After many months of suspense, President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday opened up on his intention to seek re-election during the 2015 presidential election.
All organs of the Peoples Democratic Party had before now endorsed the President as the party’s sole candidate for the election.
Groups such as the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria had also been campaigning for Jonathan by highlighting at rallies and through advertorials what they consider as his achievements.
Even though he had kept mum on the matter, his body language clearly showed that he had made up his mind to seek re-election.
Jonathan, who has already raised a 37-member declaration committee, will formally declare any day between November 7 and 15.
A reliable Presidency source, who pleaded anonymity told journalists in Abuja that Jonathan made his intention to contest known to the party leaders at a closed-door meeting in one of the guest houses inside the Presidential Villa.
The source said after thanking the party leadership for giving him the right of first refusal as far as the party’s presidential ticket was concerned, he told them that he had accepted the offer and was ready to run.
Jonathan was also quoted as telling the party leaders that he would come to the party headquarters to pick his nomination form before the October 30 deadline fixed by the party.
The source said, “President Jonathan today (Thursday) met with the leadership of the PDP and party leaders from the various zones of the country. He thanked them for giving him the right of first refusal as far as the party’s presidential ticket was concerned.
“The President told them that he had accepted their offer and he was interested in the presidential race.
“He told them that he will come and pick up his nomination form before the deadline stipulated by the party.”
The source added that following the declaration, the President announced the composition of a committee saddled with the responsibility of coming up with an elaborate declaration programme.
He said the committee chaired by a former Minister of Defence, Dr. Haliru Bello, was asked to work towards ensuring that the declaration held between November 7 and 15.
The committee, according to the source, has a former President of the Senate, Ken Nnamani, as the deputy chairman, and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Pius Anyim, as secretary.
Members of the committee include a governor from each of the six geopolitical zones of the country, four National Assembly members; four members of the Federal Executive Council; four PDP officials as well as eight party members and four others appointed on presidential discretion.
A breakdown of members according to zones showed that the South-South, the North-East and the North-Central have six representatives each while the South-East, the South-West and North-West have five representatives each. The Federal Capital Territory has one representative.
Apart from Bello, Nnamani and Anyim, Prof. Rufa’i Alkali, Julius Imagwe and Baraka Sani are members of the committee.
State governors representing the various zones are Liyel Imoke of Cross River State; Theodore Orji of Abia State, Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State, Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State, and Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State.
The National Assembly representatives are Hosea Agboola, Ahmed Makarfi, Bitrus Kaze and Salmas Badru.
Representatives of the Federal Executive Council are the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke; Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Abduljelili Adesiyan; Minister of Women Affairs, Hajiya Zainab Maina; and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Bala Mohammed.
Officials of the party in the committee are the Deputy National Chairman, Uche Secondus; Benue State chapter Chairman, Chief Emmanuel Agbo; National Woman Leader, Kema Chikwe; and the North-West Zonal Chairman, Ibrahim Kazaure.
Party member representatives include Stella Omu, Walid Jibirn, Ibrahim Bunu, Jolly Nyame, Aniete Okon, Peter Obi, Remi Adikwu-Bakare, A. B. Mamman and Abdullahi Maibasira.
Those appointed at the President’s discretion are Halima Alfa, Nimota Akanbi , Micah Jiba and Sam Ikon .
Shortly after that meeting, Jonathan also entered into a crucial meeting where a committee saddled with the responsibility of raising fund for the PDP presidential campaign was formed.
The committee has a former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, as the chairman.
Party chiefs who attended the meeting included the PDP National Chairman, Adamu Mu’azu; the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Tony Anenih, and the President of the Senate, David Mark.
The All Progressives Congress has however described Jonathan’s decision to seek re-election as an anti-climax.
Its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said it would have been news if the President had declared that he was not running.
Mohammed said, “This is an anti-climax. Of course, if the TAN have been going all around spending billions on television advertorials and campaign, all the governors have adopted him, the National Working Committee, said he is the only one. As far as we are concerned, it is an anti-climax. It would have been news only if he said he wasn’t running.”