By Saidu Abdullahi
Jonathan has become the light of optimism for the interest of minorities in a heterogeneous democracy and society like ours in terms of ethnicity and religion. This and more are the core reasons why the cabal appears to be promoting Jonathan for a second term in the Villa. He is a man of peace. He willingly, against the highest odds possible, called and congratulated Buhari as the winner of his second term campaign while the counting of votes was still going on. Indeed, Jonathan is a man of history.
After the fallout of the All Progressive Congress’ National Convention, last Saturday/Sunday at Eagle Square in Abuja, groups and individuals have stepped up their game by mounting pressure on former President Goodluck Jonathan to throw into the ring his hat and contest for the presidential election in 2023.
At the venue of the convention, there were group discussions about the future of the country’s democracy regarding next year’s presidential election. Of course, the major issue that dominated the sideline conversation is the question: who will the party produce as its presidential candidate?
So far, the answer to this question seems like a mirage in view of the lineup of persons who have publicly declared their interest to run for the office of the president.
Those who want to succeed the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), next year on the platform of the APC include the party’s National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State and Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State. Others who are also reportedly nurturing presidential ambitions include Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Governor Kayode Fayemi and Minister of Transport Rotimi Amaechi.
But Buhari’s body language has been saying something completely different that the aspirants, and some APC hawks, were totally oblivious of until the last week at the National Convention of the party. Members of the ruling party at the highest level were shocked at the string that the president pulled.
Knowing fully well that any block within the party that produced the National Chairman of the party would eventually influence whoever will emerge as the presidential candidate, the cabal devised a killer strategy by ensuring that Buhari invited the party leaders, APC governors, National Assembly caucus and other relevant stakeholders and mounted pressure on them to accept his proposal of consensus option.
Expectedly, no one could turn down the president’s offer. So when Senator Abdullahi Adamu eventually emerged as the consensus candidate and National Chairman, it was a fait accompli. Everyone fell into line.
But the untold ultimate strategy that was not revealed by the president, and is still kept under his chest, is the fact that the cabal has perfected a plan to also, like the consensus convention that made other National Chairmanship aspirants withdraw from the race, spring former President Jonathan as the next consensus presidential candidate of the party.
It is imperative to note that the president is determined to hand over power to a worthy, dependable and patriotic Nigerian within the ruling party who he believes Nigerians want and he has the requisite credentials to pull this country together from the current brink of explosive agitations along ethnic and religious lines.
The president is fully aware that he cannot leave the country with myriads of problems orchestrated by protracted national security issues. He is also well aware of the fact there are many desperate individuals or political elements in the APC who are ready to cross borders of decency, law, patriotism and statesmanship to grab power. The president is also not unaware of politicians in the opposition who are trying to move heaven and earth to succeed him.
But he is not disposed either. Knowing fully well that he cannot depend on rigging for APC to produce the next president, he has to reposition the party, ensure that only candidates that he can market to Nigerians emerge as the APC’s standard-bearers.
In all of these, it may appear that Jonathan could be APC’s joker. He arguably possesses the most enviable political credentials in the current democratic dispensation. He is a leader that has demonstrated beyond any doubt that he promotes the interest of Nigeria, its unity, peace and progress above his personal whims and interest.
He has shown that being in power or out of power does not affect his commitment and dedication to pursuing the national interest of the country. He has made enormous personal and political sacrifices for Nigeria’s democracy. His post-presidential antecedents in Nigeria, Africa and beyond have boosted Nigeria’s international image as a responsible and biggest democracy in Africa.
Very importantly, Jonathan has become the light of optimism for the interest of minorities in a heterogeneous democracy and society like ours in terms of ethnicity and religion. This and more are the core reasons why the cabal appears to be promoting Jonathan for a second term in the Villa. He is a man of peace. He willingly, against the highest odds possible, called and congratulated Buhari as the winner of his second term campaign while the counting of votes was still going on. Indeed, Jonathan is a man of history.
But the only challenge now is the question everybody has been asking: Will Jonathan accept to contest the 2023 presidential election as the ruling party’s concensus candidate?
Saidu Abdullahi wrote in from Sabon Gari, Kano