FORMER president Dr Goodluck Jonathan has rejected the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential nomination form purchased for him by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (Macban).
Yesterday, shockwaves were sent across the political spectrum when it emerged that Macban, the nomadic Fulani pastoralists group has spent N100m to purchase the APC presidential expression of interest and nomination forms for the 2023 presidential elections. Dr Jonathan, who is still a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is not an APC member.
In 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC defeated then President Jonathan of the PDP to clinch the presidency. Of late, there have been moves by certain persons said to be close to President Buhari to get Dr Jonathan to switch to the APC and stand as their presidential candidate in 2023.
Things appeared to reach a climax yesterday when Macban paid the N1100m fee for Dr Jonathan without him appearing to be party to the arrangement. As the development generated a lot of controversy, Ikechukwu Eze, Dr Jonathan’s spokesman, said it was an insult for anyone to buy the forms for his principal without his consent.
Mr Eze said: “It has come to our notice that a group has purportedly purchased presidential expression of interest and nomination forms of the 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. Buying a presidential aspiration form in the name Dr Jonathan without his consent, knowing the position he had held in this country, is considered an insult to his person.”
He, however, expressed appreciation for the overwhelming request by a cross-section of Nigerians for Dr Jonathan to make himself available for the 2023 presidential election. Mr Eze stressed that the former president had not in any way, committed himself to the request, so said the general public is therefore advised to disregard it.
Mallam Ibrahim Abdullahi, leader of the nomadic Fulani pastoralists and almajiri communities, had earlier told newsmen after picking the forms that Dr Jonathan should be re-elected to enable him to complete what he began. Among other things, he said Dr Jonathan was the first president since the country gained independence in 1960 that found it expedient, through his magnanimity, to remember the almajiri community.
He added: “My name is Ibrahim Abdullahi, I represent two of the most vulnerable communities in our country, the nomadic pastoralists and the almajiri communities. We have decided to purchase this form for our former president, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, to come back and rule this country and continue with the good work he started.”