John Alechenu, Abuja
Supporters of former President Goodluck Jonathan, under the aegis of the Youths Network for Nigeria Union, have given the former President, a seven day ultimatum within which to join the All Progressives Congress and declare a bid for the 2023 Presidency or be prepared to have his private office picketed by its over 20,000 members.
The group gave the ultimatum at a rally held in Suleja, Niger State, on Wednesday. It said the ultimatum would take effect a day after the Sallah holidays. Members of the group threatened to occupy Jonathan’s office should he fail to accede to their demand.
Chairman of the group, Ibrahim Saiki who spoke to journalists after the event said, “You may recall that on Friday, 22nd April, 2023, we led over 7,500 members of our Network to ‘a private meeting’ with former President Goodluck Jonathan, urging him to contest the 2023 presidential election.
“While responding to our plea, former President Jonathan urged the youths of Nigeria to get more involved in politics and asked us to “watch out” his next move.
“Since then, the media space has been awash with reactions to ex-President Jonathan’s comments, with several persons giving different interpretations. To us in YNNU, what Nigeria needs at this period of our national life is a unifier. That unifier is President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
“To this end, we have been mandated to, most respectfully, urge President Goodluck Jonathan to immediately progress to pick a membership form of the All-Progressives Congress, APC, from his ward in Otuoke, Bayelsa State, within seven days after Ramadan.”
While issuing the ultimatum Saiki said, “If at the end of seven days after Ramadan, President Goodluck Jonathan remains undecided, we shall most respectfully repeat our visit to his office for a Second meeting with President Jonathan. It should be noted that over 20,000 of our more than 500,000-strong members across the nation have expressed the unreserved desire to participate and encamp at ex-President Jonathan’s private office, and we shall remain there for as long as it may take for him to decide.
“In furtherance of our position, we have written President Goodluck Jonathan a letter to this effect, which was acknowledged and received by his office yesterday, April 26th, 2023.
“We earnestly hope that President Goodluck Jonathan fully understands that our future depends on his decision. Therefore, we do not intend to relent in our pursuit of the true desire of Nigerians at this time- which only him can anchor.”
Some of the placards displayed at the rally read; ‘Jonathan you are wasting our time’, ‘Maigidan Goodluck Jonathan, our destiny in your hand’, ‘President Jonathan declare for President Now’, ‘Goodluck Jonathan You must run’, ‘We don’t care about party, any party is Ok’, ‘Jonathan run under APC Now’ etc.
In his remarks, the secretary of the group, Jonathan Akumobi and Women Leader, Mrs. Ozi-Bello Sadiq said the series of protests were designed to let the former President know the urgency attached to their request.
Akumobi, said, “Goodluck Jonathan is a custodian of freedom of speech, he is a man with good heart. When he was the president the economy was good, the youths were employed and Nigeria was in the right direction, that is why we are urging him to run.”
Recall that the group had last Friday stormed the Ex-President’s private office, located in highbrow Maitama, Abuja to demand that he joins the 2023 Presidential race. In response Jonathan who was none committal because according to him, the political process was still “ongoing.”