A human rights group, Citizens Network for Peace and Development, on Monday, said former President Goodluck Jonathan had not declared for the 2023 presidency.
The National Coordinator of the CNPD, Raphael Okorie, who made the clarification during a press conference in Abuja, said the former President was still consulting.
The organisation, however, said that Jonathan would contest the election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress because of the relationship he had built with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.)
But the Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, in an interview with The PUNCH said people luring Jonathan to the APC were his enemies.
Okorie was asked to explain why Jonathan had refused to declare his aspiration for the presidency but kept telling his supporters that he was still in consultation.
He said, “The entire country, men, women, East, North, South and West are unanimous for Jonathan to contest the 2023 presidential election.
“The presidential election is not a local government election and a man who has been the Grand Commander of this country knows the full implication of running presidential election.”
According to him, Jonathan will contest the Presidency on the platform of APC because “the mood of the nation has gone beyond political parties and political affiliations.”
Okorie said, “He’s a man who is coming to serve the APC and the PDP. But to put it clearly, the best platform for him to contest election is the APC because with the relationship he has built with the Grand Commander for the past seven years, it behoves on him today to see that he maintains that trajectory, to see that there is continuity and we don’t begin to have white elephant come 2023 which will not be completed and then Nigerians will start going round the vicious cycle.
“It most important for us to understand that the 2023 general election is not about individual or political parties affiliation or ethnicity or tribe but about Nigeria and the future of our children, if we have to say that.”
Asked whether Jonathan has joined the APC, he said, “I can’t sit here to tell you he has defected to the APC because I don’t have his membership form.
“But I can tell you that discussions are in top gear with the party at all levels to ensure that a smooth process of transmission into the APC is done and let me tell you why: the APC as a party has also taken a position that even those who want to come to the party at any point in time before the primary will be given a level playing ground to participate in the primary fully.”
Ohanaeze to Jonathan: Be wary of those luring you to the APC
Meanwhile, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has warned ex-President Jonathan to be wary of those luring him to the APC with the purpose of contesting the 2023 presidential election.
Ohanaeze said such group or groups were his political enemies and he must run away from them and remain a statesman.
Ohanaeze’s spokesman, Dr Alex Ogbonnia, gave the advice in a telephone interview with The PUNCH.
Ogbonnia explained that it is only in Nigeria and in third world like Africa that such an idea could be contemplated in the first place.
We’re waiting to see Jonathan declare under APC- Bayelsa PDP
On its part, the PDP in Jonathan’s home state of Bayelsa said reports of his ambition to contest the 2023 presidential election on the platform of the APC were mere speculations.
The state PDP chairman, Solomon Agwanana, in a chat with one of our correspondents, said the state chapter of the party would not react to rumours.
He said the PDP in Bayelsa would come up with a statement if Jonathan summoned the courage to defect to the APC and publicly declare his presidential ambition for next year’s general polls.
On his part, the Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, took a swipe at the former President.
He said, “The unfortunate thing is that President Goodluck Jonathan allowed himself to be disgraced by mentioning the fact that, ‘I’m considering whether to be President’; for what? Who are you consulting?”
The nonagenarian wondered why political leaders from the North were now propounding a lot of theories when they realised it was the turn of the South-East to produce the President in 2023.