buba Galadima, a former Buhari ally, said the APC would choose both its national chairman and presidential candidate by consensus which, according to him, is anti-democratic.

Galadima expressed dismay over the perceived anti-democratic way of picking the national chairman and presidential candidate, stressing that it would worsen the problems in the APC.

He said: “If things go the way I’m seeing it, APC would collapse under its weight. I don’t believe in zoning. We have tried it and it failed. It didn’t bring out the best. ‘’Now, consensus would be the worst. Let the best man emerge democratically and not by consensus. They should look at a man’s past and what he did before and use it as a yardstick to vote him in.”

Credit: Vanguard.

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