2023: Former President Jonathan Throws His Weight Behind Gov. Mohammed, To Become Nigeria’s Next President

 By Suleiman Umaru

In spite of the good   number of political gladiators that have declared  their  Presidential ambition in the Opposition  People’s Democratic Party , PDP, and which  is increasing by the day ahead of the 2023, general elections, rumours of former President Goodluck Jonathan, dumping the PDP , that brought him to political lime-light to join the ruling a LL Progressive Congress, APC, have been dampened.

 The former Nigerian President who has been under intense pressure from some powerful Emirs and power brokers in the north  to join the APC, including moles in the PDP, may have  looked at the legal hurdles  he must scale in the race for the Presidency if he should  join the party. To show that he is still A Chieftain of the PD, unlike Obasanjo , who has resigned from active politics to play the role of  Adviser to those who  may seek his wise counsel to achieve their Presidential ambition, may have broken his silence as he thros his weight  on Bala Mohammeed, a former minister of the Federal Capital Territory , FCT, during his Administration and now governor of the north east state of Bauchi  to be Nigeria’s next President.

Former President Jonathan Backs Gov. Mohammed, As PDP Presidential Candidate For The 2023, General Elections

He has his reason . According to him the former FCT  minister has a ‘’commitment for national service and very competent’’ to rule Nigeria. The former President who could not hide his feelings had expressed his absolute confidence in the ability  of the Bauchi state governor  to lead the country’’. Beaming with smiles at a meeting with him  on Thursday, February 10,2022, he had said ‘’ if you are there as Nigeria’s next President, then I have  son’’ , nothing that  the joy of every  father is to see his son grow’’.

 Putting the garb of a Priest, he had prayed for him. ‘’By the divine providence and with the support of Nigerians and Almighty God, you will become the next President of Nigeria’’, he. The prayer may have sealed the hope of other PDP Presidential aspirants who may have planned to reach out to the former Nigerian President to seek his support including Ayim Pius Ayim,  a former Secretary General of the Federal Government during  his Administartion from south east state of Eboyi.

 Note that at the last count, no fewer than five political gladiators in the Opposition PDP had declared their interest for the  exalted  office. They are Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice president, during Olusegun Olusegun Obaanjo’s Administration and a former PDP Presidential  Candidate, in the 2019,general elections and  who incidentally is  from the south east state of Adamawa, bukola Saraki, a former governor of Kwara state and a one-time  Senate President, Aminu Tambuwal, former Speaker Of House Of Representatives and now governor of Sokoto state and Senator Sam Ohuabunwa, from the south –east state  of Abia.

The Abia state Presidential aspirant  had visited  Ibrahim Babangida , a retired Army General and former military President  in his hilltop  home in Minna , Capital of the north central state of Niger, described as Mecca, for the Presidential Candidates , irrespective of party of affliction  ‘’to solicit  for his wise counsel  as well as members of the party in the state ahead  of the party Convention and the 2023, general elections’’.

He had said that he was motivated to join the PDP Presidential race  ‘’to change the narrative  and the put the country on the right  pedestal among the comity of nations’’. He had cited    joblessness, which is causing the worsening  insecurity, high level of  socio-economic  challenges and increased level of poverty as the biggest challenges facing the country , and will be tackled headlong by his Administration.

  S a prelude to showing to the public that he is still financial solid to fund his  2023, Presidential ambition, Atiku, described as one of the frontrunners among the PDP, Presidential Candidates, may have taken a  cue from Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state and one of the APC, Presidential Candidates who had doled out  N50 million each to Zamfara and Niger states respectively ,for Boko Haram victims to do so in Benue state  for victims of armed Herdsmen, thus sending a  message to the  other Presidential Candidates jostling for the 2023, general elections that money will play  a key role in deciding who becomes Nigeria’s next President.  This mean that the issue of the Leadership quality, Character and Compentence of the person would be downplayed provide the Candidate has the money to outshine his Competitors in winning the  heart of the voters at the party Convention with the help of his foot soldiers.

President Buhari : Keeps Nigerians Waiting For His Assent To The Electoral Amendment Bill

While  the polity has been heated up by the Politicians  ahead of the 2023, general elections,  President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Army General,,  appears  reluctant to sign the 2021, amended  Electoral Bill  by the National Assembly, into Law, which could have  given the parties the ammunition to fully  prepare for their Conventions to elect their presidential Candidates and Vice Presidential Candidate

Abubakar Malami, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Attorney General and minister  of Justice,  had hinted that the Nigerian President  may withhold assent  from the Electoral Act   (Amendment) Bill if it was  found to have been amended   based on’’ personal interest by the Lawmakers’’.

In apparent reaction  to why the Katsina born Nigerian President  is still reluctant assent to sign the Electoral Bill, which he had forced the National Assembly to Amend last year by including other options for the  parties to select their Candidates instead of limiting it to the  direct primaries alone,  Babajide Omoworare, Senior Special Assistant  to the President on National Assembly Matters had said that he is still ‘’consulting  with critical stakeholders on whether to sign  the Electoral Act Ammendment  Bill or not.’’. The question on the lips of most people was : who are these critical stakeholders that the retired Army General is Consulting before signing the Electoral Bill that had been amended by the National Assembly?

Omoworare, may have known that the retired Army General do not have all the time world to assent to the amended Electoral Bill that he had made Nigerians to know that he was aware of his’’ Constitutional Constraints  for assent to the Bill  which is a 30-day frame from the day the document  was transmitted to his office to sign into Law’’.

It is instructive to note that the National Assembly had had included in the amended Electoral Bill  both Consensus and indirect primaries , in the selection of Candidates by the parties which should have gladdened Nigerian President’s heart but he is still foot- dragging h to do so awaiting  for  Malami, the minister of Justice’s , legal Advice.

Jega: Former INEC, Chairman, Says the Electoral Bill is critical To 2023 General Elections And therefore, Must Be Signed Into Law

Attahiru Jega, a former Chairman, of the Independent National  Electoral Commission, INEC, may not have seen anything wrong in Buahuri, foot dragging in signing the Electoral Bill into Law, insisting that a ‘’good law  was necessary  for electoral integrity’’. His major worry in the Bill was the provisions made  for Campaign financing  by the Presidential Candidates. He alluded to the provisions in the Bill that says   Candidates  for Presidency  must spend N5 billion and governors N1 billion  for elections, describing it as ‘’a bad Law’’.

An aggrieved Jega, had said that ‘’as long as there is no internal  party democracy, in the parties, even if    they adopt  direct, indirect primaries  or the Consensus option to select their Candidates for the 2023,  general elections, the money bag politicians  in will still ‘’manipulate the party Conventions and the outcome will not be favourable to the people’’.

The former INEC, boss who could not hide his feelings, however, has appealed to  the Nigerian President  to hasten up’’ to sign the Electoral Ammendment Bill  into Law  as it is critical  to the 2023 general elections’’.

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