*He has rights to run on PDP, APC or any other platform – Supporters

Lay bare your ambition, Niger Deltans tell Jonathan
Presidential spokesman, Bashir Ahmad, last Monday night, confirmed that former President Goodluck Jonathan had defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.

By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South; Samuel Oyadongha, Egufe Yafugborhi, Chioma Onuegbu, Ochuko Akuopha  

 AMID the nationwide confusion, concealment and official denial of former President Goodluck Jonathan joining the All Progressives Congress, APC, to run for the party’s 2023 presidential ticket, a cross-section of Niger-Delta citizens have called on the ex-president to put his cards on the table.

Stakeholders, who spoke to Vanguard on Friday, insisted that it would be outrageous for the former President, with his hard-earned integrity and self-respect, to join forces with APC that bullied him out of  power in 2015.

However, some of his followers argued it was his decision to make and should be left alone.  

Egba-Ologo, ex-Bayelsa commissioner

Two-time Commissioner for Information, Orientation and Strategy in Bayelsa state, Chief Nathan Egba-Ologo, said:  “The whole situation is still shrouded in uncertainty as the principal player in the whole drama is yet to make a categorical statement on it.

“However, all the indications seem to point in the direction of his joining the race.

“In which case, it can be assumed that former President Jonathan must have definitely gotten the necessary assurances and clearances that has given him the confidence of not only getting the party’s ticket,  but that he also stands a good chance of winning the general election.

“For me even in spite of the frenzy of activities, I still consider the situation speculative and so would prefer to wait and hear the former President declare his desire to contest and his reasons before expressing my opinion about it.”

Come out clean – Ekiye, ex-Jonathan private secretary  

Former Principal Private Secretary to Jonathan, ex-Special Adviser on Parasatals in the Presidency and Publisher, EnvironmentWatch, Braeyi Ekiye, opined: “Life is full of choices, former President Goodluck Jonathan should be allowed to make his choice; to decide for himself, bringing into bear the variables before him.

“He best can feel the current political temperature in the country and see the brighter side of, or the odds against his participation in the 2023 presidential election under APC platform or any other party other party.

 “However, the whole scenario of his intended plunge into the presidential race is shrouded in secrecy.

“It is baffling and this has tended to brand his ambition as lust for power. Yet, the man Jonathan is not known for inordinate ambition.

“So you might ask: What is going on here? There has to be some explaining from him why he desires to return to Aso Rock.

“As we speak, he is yet to address the nation as to the reason(s) for his desire to contest the 2023 presidential election.

“This speculation is being feasted on by the media and given vent to all sorts of rumors. 

“My worry is that the former President should not allow his well-earned honor, dignity and character to be washed in the murky deceitful, self-seeking Nigerian political waters.

“I doubt if the present dislocated so-called Nigerian federal system of government would avail him the space to make a difference in the governance of this nation if voted into power.

“Can the present system allow him to give a deep bite to badly needed Constitutional reforms in the country?

“What Nigeria needs now is a restructured political system anchored on true fiscal federalism and the jettisoning of the present fraudulent Nigerian 1999 Constitution which has held the nation hostage and kept this unholy Union stunted in growth and development over the years.

‘Tens of Jonathans, Moghalus and Peter Obis can do little or nothing to dramatically change the despicable narrative.

“The paradigm shift is that of the rebirth of a failed nation where the ‘Nigerianess’ is entrenched in the citizenry and fired by a sense of nationalism to move Nigeria forward as a united, peaceful and prosperous nation. 

“Perhaps it is instructive to remind ourselves of what the famous Yoruba dramatist, Hubert Ogunde of blessed memory once said to the Yorubas in the height of political turbulence (Operation Wetie) in the Yoruba land: ‘Ronu’.

“These are times for our revered former President Jonathan to think, to Ronu, and to do in a manner that would stand him up as upright, dependable, and whose honour and dignity cannot be sacrificed on the altar of lust for power.

“And that, by his decision, he would continuously be seen as a ‘democrat’ of uncommon calling globally.”

Reprehensible – Gbemre, NDPC coordinator

Coordinator, Niger Delta Peace Coalition, NDPC, Zik Gbemre, who responded from Delta state, said: “I know there is no limit to depravity, greed and gullibility of the insensitive Nigerian politician, but this level former President Jonathan has driven it is the height of it.

“At the risk of sounding unpatriotic, I see these failed political leaders recycling forced rules on the populace are pushing for a violent change in this country. And they must not believe it is impossible. They are pushing for a violent change.

“Some of us have been saying no smoke without fire. When people just cook up nomination forms conspiracy dramas, the President cannot feign ignorance. Now it is open.

“He is a disgrace to the Niger Delta. What has he to prove in leadership that he could not achieve in over five years.

“He is so gullible that he is such a wiling tool to be used to further destroy the country and serve the Northern oligarchy’s penchant to rule the country on their terms only. It is pathetic, so shameful of Jonathan.”

We want low-down —  Wills, Ijaw trailblazer

Founding member of Embasara Foundation, an Ijaw think-tank for good governance, Iniruo Wills, said: “There is only one person to hear directly from for now. That is former President Goodluck Jonathan himself.

“No need speculating or second guessing him. By his high place in our political society, and as a matter of public credibility and respect for them, he owes Nigerians a duty to speak directly and unmistakably to them.”

It’s Jonathan’s choice — Ambakerderimo, SSRG

Convener, South – South Reawakening Group, SSRG, Joseph Ambakederimo, said: “The choice is his so long it has to do with politics and his individual interests.

“Do not forget we say politics is about interest. Whether APC or PDP or any other platform they are all domiciled in Nigeria.

“Now the question to ask is what new ideas has Goodluck Jonathan harnessed that will be deployed to make life better for the ordinary folks in Nigeria that he did not deploy while in office for six years?”

I endorse his bid — Adima, political analyst

In his reaction, a political analyst in Delta state, Mr. Blessing Adima, said: “The news of former President Goodluck Jonathan joining the presidential race is still in the realm of conjecture but suffice it to say, without any fear of contradiction, that He is eminently qualified to aspire to retake the office.

“Also like every other Nigerian, he enjoys his freedom of associate which includes right to belong to any political party of his choice, be it PDP or APC.

“Political parties are not religious organizations or faith, even people change their faiths based on the convictions.

“The current state of affairs in Nigeria today requires a unifier, a detribalized leader and one who understands the workings of the system,  Goodluck Jonathan fits this bill. In all sincerity Nigeria needs him to rescue this ship of nation. 

“Without any reservation, I am praying fervently that this speculation becomes reality. I will support and mobilize for him. 

“I fully endorse his return to the pinnacle of power. He should come and assemble, again, his team of experts.

“We need his economic team that stabilized the economy and made Nigeria the fastest growing economy.”

Nothing off beam — Umoh, ex-Speaker, Akwa Ibom

Ex-Speaker, Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Peter Umoh, stated: “If former President Jonathan decides to contest as president on the platform of APC, he is only exercising his fundamental right of freedom of Association. It is his right to associate with whichever party he wants to.

“If the people that did not see him worthy to continue in office in 2015 have now realized that they made mistake, and they are coming to beg him to come and complete what would have been his second term, there is nothing wrong in that.

“So Nigerians should not be worried if Jonathan comes back for his rightful second term even though on the platform of another political party.

“I am a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, but I am saying this objectively.

“Membership of political party in Nigeria is such a fluid matter. You can see a person in PDP this morning and in the evening, he/she is a member of another political party.

“It has become a norm in Nigeria, so nobody should be worried about it if Jonathan did so.

“And since PDP is reluctant in deciding in the favour of the South producing the next President, I do not see anything wrong if the APC will seize the opportunity to ensure that the presidency comes to the Southern Nigeria after President Buhari,” Umoh stressed.

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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.