President Goodluck Jonathan will have to wait till at least August before declaring his bid for second term in office, TheCable understands.
Highly placed Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) officials said the original plan was that the president would declare this month after the mini-convention of the party.
The convention is meant to ratify the choice of Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu as the national chairman of the PDP.
Mu’azu replaced Alhaji Bamanga Tukur as the chairman of the PDP in January after a tumultuous period leading to the exit of five governors and several lawmakers from the party.
“Under the initial plan, the convention was scheduled for this weekend, but because of some currents in the polity, it doesn’t look like it will hold this month at all,” one official said.
Another official told TheCable that the president was to declare a few weeks after the convention.
“Since the convention is not holding this month, it cannot hold in July because that is when the Ramadan fasting will start. Ramadan is the holiest month in Islam, as you know. It is not the best time to hold any major political event,” he said.
That leaves August as the most likely date for the mini-convention, after which Jonathan will officially announce his intention to seek a second term.
Officials of the party are worried about the electoral calendar.
“If campaign starts in November, as stipulated by INEC, and election holds in February, it is going to be pretty tight. Remember also that there will still be a national convention for the PDP presidential primary. There will be a nationwide campaign tour. It is going to be very tight,” one of the officials said.
Jonathan was first elected president in 2011, having served out the term of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua who died in May 2010.
The president is not expected to face internal challenge in the PDP for the party’s ticket, but legal actions are likely to be brought against him to determine if he will be seeking a second or third term in office.
The constitution only allows a maximum of two terms in office, but some of his opponents are saying he has already been sworn in twice as president and a third swearing-in will amount to a third term in office.
The president’s lawyers have countered the argument, saying the constitutional provision is for elections, not swearing-in.
They also argue that a constitutional term is four years, and the one-year period between 2010 and 2011 cannot amount to a term in office.
The president’s biggest challenge will be the All Progressives Party (APC) which is made up of the strongest opposition figures in the country.