The months of speculations as to whether or not former President Goodluck Jonathan is contesting for the 2023 presidential election will come to end on Friday.
This is as the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) under which platform a presidential nomination forms have been obtained for Jonathan closes submission of forms by all aspirants on the last working day.
Consequently, if the former president does not return the forms purchased for him by Fulani-Almajir group at the close of work on Friday, he has truly turned down the offer to recontest for the plum job again
APC had slated Wednesday as the last day for the submission of nomination forms but later extended it to Friday, a move which many believe was to buy time for Jonathan to make his final decision.
There were speculations Thursday night at the Abuja International Conference Centre, venue for the submission of the forms that some persons were coming to submit the forms for Jonathan either that night or on Friday.
One of the officials collecting forms confided in BusinessDay that the former president or his representatives
were being expected Thursday night or Friday for the submission of forms.
“We are hearing that Jonathan’s people are coming tonight or tomorrow to submit the forms that Fulani-Almajir bought for him. If they come that means he has accepted to contest but if they do not then you know that he is not going for the race,” the APC official said.
The Fulani-Almajir group had on Monday purchased the N100 million APC presidential forms for Jonathan whom they described with all superlative adjectives – best president Nigeria needs for her survival.
Read also: APC: Former AGF warns against signing withdrawal forms
Addressing journalists shortly after collecting the expression of interest and nomination forms at the Abuja International Conference Centre, Ibrahim Abdullahi, leader of the group said Jonathan was the first president since independence of Nigeria who was magnanimous to them.
He said: “Looking at this, situation and of course the problems Nigeria today is facing, we believe that only a leader with that kind of patriotism, a leader with that kind of fairness who is ready to give every Nigerian a sense of belonging can be able to rule this country and that leader is Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
“Goodluck Jonathan is the best president for Nigeria and I hope with this purchase of forms today, I call on all the aspirants if the are really patriotic, if the want Nigeria unity, if they can want sense of belonging if they want a president for all, if they want a president that has come out to say his ambition does not worth the blood of any Nigerian” he said confirm that the former president is an All Progressives Congress member.”
But Jonathan in a statement by his Media Adviser, Ikechukwu Eze turned down the offer, insisting that it was an insult to buy such forms for him without his consent.
“It has come to our notice that a group has purportedly purchased Presidential Nomination and Expression of Interest forms, of the All Progressives Congress APC, in the name of former President Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
“We wish to categorically state that Dr. Jonathan was not aware of this bid and did not authorise it. We want to state that if the former President wanted to contest an election, he would make his intentions clear to the public and will not enter through the back door,” Eze said.
Meanwhile, there is controversy surrounding the membership status of Jonathan in APC; the first criteria to meet before seeking the party’s ticket.
While reports surfaced on Wednesday that the former president had joined the APC, another one emerged on Thursday that he was yet to enter the ruling party.
According to a report by NAN, “a dependable source in Jonathan’s camp” said the former president had registered with the APC at his ward in Otuoke, Bayelsa state.
The source also reportedly claimed that Jonathan is expected to submit the presidential nomination form on Thursday.
“Several bigwigs of the party have also been calling Jonathan to pledge their loyalty and support to the former president,” the source was quoted to ha said.
However, a recent media report quoted
Dennis Otiotio, Bayelsa State chairman of APC to have said that Jonathan is officially not yet a member of the party in the state.
He said in the report that Jonathan could only join the APC if he had been formally granted a waiver by the national chairman of the party, Adamu Abdullahi.
“I think the person you people should be asking the question is the national chairman of the party. He should be the one to grant him (Jonathan) waiver.
As of now, he has not officially joined our party. Ask the national chairman if he has granted him a waiver,” Otiotio was quoted.