…promise ex-president 14 million votes
. ‘We sold cows to buy Jonathan’s forms’
Former President Goodluck Jonathan, on Monday, joined the crowd of presidential aspirants seeking the 2023 ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as he
picked the expression of interest and nomination forms of the ruling party.
But a group of Northern nomadic pastoralists and Almajiri communities were said to have purchased the forms on Jonathan’s behalf at the International Conference Centre (ICC) in Abuja on Monday evening.
The two groups have also assured Jonathan of 14 million “ready votes” in the 2023 presidential election.
The former president is, however, yet to announce his defection from the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party to the APC. He’s also yet to officially declare interest in contesting the presidency in next year’s general elections.
Recall that Jonathan became president following the sudden death of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2010. He contested the 2011 presidential election and won.
Jonathan, however, lost his re-election bid to President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015. He acknowledged defeat even while the final results of the election had yet to be announced.
It was learnt that two Northern governors are the major forces behind Jonathan’s return bid.
Reliable sources claimed that the two Northern governors, who are close to Buhari, already have the words of some powerful persons in the presidency to support their plan for Jonathan to succeed Buhari in 2023.
Jonathan had recently told a group of his supporters who had insisted he should declare to “be on the watch.”
The former president, since his defeat in the 2015 poll has not been attending functions of his party, the PDP. He has also been very close to his successor, President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling APC, resulting in speculations that he had secretly joined the ruling party.
Explaining their source of funds, the Fulani herders said their members sold several of their cattle to raise the N100m required to procure the APC forms for Jonathan.
The group’s leader, Ibrahim Abdullahi, told reporters shortly after obtaining the forms that they took the decision based on Jonathan’s track record of support for the Almajiri and Fulani communities.
Abdullahi said, “We are ready not only to purchase this form for Goodluck Jonathan, but I want to assure you that our communities, the nomadic pastoralists has the voting power of about nine million votes plus the advisory who also can produce about five million, about 14 million, all we are asking other Nigerians is to give us at least two million and we are home and right.
“I represent two of the most vulnerable communities in our country. The nomadic pastoralists and the Almajiri communities have decided to purchase this form for our former president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan to come back and rule this country and continue with the good work he has started.
“You may recall that during Goodluck Jonathan’s era he was the first president since the independence of Nigeria who has found it expedient, who was magnanimous enough to build the Almajiri a comprehensive policy of reformation and integration of the Almajiri into the mainstream educational system in Nigeria. It was the dream and the vision of President Goodluck Jonathan that if that program had continued it would one day produce from the Almajiri system of education; doctors, engineers.
“Unfortunately, that program was kept aside as soon as he left. Another part of the vulnerable community that Goodluck Jonathan wanted to really give a sense of belonging to was the Fulani community, the nomadic pastoralists.”
He added, “As you may have heard, a lot of interest groups have been coming out to urge him to contest but we felt that because it is the deadline that was given whether he agrees or not, we need to purchase this form.
“Goodluck Jonathan is for all Nigeria. As Nigerians we believe he has the interest of this country at heart, he will accept us.
“You can see that we are almost late to buy these forms, we have been trying with the Almajiri and the Fulanis selling our cows. We were able to raise this just yesterday and we decided to come and purchase these forms.”