Posters with messages calling on and pressuring a former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, to throw his hat in the ring for 2023 presidential poll have flooded the nation’s seat of power-Abuja
The development has raised a scintilla of possibility of some underground work in the direction of the former president getting drafted into the race to Aso Rock Presidential Villa where he was from 2007 to 2010 as Vice-president and from 2010 to 2015 as President.
He was defeated in the 2015 presidential election by President Muhammadu Buhari and had against popular expectations congratulated Buhari on his victory.
That significant, history-making political gesture happened even when the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had yet to officially announce the outcome of the presidential poll.
Results of two northern states were still being collated when Jonathan put a call through to Buhari and calmly said: “Mr President, I call to congratulate you on your victory.”
THE CONCLAVE reports that Jonathan took the decision without sounding out leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party, many of whom had betrayed him in the build-up to and during the election.
By that singular act of accepting the outcome of the poll, which he could have rejected as the incumbent and plunge Nigeria into avoidable crisis, Jonathan was intentional in avoiding the looming crisis, latching onto his mantra that his election was not worth the blood of any Nigerian.
The Otuoke-born politician wormed his way into the hearts of well-meaning Nigerians and the global community, for forestalling the manifestation of the scary prognosis by the US and its satellites that Nigeria would disintegrate in 2015 and buried in political crisis.
There have been media reports about quiet overtures to the former president by some influential leaders of the APC to tap him for a likely return to Aso Rock seat of power.
It was believed that President Muhammadu Buhari sanctioned the move by some APC governors to woo Jonathan with a likely return to complete his second and last term of four years.
THE CONCLAVE learnt that some influential forces around President Buhari read the president’s body language and his seeming admiration for and gratitude to Jonathan for making the consummation of his presidency seamless on May 29, 2015.
A source close to the development rationalised it simply: “it appears to be a case of one good turn deserves another. It is pointing towards a reciprocal gesture….”
The move to draft Jonathan into the 2023 presidential poll has been episodic until now when it has suddenly gained momentum.
If Jonathan must contest for the presidency in the APC on some negotiated grounds and guaranteed assurances, it is about time he announced his movement to the APC.
There is the window for waivers of all rules and provisions in the party constitution that could encumber his actions.
Besides, the sale of APC presidential form (expression of interest and nomination forms) begins on April 23 and ends on May 6, 2023.
Jonathan has a few more days to make up his mind, especially if the road is clear and he gets the most critical presidential approbation.
The posters of Jonathan for president that have flooded the major streets of Abuja have, indeed, excited the polity about his next political move.
The posters bore the simple message: “Goodluck Jonathan: You Must Run.”
Curiously, the posters were mostly concentrated on structures on Blantyre Street in Wuse 2 District, where the national secretariat of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is located.
But again, the posters didn’t have the logo or name of any political party.
The Electoral Act 2022 does not provide for independent candidates.
When contacted, Jonathan’s spokesman, Ikechukwu Eze, reportedly dissociated the former president from the posters.
He, however, was quoted to have conceded that his boss had been flooded with inquiries on whether or not he would contest the 2023 presidential election, and on what platform.
“We are not in any way associated with any campaign poster. Should His Excellency former President Goodluck Jonathan choose to contest, he is eminently qualified to do so.
“After all, in 2015, nobody advised Goodluck Jonathan before he called to concede defeat and congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari. In like manner, nobody should talk of influencing the former president to run or not to run.
“If he’s going to run or not, it’s a question of time and shall be his personal decision. It is within the rights of people to pressure him to run. But it is also within his own right to run or not. The fact remains that he is very constitutionally qualified to run,” Eze stated.