In spite of the controversy surrounding the alleged defection of former President Goodluck Jonathan to the All Progressives Congress (APC), the party that threw him out of office in 2015, and blamed him for the woes of Nigeria, strong support has started to emerge for him in the oil and gas region.
Jonathan is said to be seeking to be adopted as a consensus presidential candidate of the ruling party for the 2023 race. Jonathan’s official defection is capable of upsetting the dominance of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the oil region.
Of the six states of the South-South zone – Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, and Rivers – Governor Nyesom Wike’s Rivers promises to be a hot battle ground.
While Wike is not likely to join the bandwagon, immediate past Transportation Minister, Chibuike Amaechi, who fought Jonathan mercilessly in the build-up to the 2015 polls, may reconcile with the ex-president to achieve their game plan for the APC.
And, while Jonathan is yet to make an official pronouncement that he has dumped PDP, the party that made him, a socio-political interest group, Voice of South-South (VoSS) is urging him to contest the 2023 presidential poll.
VoSS said its call was premised on Jonathan’s competence to tackle the nation’s current socio-political and economic challenges that have given rise to poverty, conflicts, violence, corruption, distrust, tribal sentiments amongst others.
So said its Chairman, James Boss-Anyama, in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa capital, noting that judging by the array of politicians jostling for the nation’s Presidency, Jonathan stands out as the only man with an honest and lasting solution to the nation’s economic and political woes.
According to the group, at this critical point with the nation’s economic woes, a four-year term for President Jonathan will benefit the whole of Nigeria not just the North as wrongly perceived from some quarters. It further dispelled insinuation that Jonathan’s presidency is a Northern agenda for the purpose of regaining power after four years.
VoSS explains that Nigeria at this point in time needs a short time redemption-focused mission with a four year purposive and pragmatic national rebirth agenda geared towards addressing the lingering challenges before it.
Boss-Anyama described Jonathan as detribalised, unassuming, humble, unamendable to the lures of power and a lover of Nigerians irrespective of tribe and religion.
“A Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency will not only transform Nigeria but will align with best practices across the nations of the world.
“It is not a strange idea in that many world powers like the United States of America, had within their political history brought back former leaders and are still doing so in quick succession like in the case of Israel.
“For us it will be significant and will bring international recognition and respect to our nation only comparable to the likes of South Africa’s four year development and national advancement under the leadership of Nelson Mandela”, VoSS said.
The group admitted that it was aware of the yearnings of a particular region for the presidency on the grounds of equity and fairness.
The group however submitted, but that fielding a tested hand to take the country out of the woods should be over and above the principle of equity and fairness.