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2023: Eyes on Jonathan as rumours of Aso Rock return intensify

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When the news first broke out that former president Goodluck Jonathan might be considering a return to Aso Rock, one would naturally dismiss such claim as a mere beer parlour gossip. The reason isn’t far-fetched. Since his ‘honourable’ departure from the seat of power in 2015, the Otueke-born zoologist-turned-politician has kept a low profile, save for his once-in-a-while statements on national issues largely due to his position as an ECOWAS envoy.

Jonathan, judging by his luck-filled political journey, to any keen observer, doesn’t embody the desperation that defines the regular Nigerian politician. This is a man who once publicly declared that his ambition isn’t worth the blood of any Nigerian.

However, his recent frequent visits to Aso Villa to meet his successor, President Muhammadu Buhari, have caused some eyebrows to raise as to whether he is truly interested in becoming Nigeria’s president for a second time. This comes amid widespread speculations over his flirtation with some bigwigs of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), which the ex-president is said to adopting as the platform for his rumoured return to the seat of power. Jonathan, interestingly, has maintained silence over the talks.

Whether it happens or not, a Jonathan candidature is certainly a subject of interest, and no doubt brings to the front burner of national discourse, a number of critical issues. With about 17 months left to the end of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, Nigerians are anxious to see a new leader take charge of the nation’s affairs amid rising spate of insecurity, endemic poverty, economic meltdown, among other burning matters of national concern.

However, analysts wonder what the notion of Jonathan’s return to Aso Villa will bring forth to Nigeria. While some say his ambition is a well orchestrated plan for the North to retain power since he’d only spend four years and make way for another Northerner successor, others believe that the former president might be doing himself more harm than good. That said, his candidature might hurt the chances of the ‘marginalised’ Southeast region to produce a Nigerian president since the return to democracy in 1999. Not to talk of the several clamours by the Southwest to have one of their own succeed President Muhammadu Buhari — with the National Leader of the APC and former Lagos governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu topping the list of favourites.

As intense politicking and serious political permutations remain underway ahead of the 2023 general polls, Nigerians are hoping to elect a better president to heal the already bleeding nation.

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