Thursday, September 18, 2014 6:32 am
State governors from Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s ruling party on Wednesday said they would back his bid to run for a second term, in a strong indication that he will stand for re-election.
Jonathan has not yet announced whether he will seek office for another four years and the issue has divided his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), leading to the defection of a number of governors and lawmakers to the main opposition.
Governors from the Muslim-majority north who switched sides to the All Progressives Congress (APC) late last year claimed that Jonathan, a southern Christian from Bayelsa state, reneged on an agreement to serve only one four-year term.
Jonathan won the last election in 2011, a year after stepping up from vice-president following the death of Umaru Yar’Adua.
The chairman of the PDP governors’ forum, Godswill Akpabio, from southern Akwa Ibom state, and a fanatical Jonathan backer said after a meeting in Abuja that the body “endorses President Goodluck Jonathan for a second term of office” and pledged him their support.
“The PDP governors’ forum urges all PDP faithful across the country to support this decision and this gesture, which we believe will enable Mr President to become the sole Presidential candidate of our great party come 2015 elections,” he added.
Sule Lamido, governor of the northern state of Jigawa, who has expressed interest in the job, was not part of the meeting. His deputy was however present at the meeting. It was not clear whether he represented him.
Presidential and gubernatorial elections are to be held on February 14 next year and the PDP is due to hold a National Executive Council meeting on Thursday to approve dates for party primaries.
So far, no high-profile PDP candidate has thrown his hat into the ring but former vice-president Atiku Abubakar has said he will seek the APC presidential ticket after two previous failed bids in 2007 and 2011.