• Friday, July 19, 2024
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BusinessDay

2023 Presidency: Jonathan divides Nigeria

Former President Jonathan salutes late Yar’Adua 13 years after death

As pressure continues to mount for the return of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Nigerians are currently divided over whether he should return or not.

Only recently, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential aspirant and Governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed, had declared that he would withdraw from 2023 Presidential race, should former President Jonathan decides to contest.

Bala was speaking when he hosted former Ministers and Board of Trustees of the PDP in Abuja, saying that he owes his rise to national limelight to the benevolence of the former President.

“If our boss, President Jonathan is running I will not run, not because I’m inferior but because of loyalty. I came to national limelight through him and I believe he has done so much.

“Even if he’s running in APGA or anywhere I will not run because I will not be joining issues with him,” he said.

Several youths’ organisations had on Friday stormed his Taraba Close residence at Maitama, Abuja, asking him to “declare for the 2023 Presidency.”

But some Nigerians have warned the Bayelsa-born politician that a return might spell political doom for him.

One of the placards reads, “Goodluck Jonathan declare for Presidency.”

As early as 6.30 am on Friday, several groups carrying placards with various inscriptions stormed the former President’s residence asking him to answer the clarion call for his return to power.

President Jonathan had handed over power after losing in a peaceful general election in 2015, considered to be the best ever conducted in Nigeria since the return of the country to civil rule in 1999.

In response to the crowd’s calls, the former President later came out to welcome the group.

Jonathan, who dressed in brown color Niger Delta attire with the traditional bowler hat to match, commended the group.

He commended the youth for their interest in politics, adding “For you to come, this morning shows that the youths are interested in politics. We have always been asking the youth to be involved in the political process. Luckily, the #NotTooYoungToRun law indicates very clearly that the young people can contest in every position in government.

“We will continue to encourage you to be involved in political process. We will continue to get the kind of government we want.”

Jonathan, who noted that the “country is facing some challenges,” however, added that some of the challenges “started long time ago,” and that “In the interest of young people, these challenges will be resolved.”

They believe that the former President has the template to restore Nigeria’s pride of place.

Mayor Samuel, convener of the Youth Compatriots of Nigeria, who spoke for the group, declared that Nigerians were deceived and brainwashed by those who claimed they could do it in 2015.

“Now we know better; under Jonathan, the minimum wage could buy one or two bags of rice. What do we have today? We are begging President Jonathan to forgive us; we have realised our mistakes; we want him back to complete what he started,” he said.

Another group, under the aegis of The Nigerian Young Professionals in the Diaspora (NYPD) had issued a week ultimatum to the former President for him to declare for the 2023 Presidency or risks being sued.

Leader of the group, Oladipo Akande, in a press statement, said it was imperative for Jonathan to enter the 2023 Presidential race.

But reacting to the development, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Adetokumbo Kayode, described it as a plan to entrap the former President.

According to him, “Well, honestly, I don’t believe he will fall to that trap. I cannot imagine he will even consider it. He should thank his stars that he succeeded to a certain level when he served as President.”

Kayode, who also stated that Nigeria had been balkanised by the current administration, said it would be difficult to achieve similar success, as it was in 2011 to 2015, within the next four years.

Another Abuja-based Lawyer, Osita Nwanjo in his reaction, described the development as “a very dicey situation” for the former President.

Nwanjo, who believes Jonathan has made name for himself on the political terrain in Nigeria, advised the former President to “be wary of those who are intent on destroying his credibility.”

“He has made a name for himself and we know that it is good to bow out when the ovation is loudest. So, my advice for him is, he must not allow these people to destroy his credibility. Should he attempt to come back, I will call that the height of human insatiability,” he said.

Nwanjo, who noted that destruction done to the country’s economy cannot be fixed in four years, asked if former President Jonathan thinks “he can perform magic in four years?”

“What is the guarantee that they will not frustrate him again, like they did in 2015?”

Read also: VIDEO: Group storms Jonathan’s residence, asks him to “ declare for Presidency”

According to him, “There are those who think they own and control this country and Jonathan certainly does not belong to that group. He remains a man from the minority region and they can do everything to frustrate his efforts, especially in the areas of fixing the current security challenges.

“If I were Jonathan I will decline. I want to see what will become of him. If he comes out and fails, he would have rubbished his credibility for ever. What does he want to achieve? He rose from the lowest ebb to the highest level of Nigeria’s political pinnacle, what else does he want? Well, let’s wait and see.”

A United States-based Nigerian, Paschal Mbawuike described the former Nigerian leader as “a good man with good intentions for the country.”

Mbawuike, who is currently in Nigeria and who worked as Vice President Emeritus in Cohen and Woods International, an organisation with strong interest in Nigeria’s political process, stated that “while it is true that the former President has a constitutional right to contest, it will be more advisable for him to play the role of a godfather, rather than contest in 2023.”

According to him, “There is no doubt that it is his constitutional right to contest, but, I believe he should now be a godfather to the other younger politicians, like Peter Obi, Kingsley Moghalu, Bala Mohammed and others.

“He should be promoting democracy around the world. It will not be good for his image for him to contest and lose. He should mentor the young. That will end up diminishing his good name if he tries it.”