Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has said that he would not compete for the presidency of the ruling party in 2023, according to his spokesman. This announcement puts an end to months of speculation that he might return to national politics.
A group of Jonathan supporters from northern Nigeria acquired candidacy papers for the governing All Progressives Congress party (APC) primary elections, which are set to take place at the end of May.
Jonathan’s spokesman, Ikechukwu Eze, said in a statement released on Monday, May 9th, that the former president who was in power between 2010 and 2015 under the People’s Democratic Party, which is now in opposition, did not authorize the acquisition of nomination forms which are required for candidates to participate in primary elections.
“We wish to categorically state that Mr. Jonathan was not aware of this bid and did not authorize it,” said the statement. “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.”
On Monday, a coalition of Northern organizations converged at the International Conference Center in Abuja to acquire Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential contention and expression of interest forms from the All Progressives Congress. Members of the alliance, wearing fez hats with the slogan “Run Jonathan go” are cited as saying Jonathan is the best candidate of those currently in the race for the ticket to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.
Eze stated, “While we appreciate the overwhelming request by a cross-section of Nigerians for Jonathan to make himself available for the 2023 presidential election, we wish to state that he has not in any way, committed himself to this request.”
Who will emerge as the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?
Nigeria’s mainstream parties will hold primaries later this month to meet the electoral commission’s deadline of June 3rd for submitting nominees for the February 2023 election.
It is customary for Nigerian politicians to swap sides during elections, but the APC’s endorsement of a candidate it previously lambasted as inept when he was president would have been a stunning about-turn. APC has historically criticized Jonathan’s presidency including citing his failure to tame the Boko Haram terrorist organization, blaming the fuel scarcity in December 2015 on his administration, and claiming the government under his leadership became rich off of turmoil in the nation.
With President Muhammadu Buhari set to leave office in 2023 after two full terms, the race for his successor is wide open, with more than 20 governing party candidates registered to run in the primary election. The candidates include Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former Lagos State Governor and party heavyweight Bola Tinubu, Minister of Petroleum Timipre Sylva, and numerous federal ministers and state governors will be screened by a party committee on Tuesday.