Former President, Goodluck Jonathan, has completely distanced himself from the N100 million (One hundred million naira), 2023 Presidential expression of interest and nomination forms under the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, purchased in his name by a group of cattle breeders, saying “I did not authorize anybody to buy Presidential nomination forms for me”.
A statement by Ikechukwu Eze, media adviser to the Mr. Jonathan, on Monday night, May 9, 2022, confirmed that the former president was not aware of the moves made by the cattle dealers and never authorised the group to embark on such on his behalf ahead of the 2023 general election.
The statement reads: “It has come to our notice that a group has purportedly purchased Presidential Nomination and Expression of Interest forms, of the All Progressives Congress APC, in the name of former President Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
“We wish to categorically state that Dr. Jonathan was not aware of this bid and did not authorize it.
“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.
“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.
“Buying a presidential aspiration form in the name Dr. Jonathan without his consent, knowing the position he had held in this country, is considered an insult to his person. The general public is therefore advised to disregard it,” the statement said.
It has also been reported that former president Goodluck Jonathan visited the APC national chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu at his residence in Abuja, on the same Monday evening, a few hours after the ‘FulaniAlmajiri Group’ purchased the All Progressives Congress (APC) N100 million nominations and expression of interest forms for him to run for the presidency in 2023.
Although details of the meeting was not made public, it is generally believed that the meeting may not be unconnected with the speculated presidential bid of former president Goodluck Jonathan, especially since it has been claimed by a Presidency spokesperson that he is now a registered member of the All Progressives Congress APC; a claim which has however been swiftly debunked by the APC Bayelsa Chairman, Chief Denis Otiotio, who confirmed that former president Goodluck Jonathan has not joined the APC from PDP.
Recall that a group, the Association of Fulani-Almajir had, on Monday night, May 9, 2022, obtained the N100 million All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential forms for former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The group said they paid the exorbitant price of the forms with funds raised from the sales of cows to ensure Jonathan whom they described as the best president for Nigeria to return to Aso Rock in 2023.
Addressing journalists shortly after collecting the expression of interest and nomination forms at the Abuja International Conference Centre, Ibrahim Abdullahi, leader of the group said Jonathan was the first president since the independence of Nigeria who was magnanimous to them.
He said: “Remember the almajari community, he brought a comprehensive policy of reformation and intergretion of the almajari 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 was the Fulani community, the nomadic pasturalist.”
Abdullahi noted that Jonathan had set aside N60 billions in the Central Bank of Nigeria which was to be used to develop livestocks in Nigeria, saying if government had continued with that programme “today, we will have been the Denmark, the Sweden, the Holland of the entire Africa in terms of livestock, in terms of beef and so on.
“Looking at this, situation and of course the problems Nigeria today is facing, we believe that only a leader with that kind of patriotism, a leader with that kind of fairness who is ready to give every Nigerian sense of belonging can be able to rule this country and that leader is Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
“As you may have heard, a lot of interest groups have been coming out to urge him to contest but we felt that because is the deadline that was given whether he agrees or not we need to purchase this form. Goodluck Jonathan is for all Nigeria. As a Nigerian we believe has 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 Fulani selling our cows. We were able to raise this cow just yesterday and we decided to come and purchase these forms. Let Nigerians support this project. If you are talking about Goodluck Jonathan, I don’t think there is any aspirant so far that we have seen that can be compared in any way with Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
“Unless if Nigerians are not serious, unless if we don’t want to integrate and unite in this country, unless if you want to continue playing the politics of religion, tribalism. You see I am a Fulani man, coming from the far north but I tell there is no Nigerian today that I can cast my vote for, campaign vote except Jonathan. For me, Jonathan is the best amongst all the aspirants, irrespective of where he comes from, religion.
“Goodluck Jonathan is the best president for Nigeria and I hope with this purchase of forms today, I call on all the aspirants if the are really patriotic, if the want Nigeria unity, if they can want sense of belonging if they want a president for all, if they want a president that has come out to say his ambition does not worth the blood of any Nigerian” he concluded, indicating that the former president is an All Progressives Congress party member.
Meanwhile and in a related development, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has reportedly dissociated itself from the Fulani Group that purchased APC Presidential Expression of interest and nomination forms for former president, Goodluck Jonathan.
MACBAN in a swift reaction to the action by the Fulani groups widely publicised purpoted endorsement of GEJ ahead the 2023 election, signed Abdulbasid Bonga, Protem National Secretary of Concerned Registered Members of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), made available to newsmen in Kaduna on Monday night, said they are not “party to the charade”.
“This Fulani group led by one Ibrahim Abdullahi from Kaduna is not a member of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), neither is he a member of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore Fulani Socio-Cultural Association,” the statement said.
Describing Ibrahim Abdullahi, as a factional National Secretary of Gan Allah Fulani Development Association, (GAFDAN), Miyetti Allah’s statement said:
“He did this on his own, not under the Fulani communities or Association Nigeria. We the entire registered members and officials of Fulani Association including all the stakeholders dissociate ourselves from this move,” it added.
The group pointed out that although, they don’t have anything against GEJ, but it is their collective decision not to endorse or purchase any nomination forms to “ASPIRANTS” in Nigeria.
“What we are after is the unity, integration and harmony between the Fulani communities and the farming communities, while expecting the security agencies to deal with bandits and criminals at all nooks and corners of our thick forests,” it added.
The group however, appealed to its members across the country to remain law abiding and should not allow themselves to be used as agents of provocateurs, even as it reminded all that MACBAN remains apolitical and non partisan.