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By Celestine Okafor (Editor-in-Chief)

A Chieftain of the All Progressives Party (APC) in Rivers State, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, has said the pressure on former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to run for the 2023 Presidential race which is expectedly the turn of the Southern Nigeria based on zoning agreement, was an orchestrated ploy to destroy him politically.

According to Eze, it "smacks of deceit" for anyone or group to contemplate the re-emergence of Dr. Jonathan as Nigerian President in 2023.

In a statement on Thursday September 16, 2023, Eze argues that the alleged scheme to draft Jonathan into the Presidential race is a "trick packaged by some Northern leaders in order for Jonathan to be President for one term which would be the completion of the four years remaining of his tenure and they will re-take power in 2027 thereby denying the Southern part of Nigeria a complete term of eight years".

Eze further claims that the North "knowing that with President Buhari successfully completing his second term by 2023, the South, in all honesty and fairness will produce the next President. And so to truncate a southern eight-year rule, they intend to feature Jonathan who would reign only for four years thus, throwing the 2027 Presidential election open for a fresh zoning arrangement and contest favourably to the North".

Eze however urged "all Nigerians to speak up and condemn such an act that may plunge this nation into unprecedented chaos". He said he is consoled by the fact that "Jonathan has rejected such a devious plot. I therefore Commend him for his foresight, sagacity and wisdom by rejecting the bite of the Northern Presidency sour bait.

"This is a deadly trick to deny the South her two terms after the two terms of the North through President Buhari. This Plot is an unacceptable insult on both Jonathan and the entire southern political class as if we lack credible political leaders from the South that can turn the fortunes of this country around".

Chief Eze who was the Publicity Secretary of the defunct new PDP, however said it is "imperative to commend Dr. Jonathan for reading through the deceit and trashing the dishonest entreaty and ensuring that his political feats and present status as a great promoter of democracy is not ruined or tarnished.

“I am very glad that Dr. Jonathan has done his best to keep undemocratic forces at bay who are hell bent on denying the South the chance to preside over the affairs of this country according to the terms of power rotation between the North and South, not minding that the Northerners have through the military and Democratic dispensation, governed this country longer than the South.

"Funny and sad enough, the same forces at play unfortunately ensured that Dr. Jonathan was not re-elected in 2015. They are the same people doing everything to lure him back to power just to finish whatever was left of him politically.

"In as much as I am not a supporter or sympathizer of Dr. Jonathan and his type of politics, I will not encourage any arrangement that might ruin whatever was left of his political integrity.

"Luring him to contest the 2023 appears to be a careful ploy to portray the Southerners as lacking better and credible leaders to improve on the fortunes of the country.”

Eze also commended Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State for "insisting that he will not support Dr. Jonathan if he decides to contest the 2023 general election, not minding that he was instrumental to his emergence as Governor of Rivers State.

"If Wike, who Jonathan did everything to impose on the good people of Rivers State could reject him, I am convinced that if he succeeds in allowing himself to be fooled by those luring him, the worse political defeat awaits him come 2023.

"Jonathan should continually read in between the lines and avoid the deadly bait that will make both the North and Southern politicians to deride him further. The former President should not allow any situation that will cause division and tension in the country because of his come back plot.

"His voluntary concession of power in 2015 has earned him the status of an International figure and he shouldn't allow himself to be rubbished and reduced to a local politician by those who don't mean well for the unity of this country.

"Dr. Jonathan while in Mali, urged the Malian transitional government to hasten the process of developing an electoral framework and the establishment of the priority actions needed to be taken in order to hold the presidential and legislative elections as scheduled for February 2022". NNL.

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