2015: Jonathan’s Move to Enlist Obasanjo’s Support Suffers Another Setback
The last-minute efforts by President Goodluck Jonathan to elicit the support of former president Olusegun Obasanjo ahead of the race suffered another set-back as the former leader insisted that President Jonathan should stay out of the presidential contest.
It was learnt that, at a meeting which took place in Lagos on Sunday at the instance of President Jonathan while he was returning from Paris, France, after attending a security summit on Africa, the two leaders were said to have discussed the insecurity situation in the country as well as President Jonathan’s alleged second-term ambition.
Obasanjo, our source said, insisted that Jonathan should rather “build national consensus” by first reconciling all leaders of the ruling PDP just as he stood his ground that the president should make sacrifice to save the party by not running in 2015.
This development may also have necessitated the decision of the President to Postpone the planned declaration of his 2015 ambition earlier scheduled for May, throwing up palpable anxiety among the political associates of the president.
It was learnt that, in a subtly controlled manner, the presidency has also directed all pseudo-campaign organisations to carry on their activities with less fanfare and visibility for obvious reasons.
But the umbrella body of all such campaign outfits, the Goodluck Jonathan Support Group (GJSG) hitherto led by the sacked political adviser, Ahmed Ali Gulak, has denied receiving such a directive.
This is even as the PDP has dismissed the report. The party said it was deliberate on its part to whittle down political activities in the face of the incessant insurgents’ attacks in the northern region.
The development, understandably interpreted in some quarters within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to mean a tactical withdrawal from the 2015 race by President Jonathan, has raised fresh fears as well as new permutations.
According to a chieftain of the ruling party, the president told a delegation of some of his field men that visited him to fix a date for the declaration to “hold on”.
“From all indications, issues keep on coming up every day as we march ahead of 2015; the unfortunate thing is that insurgency has taken the shine off political activities.
“As it is now, no one can tell whether the president will run or not because he has continued to tell field men to hold on even when the earlier May date fixed for his formal declaration has lapsed.”
Asked whether he was convinced that the president would run in 2015, the source said the situation was uncertain. He said: “The situation is still unclear; it’s fluid, I can tell you; because, from all indications, party men are already engrossed with a series of calculations as if the situation has finally dissected itself.”
According to him, even though it has not been formally discussed in official circles, there are fears over the insistence of Obasanjo that President Jonathan should not run in 2015.
As a result, some party stalwarts are said to be mulling fresh permutations in case the president heeded the advice of Obasanjo not to run.
Fresh on the cards, according to a source, was to draft either of the governors of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, or his Katsina counterpart, Shehu Shema, into the race with a south-western running mate for the presidential contest in 2015.
As the GJSG denied being stopped from heightening campaigns, the PDP admitted that it scaled down political activities to respect the feelings of those who have lost dear ones in the series of attacks.
Acting national coordinator of the GJSP Dr Eddy Eniola Olafeso said it was a mere rumour. “It is untrue that we have been stopped; all I can tell you is that we have identified with the achievements of the president and we are disseminating the gospel to those who need to know.”
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