Hours after former president Goodluck Jonathan publicly rejected the All Progressive Congress’ presidential expression of interest and nomination forms, Secretary of the Fulani Group, Usman Mohammed, has vowed that Jonathan won’t leave the country without accepting it.
The group, which is an extraction of the nomadic Fulani and the Almajiri communities, stormed the International Conference Centre in Abuja on Monday evening to procure the forms.
The news of Jonathan purchasing APC presidential forms on Monday got Nigerians pondering if he was truly considering a return to Aso Rock on the platform of the ruling party.
Reacting swiftly to the report, the ex-Bayelsa deputy governor dissociated himself from the purported APC presidential form, which he described as an insult. He disclosed in a statement issued on Monday night by his spokesman, Ikechukwu Eze, that he didn’t authorise the purchase.
The statement read, “It has come to our notice that a group has purportedly purchased Presidential Nomination and Expression of Interest forms of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the name of former President Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
“We wish to categorically state that Dr. Jonathan was not aware of this bid and did not authorise it.
“We want to state that if the former President wanted to contest an election, he would make his intentions clear to the public and will not enter through the back door.
“Buying a presidential aspiration form in the name of Dr. Jonathan without his consent, knowing the position he had held in this country, is considered an insult to his person.”
But hours after Jonathan’s statement disassociating himself from the form, Mohammed told The PUNCH that the nomination was meant to be a surprise gift to the ECOWAS special envoy.
The Fulani Group secretary stated that if the ex-president turns down the nomination form as he threatened, they will be left with no option but to force him to accept it. “I believe you are aware of how we blocked his office in the FCT during our rallies in Kano, Suleja, Minna, and Abuja, and forced him to come out to address journalists. It is the same approach.
“If he doesn’t accept our form, we won’t let him out of Nigeria,” he said.
According to him, the Fulani pastoralists opted for the choice of Jonathan out of the almost 30 APC presidential candidates because of his patriotism and love for Nigeria. Mohammed explained that his people were compelled to sell their livestock to raise money for the nomination forms because of the development he brought into the Fulani and Almajiri schools.
“Jonathan is a Christian with a heart of Muslim. When he was president, he supported Almajiri schools, took care of our children, and fed them in many Northern States.
“The money for the nomination form was contributed by Fulani cattle rearers in the country. We saw some media reporting Miyetti Allah or Northern Youths. That’s not true.
“Besides, he is the most experienced of all the APC presidential candidates. None of the other candidates has ever been president of the country, including Tinubu.
“He is a man who loves Nigerians and loves other people’s children more than his own. We need him to continue with his Almajiri school project, especially in Kano where we have over three million of these students. None of them bought uniforms with their money,” he said.