President Goodluck Jonathan and PDP Chair Bamanga Tukur
By Saharareporters, New York
Although the president has not publicly announced his interest to contest in the next presidential election, there had been agitations by opposition parties and some members of the ruling party, who claimed that his body language and political developments across the country reveal his 'real interest'. For this reason, some strong members of the ruling PDP including governors had defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC), Nigeria's strongest opposition party, with an aim to wrest power from President Jonathan and the ruling party.
But, for the first time since the beginning of the crisis rocking the PDP, Mr. Tukur declared Thursday at a local event held in Abuja, Nigeria's capital city that the Nigerian leader has been chosen as the ruling party's presidential candidate for 2015. Urging party faithful not to be deterred by the exodus of some of its key members, the ruling party leader maintained that PDP remains insurmountable as the strongest and biggest party in Nigeria and Africa, according to Abuja-based local Leadership Newspaper on Friday.
"Don't be deterred by some people saying they are leaving the party. People leaving the party are individuals, not the party. It does not mean if they leave the party, the party leaves. No, the party remains. PDP is the only party in Nigeria that fields a candidate in every election that is held. Don't be deterred; don't be afraid, you are part of the ruling party," said the party leader who further tasked officials to play their roles wisely in making sure that Jonathan wins the 2015 election.
This declaration, may, however, evoke another round of controversy in the West African country.
Nigeria's former leader, Olusegun Obasanjo had written an acerbic 18-page letter, officially acknowledged by the presidency, to Jonathan, advising him to step down his interest in seeking re-election into office in 2015, based on a promise he (Jonathan) allegedly made in 2011 to him (Obasanjo), to governors, party stakeholders and Nigerians in general. "Up till two months ago, Mr. President, you told me that you have not told anybody that you would contest in 2015. I quickly pointed out to you that the signs and measures on the ground do not tally with your statement. You said the same to one other person who shared his observation with me. And only a fool would believe that statement you made to me judging by what is going on. I must say it is not ingenious. You may wish to pursue a more credible and more honorable path," Obasanjo wrote in his letter to Jonathan.
Just as the president continues to keep mum on his second term ambition, there seems to be no end in sight to the crises rocking Nigeria's ruling party for more than six months now.