‘I cannot tell you I’m declaring; the political process is ongoing’
Former President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday in Abuja came under intense pressure from his supporters, urging him to contest for president in 2023 and he did not disappoint, telling them that “the political process is ongoing; just watch out. just watch out.”
The supporters, comprising largely women and youths, stormed the Jonathan Foundation’s Abuja office, chanting his name, forcing him to come out to address them.
The former president acknowledged that youths wanted him to contest for President in 2023, but told the supporters that he could not, for now, tell Nigerians whether he would be contesting and that his final decision would manifest very soon.
Jonathan said: “I cannot declare because some processes are still ongoing. Yes, you are calling me to come and declare for the next election. I cannot tell you I’m declaring, the political process is ongoing. Just watch out. The key thing you must do is to pray that Nigeria gets somebody that carries young people along, somebody that can also work very hard to see that some of the problems raised are tackled.
“I sincerely appreciate the youths of Nigeria. For you to come this morning in this manner shows clearly that the youth are interested in politics.
“We have always wanted the youth to get involved in politics. And luckily, the Not Too Young to Run Act has made it very clear that young people can contest almost every position in the country. So, we continue to encourage you to get involved in the political process.”
Jonathan noted that the country was facing challenges, saying that some of the challenges started a long time ago, stressing that he believed in the interest of young people and that the challenges would be dealt with.
The supporters, who demanded the return of Jonathan as President in 2023, arrived in four buses and displayed placards at Jonathan’s Taraba Close, Maitama office.
Some of the placards read, “Goodluck declare now”; “We are sorry, Goodluck don’t abandon us, come back”; “Goodluck please come”; and “Goodluck we love you”, among others.
A spokesman for the supporters, Mayor Samuel, who is also the convener of the Youth Compatriots of Nigeria, said, “We were deceived and brainwashed by those who claimed they could do it in 2015.
“Now, we know better, under Jonathan the minimum wage could buy one or two bags of rice. What do we have today? We are begging President Jonathan to forgive us, we have realised our mistakes, we want him back to complete what he started.”
Samuel admitted that they were deceived to believe that the administration of Jonathan was bad and that they were out in their numbers to seek Jonathan’s forgiveness.
He noted that they had realised their mistake and that the “saboteurs” that came after him were empty.
Samuel adds: “We are here to say sir, forgive us, come and lead us again. We are calling on you to come and take the mantle of leadership in 2023. Nigeria is in comatose. Please answer this call, the youth are here, the women are here, the children are here, pregnant women are here, please hear their cry.
“We are here to call on our former president. Nigeria is in a state of no return, it is in a state of comatose, which is why we are here calling on him to declare.
“All we need is a leader that will not discriminate, a Nigerian that will work for the South-South, South-east, South-west, and the north.
“The Transformation agenda was working until the saboteurs came to deceive us, to brainwash us. Now we have realised that those that deceived us are empty and have nothing to offer.
“We want Jonathan to run under the Nigeria Peoples Party. Any party that gives a ticket to Jonathan is a party of the masses, the party of the downtrodden and that’s the party we will support.”
One of the women speakers, Ms. Angela Obi said they were tired of the administration of President Buhari and called on Jonathan to come back.
She said: “We are dying, hunger wants to kill us, we are tired, please come back, we are suffering, we have no food to eat, we have no water, we need you back.”
Also speaking on behalf of women, Ms. Ngozi Okafor said since the former president left office in 2015, both men and women had been suffering.
She said, “Children are dying, we are tired. We have turned to beggars, women are begging, children are begging. We don’t need Baba Buhari again. Our children are no longer going to school.”