2015: Jonathan may de­clare in May

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - By Nu­rud­deen M. Ab­dal­lah & Isi­aka Wak­ili

Pres­i­dent Good­luck Jonathan may have fi­nally de­cided to de­clare his relec­tion bid in May, a source in his sup­port­ers’ groups told Daily Trust.

“The pres­i­dent will make a for­mal dec­la­ra­tion in May,” the source said at the weekend.

He said sev­eral dates had ear­lier been sched­uled for the dec­la­ra­tion but they were shelved for cer­tain rea­sons.

He said the dec­la­ra­tion was in­tially sched­uled for Fe­bru­ary, then shifted to March and then April.

Daily Trust learnt that one of the key causes for the de­lay is fear of court cases over Jonathan’s el­i­gi­bil­ity.

Re­cently, a court struck out a case chal­len­ing the pres­i­dent’s el­i­gi­bil­ity for the 2015 pres­i­den­tial race on the grounds that he has not de­clared if he would run.

The Jonathan team be­lieves that as soon as he de­clares, it is likely that his chal­lengers will go back to the courts to try to stop him.

“That is why the dec­la­ra­tion is be­ing pushed fur­ther to­wards the pri­maries,” the sup­port­ers’ group of­fi­cial said.

Based on the elec­tions timetable, the par­ties are ex­pected to con­duct their pres­i­den­tial pri­maries later in the year.

Jonathan had said sev­er­ally that he was await­ing the elec­tions timetable from the In­de­pen­dent Na­tional Elec­toral Com­mi­si­son be­fore stat­ing whether he would run or not.

Late in Jan­uary, INEC re­leased the timetable, fix­ing pres­i­den­tial and Na­tional As­sem­bly elec­tions for Fe­bru­ary 14, and gov­er­nor­ship and state as­sem­blies’ elec­tions on Fe­bru­ary 28.

Daily Trust ob­served that there are many bill­boards of Jonathan be­ing erected by his sup­port­ers es­pe­cially in Abuja, specif­i­cally ask­ing Nige­ri­ans to “vote for Jonathan” un­like be­fore where such bill­boards were not that cat­e­gor­i­cal.

One of the pres­i­dent’s sup­port­ers groups has also called a stay-at-Ea­gle-Square on April 30 un­til Jonathan de­clares.

When con­tacted on if the pres­i­dent would de­clare in May, pres­i­den­tial po­lit­i­cal ad­viser Ahmed Gu­lak said: “I am not aware that Mr Pres­i­dent will de­clare his in­ten­tion for 2015 elec­tions in May. I can­not con­firm that to you.

“Dec­la­ra­tion (for sec­ond term) is not on the mind of Mr. pres­i­dent for now. What Mr Pres­i­dent is fo­cused on, right now, is se­cu­rity mat­ters. He wants to con­tinue to do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to re­duce in­se­cu­rity to the barest min­i­mum.

“Mr Pres­i­dent is also fo­cused on how to deliver ser­vices to the people of Nigeria.”

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