2023: I can’t declare for presidency yet, process ongoing – Jonathan

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Supporters of former President Goodluck Jonathan, who are pressuring him for another shot at the presidency in 2023, will have to wait for more time to know his decision.

Jonathan told some of the supporters who stormed his Abuja office yesterday in over 30 buses to ask him to join the presidential race that he was still making consultations.

He said the “political process is ongoing”, hence his inability to give a firm response to their agitation yet.

They should watch out for his decision, he said.

The agitators comprised mainly youths and women.

Jonathan was midway into a breakfast meeting with some of his political associates at his Foundation Headquarters in Maitama, Abuja when the agitators came calling.

He excused himself from the meeting to address them.

His words: “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.

“But the key role you (youths) must play is to pray that Nigeria gets somebody that carries the young people along and somebody that can also work very hard to see that some of the problems we see are dealt with by the government, and I believe that collectively we will work together.”

The former President, who was flanked by some of his associates, commended the youths for getting involved in political activities in the country, noting that the large turnout clearly showed that Nigerian youths are interested in politics.

“We have always been saying that the youths must get involved in the political process and luckily the not-too-young-to-run bill has made it very clear that young people can contest almost every position in government,” he said.

“So we will continue to encourage you to get involved in the political process, and as long as many youths get involved in the political process, the more we will be able to get the government that we want.”

On security, the former president said with the vigour with which Nigerian youths are involved in the affairs of the country, the challenges would soon be surmounted.

“The country has been facing so many challenges. Some of them started a very long time ago and I believe with the interest of the young people, these challenges will be dealt with. We will work very hard,” he said.

Leaders of the placard-carrying supporters had taken turns to persuade the former President to return to office in 2023, promising to work for his success and see to his victory at the polls.

Comrade Mayor Samuel, the Convener of Youth Compatriot of Nigeria (YCON) sought Jonathan’s forgiveness  for  rejecting him in the 2015 election, claiming they were deceived by those he called saboteurs.

Samuel said their eyes are now opened and appealed to the former President to come and rescue the country from insecurity, hunger, unemployment among others.

Another leader who claimed to come from a state told the former President that they were ready to mobilise for his victory at the polls.

“We are here to tell you to run. We are tired of suffering, we are tired of insecurity. Our streets are no longer safe. Our children can no longer go to school. ASUU has been on strike. The entire machinery of Nigeria is not working. We are tired of excuses.

“We want somebody that can transform the economy of Nigeria and there is nobody that can do that except Goodluck Jonathan. When he was the President, the economy was booming. We had a steady power supply and the fuel pump price was stable. But now, what are we experiencing? High cost.

READ ALSO: Insecurity: Return Nigeria to days of Goodluck Jonathan – Northern coalition to Buhari

“We have come as Nigerian youth from all parts of the country to tell you to run in 2023. We will support you, we will vote for you and make sure we bring you back to the office because we need Nigeria to move forward. That is why we want you to declare and contest.”

Some of the placards read: “Goodluck, declare now”; “We are sorry, Goodluck don’t abandon us, come back”; “Goodluck, please come”; “Goodluck, we love you” among many others.

Posters of the former President had flooded the national Secretariat of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Abuja on Thursday.

Last year, the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) and some APC governors had paid a courtesy visit to the former leader, fuelling suspicion of moves to woo him to join the party.

The caretaker committee was alleged to have mooted the idea of dragging the former President to contest the 2023 presidential election on the platform of the party.

The CECPC however denied that it was trying to drag Jonathan into the party or the 2023 presidential race.

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