Apparently, to set the stage for the formal declaration of his second term bid, President Goodluck Jonathan and his ruling Peoples Democratic Party have concluded plans to hold a rally on October 19 in Abuja. Tagged a five million-man march, the event is intended as a showcase for the achievements of the president’s transformation agenda.
The rally will be followed by a two million-man march in each of the six geopolitical zones of the country and three million-man marches in selected cities.
THISDAY learnt that the rallies, which are, allegedly, being coordinated by one Chief Obi Aguocha, a Presidency official, would herald Jonathan’s formal declaration of his intention to seek a second term.
The 20 million-man march tagged, “National Solidarity March,” is being packaged by the Presidency and PDP to showcase the major achievements of the president since February 9, 2010, when he first assumed the presidential seat as Acting President via the Doctrine of Necessity approved by the National Assembly. Jonathan became substantive president on May 6, 2010 and he was subsequently sworn in as elected president on May 29, 2011 after winning the 2011 presidential election.
According to a source in the Presidency, the purpose of the rallies is, “First, to kick start his campaigns, where he will tell Nigerians of his decision to contest for a second term in office at the 2015 presidential election.
“The national solidarity march is to showcase the achievements of thepresident, especially the transformation agenda, and use the march as a deliberate policy to activate his support base at the grassroots.
“It is expected that the successful national solidarity marches in Abuja, the six geopolitical zones, and selected commercial cities will make it easier for President Jonathan to come out gracefully to announce his second term ambition.
“Also, the national solidarity march is aimed to demonstrate the unity within the PDP as a political party and to state categorically that the PDP is solidly behind the administration of President Jonathan, and above all, to showcase the PDP as one united family in line with the motto and slogan of the million-man march, which is ‘one party, one family.’”
The source said all stakeholders in the Presidency and PDP were expected to participate in the national solidarity marches, stressing, “All PDP governors, ministers, principal officers of the national and state assemblies of the PDP-controlled states, and members of the national and state assemblies and all elected officials of the party at the local government levels are expected to participate.
“The national solidarity march would have taken place before the October 19 date, but it was moved forward to enable the reconciliation of the aggrieved governors and other members to take place.
The date slated for the final reconciliation is October 7 and thereafter, if nothing meaningful was reached, then everybody will go his way.
“By October 7, it is expected that the PDP would have been one united family, hence the national solidarity march is for peace and one indivisible united Nigeria.”
The banners and advertorials for the event, which are expected to start running from Monday in some newspapers, bear captions such as: “The National Solidarity Match: In Solidarity for Peace, Unity and Indivisibility of Nigeria. In solidarity for oneness of PDP. In recognition of the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.”
Jonathan’s second term ambition is at the core of the current divisions within the ruling party. He had said he would only announce by next year whether or not he would contest the 2015 presidential election. But his political ambition that is supposed to be secret is in actual fact widely known, as antecedent events and his body language continue to betray his excitement at the idea of seeking another term.
Jonathan’s declaration for the 2011 presidential election had also been masked in a vague proposal. It had remained an open secret that he would contest the poll until September 15, 2010, when he officially declared his intention to run for the office of the President in the 2011 election via his Facebook page.
That seeming haste was seen as an attempt to prevent former military president Ibrahim Babangida, who was also due to declare his presidential ambition, from stealing the limelight.
Now, amid objections in some quarters to his participation in the 2015 presidential election, Jonathan has consistently said he has the right to contest, without saying whether or not he would run.