Former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, a new found ally of President Muhammadu Buhari, has changed his mind and joined 26 other aspirants in the fight for the ruling All Progressives Congress’s ticket in next year’s presidential election.
President Buhari ousted Dr Jonathan, then a candidate for the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015. Now Jonathan has decamped to the party he lost to, ending speculations about his political future. Sources told Africa Review that the former president formally joined the APC after registering at his Otuoke Ward in Bayelsa.
The defection came hours after a coalition of northern socio-cultural groups, composed mainly of Fulani people, paid N100 million ($240,700) to obtain the presidential expression of interest form from the ruling party.
Last week, President Buhari ordered all Cabinet ministers and other political appointees with political ambitions in the 2023 election to resign by latest May 16, 2022.
The other notable aspirants are Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the national leader of the ruling party; the current Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and more than 13 Cabinet ministers and sitting governors.
Prospecting candidates outside mainstream government are the current governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria Godwin Emefiele. The bank is incidentally the repository of electoral materials.
The parties to beat in the 2023 general election are the ruling party and the PDP, the latter having already screened 17 aspirants and gave the nod to 15 to continue to the primaries.
PDP’s frontline aspirants are the former vice president Atiku Abubakar, former Senate president Bukola Sarak, current governor of Sokoto state Aminu Tambuwa, ex-Anambra state governor Peter Obi and current governor of Rivers state Nysom Wike.
The announcement for resignation of all aspiring candidates was made by minister for Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, after the meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by the President at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on May 11, 2022 in Abuja. More than six ministers, have in less than 24 hours after the directive, resigned.
The position of the president, which does affect all present serving elected officers, is derived from the provisions of the 1999 constitution.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has released the election time table, covering presidential, governorship and National Assembly as well as that of state governors.
INEC has issued a deadline of June 4, 2022 for all the parties to submit the list of presidential candidates that emerged after their primaries.
According to the Electoral Act 2022 as Amended, political parties have three options in conducting their primaries – direct tickets, indirect ticket through ballot and consensus.
INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, assured last week that he would ensure that the elections will continue to get better, freer, fairer, more credible and more inclusive.
Meanwhile, as the screening of aspirants continues, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has indicated it should be involved in the process by conducting drug test for all the aspirants.
NDLEA’s chairman Buba Marwa, has written to all the political parties for the consideration of the request to take part in the screening.
“We have advocated and will continue to advocate that drug test be conducted for politicians. I recommended that drug tests be incorporated in the screening process.
“I think given the rampant use of drugs by some public officials, it is good if we are able to test them and know how mentally, physically fit they are.” he said.
The presidential and National Assembly elections are scheduled for February 2023.