By Ayo Fadimu
The ambition of former President Goodluck Jonathan to contest against President Muhammadu Buhari is unsettling some power-brokers at the presidency who are afraid that the third election between the two leaders may be won and lost by any of them.
The two men had met twice in presidential election. In 2011, Jonathan, who completed the tenure of the late former President Umar Yar Adua defeated Buhari, then of Congress for Progressive Change ( CPC), Nuhu Ribadu of Action Congress of Nigeria and former Kano State governor Ibrahim Shekarau of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP).
Jonathan scored 22,495,187 votes while Buhari had 12,214,853 votes
However in 2015, Buhari defeated Jonathan with 15,424,921 votes while Jonathan scored 12,853,162 votes
If Jonathan decides to contest, it will be the third time both men will confront each other during presidential elections.
Jonathan disclosed that he was under pressure to contest in the 2019 election. The former President said he was moved to tears, each time he saw people shouting, “GEJ, we want you back.”
“People come to me everyday saying they want me back. I’m always moved to tears whenever I go out and see the huge crowd shouting GEJ, we want you, even in the north.
“Instead of getting swollen headed, I actually reflect on my achievements and mistakes and feel humbled and feel very sober.
“I have never been a man of inordinate ambition. I’m a man of very modest means. I hardly travel because of the logistical costs. I’ve played my part and I have moved on.”
Asked what he would do if the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gives him its presidential ticket in 2019, he said: “Are you not aware that our party has zoned the presidency to the north, and the chairmanship to the south?
“Even Fayose that has declared his interest may face big challenges because of the decision of our party.”
It would be recalled that PDP had zoned the office of the President to the North and the position of the Vice President to the South East.
However, Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose from Southwest has indicated his interest to vie for presidency in 2019, thereby fuelling speculations that other aspirants who are not from the North, including Jonathan can also show interest in the plum job.
In the meantime, Nigerian NewsDirect gathered that the call on Jonathan to contest for presidency in 2019 may be a very daunting challenge for the President.
Jonathan is from South-south geo political zone of the country, five out of the six states in the region. In 2015, he got a total of 4,724, 725 votes in the South South while he scored 2, 464,906 votes in the South East.
Furthermore, Jonathan scored a total of 1821,406 votes in the Southwest. The whole votes he got in the north was three million, nine hundred and two thousand, one hundred and twenty five (3,902,125) votes.
However, a staunch supporter of Buhari who does not want to be quoted because he is not permitted to speak on behalf of the party said it would be disgraceful for Jonathan to contemplate contesting for presidency again despite all the allegation of corruption bedevilling his regime and his immediate family.
“If he knows what is good for him, he should just continue to rest and see all those clamouring for his return as sycophants who want to take their share of the loot he and his cronies amassed while in office”.
“On the chances of both men, Jonathan scored less than four million in all the nine northern states put together, President Buhari scored more than four million in just three northern states of Kano, Katsina and Kaduna,so where he is his chance? He asked.
The three northern states gave Buhari 4,377,200 votes.
“If we can defeat him with his incumbency factor, let him come again, we will defeat him again” he said.
A loyalist of former President Jonathan said that Jonathan’s presidential ambition will record significant success in the North regardless of his failure in 2015. According to him, failure of the party was as a result of poor intelligence network and influence of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. “It is better to wait for the outcome of the PDP convention, but I can tell you that ongoing reconciliation of the PDP leaders for a successful convention is the only factor awaiting the final acceptance of Jonathan’s plea by former President Obasanjo for his mistakes,” he explained.