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Confusion as Jonathan ‘rejects’ APC presidential forms

Former President Goodluck Jonathan last night “rejected” the expression of interest and nomination forms bought for him to contest the presidential primary of the All…

Former President Goodluck Jonathan last night “rejected” the expression of interest and nomination forms bought for him to contest the presidential primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The purported rejection was announced by his media office hours after a group called Nomadic Pastoralists and the Almajiri Communities led by one Ibrahim Abdullahi claimed they paid for the forms.

However, Daily Trust gathered from sources that the forms were paid for by a serving northern governor who credited the APC Collection Account domiciled with Heritage Bank, with N100m.

The bank had also in a letter dated May 9, 2022 told the APC that it received the amount.

The letter was titled, ‘Notification of credit into account: All Progressives Congress (APC) Collections Account: 5600007616’.

Amid the claims in various quarters, Jonathan’s Media Adviser, Ikechukwu Eze last night issued a statement that his principal did not authorise the purchase of the forms but thanked the donors for their concern.

He said, “It has come to the notice of His Excellency Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, that a group has purportedly purchased Presidential  Nomination and Expression of Interest forms, of the All Progressives Congress (the APC), in his name.

“We wish to categorically state that Dr. Jonathan was not aware of this bid and did not authorize it.

“While we appreciate the overwhelming request by a cross-section of Nigerians, for Dr. Jonathan to make himself available for the 2023 Presidential election, we wish to state, that he has not in anyway, committed himself to this request.

“We thank the general public for their concern, as we continue to encourage citizens’ participation in the affairs of the country.”

However, our correspondents learnt that the former president joined the ruling party in 2021 at about the time when many groups and prominent individuals were calling on him to vie for the presidency.

When asked to comment on Jonathan’s exit from the PDP and his meeting with the national chairman of the party, Abdullahi Adamu, last night, he said “no comment”.

Recall that some youths had recently flooded the national secretariat of the APC and some streets in Abuja with Jonathan’s presidential posters asking him to stage a comeback.

They also stormed his office in the Maitama area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in five large buses with placards asking him to declare.

Jonathan later held a private meeting with their leaders and told them to “just watch out”, a position seen as accepting their invitation amid divergent positions of pundits and lawyers on whether he is qualified to vie for the presidency once again or not.

Recall that Jonathan was defeated in 2015 by the then candidate of the APC, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd). He contested in 2011 and won, after completing President Umaru Musa Yar’adua’s tenure from 2010.

In the last seven years, Jonathan has been having a positive relationship with President Buhari and other leaders of the ruling party, while shying away from the activities of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the platform upon which he became deputy governor, governor, vice president and president.

We sold our cows to buy forms – Group

Speaking with newsmen shortly after picking the forms, Abdullahi said they decided to purchase the forms for Jonathan to enable him stage a comeback and continue with the good work he had started.

“You may recall ladies and gentlemen of the press that during Goodluck Jonathan’s era, he was the first president since independence to have found it expedient, who was magnanimous enough to remember the Almajiri community.

“He brought 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 programme had continued, it would one day produce from the Almajiri system of education; doctors, engineers.

“Unfortunately, that programme was kept aside as soon as he left. Other parts of the community (the vulnerable community) that Goodluck Jonathan wanted to really give a sense of belonging were the Fulani community, the nomadic pastoralist.

“He set aside N60bn in the coffers of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which was to be used to develop livestock in Nigeria. I believe if the government had continued with that programme, today, we would have been the Denmark, the Sweden, the Holland of entire Africa in terms of livestock, in terms of beef and so on,” he said.

We didn’t buy forms for ex- president – Miyetti Allah

Responding, the national headquarters of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) last night denied buying forms for Jonathan.

The National Secretary of MACBAN, Baba Othman Ngelzarma, said in a statement that the association did not and will not buy any form for any candidate contesting elections.

“As an association, we have far higher needs for money to assist our members being uprooted and killed in the South East and several other states in the country.

“MACBAN does not see any gain in this kind of profligate enterprise that adds no value to the millions of our members who are wallowing in poverty as a result of banditry, cattle rustling and the dastardly activities of self- appointed vigilantes who for all intent and purpose are committed to executing genocide,” Ngelzarma said.

Lawan, Sylva, Ayade pick forms for presidency

Daily Trust reports that there was a mad rush by aspirants seeking various offices on the platform of the APC yesterday as today marks the deadline for the sale of forms.

Senate President Ahmed Lawan; Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva and Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, all picked their forms yesterday by proxy.

A member of the APC National Caucus, Chief Sam Nkire, who was one of those who picked the forms for the Senate president, said the issue of zoning is an internal affair of the party and should not be exaggerated by the media. Also, a group called the Good People of Nigeria said they have bought the N100m forms for Sylva.

Speaking at the presentation of the forms in front of the NNPC Towers in Abuja, the leader of the group, Alhaji Mohammed Abu Abaji said the group has been closely monitoring the works of the minister in controlling the petroleum resources of Nigeria and believes that he is the right person to take over from President Buhari, given his experience.

Responding, Sylva received the forms and lauded the group as he expressed shock that they could go to that extent to obtain the forms for him. The minister, however, said he would not confirm his acceptance of the forms as he needs to consult with his constituency, the leadership of the country and the leadership of the Ijaw Nation before making his decision to contest the election known to the group.

Our correspondents report that many governorship, senatorial and House of Representatives aspirants had thronged the International Conference Centre (ICC) in Abuja, to pick their expression of interest and nomination forms.

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