Former President Goodluck Jonathan will only be joining the All Progressives Congress presidential race on the condition that he is endorsed by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), Naija02 gathered.
Anything short of this would not be acceptable to Jonathan who served as deputy governor, governor, Vice-President and President on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party from 1999 and 2015.
Saturday PUNCH had reported in February that some northern emirs had reached out to the former President, asking him to contest. Jonathan had also stayed away from activities of the PDP, including the last national convention.
Former Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State had also stated that it was unlikely that Jonathan was still a member of the PDP as he was no longer involved in the party’s activities.
On Thursday, however, posters of the ex-President flooded the national secretariat of the APC on Blantyre Street, Wuse 2.
On Friday, youth and women groups demonstrated outside of Jonathan’s office in the Maitama area of Abuja.
The demonstrators, who arrived in five large buses, held up placards some of which read, ‘Jonathan, Please Run’, ‘Jonathan, do the needful’, ‘Jonathan for 2023’, ‘Jonathan Declare Now’ and ‘Goodluck Please Come Back, We Love You’.
A spokesman for the group, Mayor Samuel, who is also the Convener of the Youth Compatriots of Nigeria, said, “We 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.”
Jonathan subsequently invited the leaders of the protesters for a private meeting. After the brief meeting, the ex-President addressed the demonstrators outside, advising the youths to run for office instead, adding that the constitution had been amended as far back as 2018 in order to give youths a chance to contest.
The ex-President said he was not sure if he would run. He, however, asked them to ‘watch out’.
“Yes you are calling me to come and declare for the next election, I cannot tell if I’m declaring. The political process is ongoing just watch out. The key role you must play is that Nigeria must get somebody that will carry young people along,” the former President added.
However, a top source in the APC told Saturday PUNCH that the former President was seeking an assurance that he would be handed the party’s Presidential ticket.
The APC chieftain, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “Jonathan has already been President before. So, the APC cannot offer him anything except the Presidential ticket. Imagine him contesting against Osinbajo and Tinubu and losing? Wouldn’t that be disgraceful?