President Goodluck Jonathan and the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party on Saturday refused to be part of the final rally organised by a pro-Jonathan group, the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria in Abuja.
The rally, which was the last to be held by the group, was aimed at persuading the President to run for the 2015 presidential election.
Political observers had thought that the President would use the opportunity to declare his intention to run, having been endorsed as the sole presidential candidate of the PDP.
Before now, the PDP had issued statements asking all officials of the party at all levels to attend any rally aimed at boosting and promoting the chances of the President in the 2015 election.
Vice President Namadi Sambo, who represented the President, however, told the gathering that his boss was attending other official duties.
He said the president popularity was not in doubt because of the numerous groups he said had been asking him to run for the presidency in 2015.
The Vice President was reacting to the claim by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Pius Anyim, that more than 17 million Nigerians had signed the register calling on the President to run.
Anyim at the rally, which was held at the Eagle Square, said that several groups, Non-Governmental Organisation and others had become more serious in getting the President to accept the call to contest the Presidential election next year.
He presented all the registers of the signatures collected across the country to Sambo for onward submission to the President, whom he noted would soon make his response known to Nigerians on the demand that he contests the election in 2015.
While receiving the registers, Sambo said, “The signatures represent the confidence Nigerians had in the administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
“They also show the President acceptability and popularity across the country. It is good that Nigerians appreciate the efforts of Mr. President in the areas of education, aviation, agriculture, security, roads and many others.
“The increase in the number of groups asking the President to run is because of his acceptability and popularity which cut across party divide.”
In his speech, the Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum who is also the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Godswill Akpabio, said the achievements recorded by the Jonathan administration, despite the huge security challenges, were key factors that shaped the decision of PDP governors to endorse Jonathan as the sole candidate even before that endorsement was adopted by the PDP National Executive Committee.
Other governors present at the rally included those of Kaduna, Bayelsa, Adamawa and Taraba states.
Speaking for the South-East zone, the Minister of Aviation, Mr. Osita Chidioka, said the zone remained the home of the President, who he said had practically ended the civil war in Nigeria by appointing Nigerians of Igbo extraction into key government positions and building an international airport in Enugu.
By Edos News