Former President Goodluck Jonathan has decided to run for president in 2023, barely 48 hours after disowning a nomination form procured for him by a northern group.
Mr Jonathan had on May 9 rejected presidential expression of interest and nomination forms of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) bought for him by a Fulani group. He later visited APC chairman Abdullahi Adamu, a shuttle his aides said was to distance himself from the purchase.
Citing a credible source in Mr Jonathan’s camp, state-run newswire, News Agency of Nigeria, reports that Mr Jonathan has finally made up his mind to vie for the top post he lost to the incumbent in 2015.
The source, pleading anonymity, told NAN that the former president has also joined the APC formally, having registered at his Otuoke Ward in Bayelsa.
Meanwhile, Mr Jonathan is expected to submit the duly filled forms bought on his behalf on Thursday, the source offered further.
According to the source, the former president has secured the support of the required number of APC delegates from across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
“Several bigwigs of the party have also been calling Jonathan to pledge their loyalty and support to the former president,’’ the source revealed.
The source told NAN political correspondent late on Wednesday that some influential African leaders had called Mr Jonathan earlier on Monday to advise him “to contest the election in the interest of Nigeria.
“At least three top African leaders called the former president on the matter. They all urged him to run.
“One of them specifically told him that it didn’t make sense travelling all over Africa settling disputes only to shy away from leadership responsibility in his home country.
“Another reminded him of the implication of failing to put the experiences he garnered as a former Nigerian president and as a continental statesman to good use,” the source added but did not mention the names of the African leaders.
The source cited some of the African leaders as telling Jonathan that Nigeria was passing through challenging times and “needed a unifier like Jonathan at this time’’.
Mr Jonathan, who lost power to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, was born in 1957 in the Ogbia district in Bayelsa State.
He was previously of the PDP party on whose platform he ruled Nigeria until he lost the presidential election to Buhari in 2015.