Two influential governors from the northern part of the country are behind the return bid of former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Daily Trust reliably gathered.
Multiple sources, who are in the know, said the two governors, close to President Muhammadu Buhari, have secured the buy-in of a section of the presidency to actualise their agenda of drafting the former president into the presidential race.
The sources mentioned the names of the governors but were withheld by this paper because our reporters were unable to get their reactions as they are out of the country.
While one of the governors is from the North West, the other is from the North East geopolitical zone.
The sources said the duo began the moves last year but that they jettisoned it to promote the candidature of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele.
However, when the Emefiele’s project was not flying, the governors returned to the Jonathan bid.
The two governors have been playing key roles in the affairs of the APC in the last few years.
The former president had since keyed into the move as evident in his body language.
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He had last week told some of his supporters who were insisting he should declare to “be on the watch”, a disposition political pundits described as acceptance.
It was learnt that the Bayelsa-born former president is now waiting for the appropriate time to join the ruling party and declare for the race.
President Buhari had defeated Jonathan in the 2015 general election, ending the 16 years of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the country.
In the last seven years, the former president has not been attending activities of his party. This is just as his romance with President Buhari and top shots of the ruling party takes the centre stage, a development that has pitched him against opposition leaders in the country.
The move to return Jonathan
One of our sources, a former governor said the two governors have reached out and sold the Jonathan project to the presidency.
“It is (withheld) that are behind it and they are promoting it to checkmate Asiwaju Tinubu when they discovered that the vice president does not possess the structures to put up a strong challenge,” he said.
Asked why the governors who are APC members are drafting the former president, he said, “They are doing it to advance their ambition. They want someone that would only be in power for a term. They also want him to pick one of them as running mate”.
An ally of the president, while corroborating the former governor’s statement, said the two governors brought the Jonathan project to advance their ‘’selfish interest.’’
But a source close to the former president claimed that Jonathan is being promoted by his successor.
“His number one backer is the president. Do you think he would start if he did not get the backing of Baba? He did not go and say I wanted to (vie for the presidency). He was asked to do so because they are more comfortable with him succeeding Buhari,” he said.
A former Chairman of the APC Elders Forum in Bayelsa State, Diekivie Ikiogha, said all is almost set for Jonathan’s exit from the PDP.
“His declaration would be based on an invitation by APC to come over and he is considering it. A lot of things have been done; the discussions are ongoing, so, he will be invited.
“We are persuading him and it is still going on, but I believe that he can yield to it. What I am telling you is that, when the platform is clear, he will contest. If it is clear, he will contest,” he said.
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Also, a public affairs analyst, Mr David West, said though Jonathan had a few years ago announced that he was no longer interested in active politics, he has the constitutional right to contest for any office in the land.
He, however, stated that he doubts if Jonathan will perform better than he did during his first tenure. He said: “For me, it is his constitutional right to belong to any political party if he wants and if he wishes to contest for any political office in the country.
“I know if Jonathan is allowed to rule Nigeria again, he will not do more than four years tenure, because anything short of that will be a crisis.”
Stakeholders reject plan to adopt Jonathan
The APC Presidential Support Group has said that the plan to adopt Jonathan as the APC presidential candidate for the 2023 election is a joke taken too far and unacceptable.
The Convener of the organisation, Mr Owolabi Dauda and Secretary, Abdullahi Bilal, told reporters on Tuesday in Abuja that adopting Jonathan by whoever is a disservice to the APC, especially that the importance of winning the 2023 presidential elections cannot be overemphasised, in the bid to ensure continuity in the laudable policies and initiatives of the APC led government in Nigeria.
“We are constrained to lend our voice to an ugly plot that is being hatched by some members of the APC concerning adopting former President Goodluck Jonathan as the presidential candidate of the party in the 2023 presidential election.
“By all stretch of the imagination, this plot is ill-timed and not in the party’s interest at large. Such a move implies that the party might be heading towards a resounding electoral defeat in the presidential election,” the group said.
Lawyers differ on Jonathan’s legal obstacles
Lawyers have disagreed with the move by Jonathan’s handlers to draft him into the 2023 presidential election, pointing to legal issues.
Reacting, Professor Paul Ananaba (SAN) said Jonathan is not qualified to run for the office of the president because the constitution does not envisage that any Nigerian will be in office for more than eight years under any circumstance.
“If you add the four years – the two years under Yar’adua, and another four years – it will be more than eight years,” he said.
Similarly, Buhari Yusuf said Jonathan is ineligible under the law saying the combined reading of sections 137(1)(b) and 182(1)(b) of the Nigerian Constitution, “Makes it practically impossible for someone who has taken the oath of office twice as president to come on the third one.”
According to him, “The fact that the president completed the first term of a demised president does not call you to read meaning into the section and I don’t think there is any manoeuvring space for somebody to escape.”
However, Murtala Abdulkareem (SAN) said the decision of the court in the case of Ayuba Sabo and Ahmed Abubakar vs Ibrahim Gaidam over the Yobe State governorship election of 2015 has resolved the issue.
“He (Jonathan) can contest, but if he takes the oath in 2023, he will not be eligible to contest afterward,” he said.
Similarly, Okonache Ogar Esq said Jonathan is only ineligible to seek a fresh term after the forthcoming election not before as the constitution set out to correct the existence of a vacuum in the event of incapacity or death of the governor or president with the availability of the deputy governor or the vice president.
Atiku, Obi, Kwankwaso In Attendance As Tinubu Shuns Arise TV Town Hall Meeting
For the second time, the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has shunned the Town Hall meeting organised by Arise Television.
However, the presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar; Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), and Rabiu Musa Kwakwanso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), were in attendance.
Recall that the spokesperson of the APC Campaign Council, Bayo Onanuga, had in a statement issued on Saturday, reiterated that Tinubu would not be attending Arise TV town hall meeting.
Onanuga also took a swipe at the media outlet over its constant broadcast of an advertisement about its scheduled town hall meeting which Tinubu had already declined participation.
The statement reads: “We find it shocking and downright anomalous that Arise News continues to broadcast the participation of All Progressives Congress Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in its Presidential Town Hall meeting scheduled to hold on 4 December 2022 despite our earlier statement that our candidate will not be available.
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“We noticed that Arise News has also been running a campaign on the so-called constitutional duty of the presidential candidates to participate in its debate by dubiously citing section 22 of the Constitution of Nigeria on the obligation of the Mass Media.
“While it is the right that the media has a clear constitutional duty to hold public office holders accountable to the citizens and its role as the watchdog of the society, there is no part of the Constitution and section 22 that says a presidential candidate of any political party and least of all, Tinubu must participate in Arise News Town Hall event or any media organized event at all.
“The same Constitution grants all citizens of Nigeria including, Asiwaju Tinubu the right and freedom of choice and association. The APC Presidential candidate has a right to decide where he goes and what events to participate in as he seeks the mandate of Nigerians to be elected as the next President of our country.
“We want to make it abundantly clear again that Asiwaju Tinubu will not participate and will not attend the Arise News Town Hall meeting slated for Sunday, 4 December 2022 and any other ones it may plan before the February 2023 presidential election.
“The APC Presidential candidate has its schedule of campaign activities and other engagements within and outside Nigeria. One of such event is scheduled for Monday, December 5, 2022, at Chatham House in London where he will speak on Security, Economy and Foreign Policy.”
Onanuga reiterated that for the umpteenth time, no amount of blackmail, bullying and media bullying, and innuendos by the owner and management of Arise News will change the position the party’s campaign had taken on attending town hall meetings.
After criticising APC Tinubu/Shettima ticket, Dogara named Atiku campaign member
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A former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has finally decamped from the All Progressives Congress to the Peoples Democratic Party and will now be in the campaign train of the Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate.
Indeed, Dogara was on Sunday appointed a member of the PDP presidential campaign council (PCC).
Aminu Tambuwal, director general of the PDP PCC and governor of Sokoto State, announced Dogara’s appointment in a statement on Sunday.
In a reaction to the development, the Labour Party has said the movement showed Dogara as a man still living in the past and is only running from pillar to post.
Dogara’s appointment came two days after he declared support for Atiku.
The Northern Leaders Consultative Forum, which Dogara is a part of, had endorsed Atiku and described him as “the best.”
As a member of the APC, the former speaker of the house of representatives, who is one of the party’s leaders of the Christian faith, kicked against the Muslim-Muslim ticket adopted by the party.
Bola Tinubu, APC presidential candidate and Kashim Shettima, his running mate are both Muslims.
Members of a group of northern Christians in the APC had also expressed reservations over the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC, and said it would adopt a consensus candidate.
Babachir Lawal, former secretary to the government of the federation (SGF) and leader of the group, had said Obi would be the group’s choice.
Dogara, however, alongside other members of the group, distanced themselves from Lawal’s endorsement.
In 2018, the former speaker of the house of representatives, had defected from the PDP to the APC because of “failure of governance” in Bauchi, where he hails from.
While Dogara has not made an official statement on his new appointment as at the time of this report, his new role is expected to start immediately.
Meanwhile, the campaign office of Peter Obi and Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, presidential and vice-presidential candidates of the Labour Party (LP), says Yakubu Dogara, made a grave error in endorsing Atiku Abubakar.
The Obi-Datti campaign, in a statement, said Dogara had the right to support whomever he wants but trying to do that based on his selfish interest won’t augur well for him.
“Clearly, the former Speaker knows that he is swimming against the tide by his unpopular decision which amounts to running from frying pan to fire; from one injustice to another and claiming to be acting on behalf his people whose anger for the two wrongs of the two main political parties are glaring,” the statement read.
“Hon Dogara knows as a fact that his position does not reflect the heart and mind of majority of Nigerian populace who are already on the moving train to take back the country from the primeval political thinkers like him.”
The campaign said Dogara’s stand showed his double standard when he refused to support same faith ticket of his party but pitched his tent with the PDP that does not respect fairness.
“At his level as the Ex-leader of the national parliament, Hon. Dogara should have been privileged to read the hand writing on the wall vividly to know that where the pendulum swings today: the talk is not about political party, but about character, competence and capacity, because where the country precariously stands today requires nothing short to save it,” the campaign further said.
“Hon. Dogara as the Speaker of the House of Representatives successfully ran a parliament literally in the opposition to the Executive and heaven did not fall, yet he feels that a pragmatic President like Peter Obi would not be able to maneuver or steer the ship of state.”
The campaign added that it was obvious that the former speaker was still living in the past of the old politics that brought the country to its knees.
2023: Obi Unveils Manifesto, Lists 7 Priority Areas
The Presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP) Peter Obi has finally unveiled his manifesto titled “Obi/Baba-Ahmed Pact with Nigerians.”
The National Publicity Secretary of the Labour Party, Abayomi Aranbambi, confirmed the development of Daily Trust on Saturday night.
The Manifesto sited by Daily Trust however promises seven key priority areas that were needed to jump start the economy and move the country from Consumption to production.
Some of the priority areas according to the pact includes to secure the country, end banditry and insurgency; and unite the country in such a way “that no one is left behind.”
Obi also promised to “Shift emphasis from consumption to production by running a production-centered economy that is driven by an agrarian revolution and export-oriented industrialization.
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” Restructure the polity through effective legal and institutional civil service. Leapfrog Nigeria into the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR), through the application of scientific and technological innovations to create reforms to entrench the rule of law, aggressively fight corruption, reduce cost of governance, and establish an honest and efficient a digital economy.
“Build expansive and world-class infrastructure for efficient power scholarship and research, quality healthcare, and entrepreneurship
global competitiveness through investment in world-class supply, rail, road and air transportation, and pipeline network, entrepreneurial public sector governance.”
Others, according to the document promises, are enhancing the human capital of Nigerian youths for productivity and through integrated public-private partnerships and education.
The Labour Party presidential candidate also promised to conduct “an afro-centric diplomacy that protects the rights of Nigerian citizens abroad and advance the economic interests of Nigerians and Nigerian businesses in a changing world.”
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