Jonathan’s backers seek adoption, southern APC aspirants disagree

Jonathan’s backers seek adoption, southern APC aspirants disagree
Our Reporters
11 May 2022
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Some All Progressives Congress leaders have stepped up moves to adopt former President Goodluck Jonathan as the party’s consensus presidential candidate in 2023.

The PUNCH on Tuesday learnt the moves formed part of the discussions between the former President and the APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, in Abuja on Monday night.

It was gathered that already, the party leaders, including two northern governors, had reached out to other members of the National Working Committee to ensure the adoption of Jonathan as the consensus candidate.

But it was learnt that the moves by the former President and his supporters had generated a groundswell of anger from other contestants, who felt the plan would amount to injustice if it sailed through.

The ex-president and his backers were demanding that he should be adopted as the consensus candidate without going through indirect or direct primaries.

Sunday PUNCH on April 23 reported that Jonathan had given some conditions for his backers in the APC before he could join the party’s presidential race.

According to the report, the former President is seeking an open endorsement of his presidential ambition by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

Jonathan is also insisting that he should be saved the rigour of facing founding APC members including the national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo; former Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha and the Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, during the party’s presidential primaries.

A source, who was privy to the meeting between Jonathan and Adamu on Monday night said the ex-President had signified interest to join the APC presidential race.

The source stated, “He fears the backlash and the opposition he will meet from members who are already in the race. He is still insisting on consensus so that he will not face the rigour of indirect primaries.

“Already, his backers, including the national chairman have started working on the consensus arrangement. They have reached out to the few presidential aspirants from the North who will readily step down for Jonathan.”

Another source said, “Jonathan’s meeting with the APC chairman went well. He sought the party leadership’s support for his candidacy and also demanded assurances that he would be exempted from the mandatory screening and other stringent conditions in the form.

“He would not be available for the screening because he won’t be in the country for two weeks as he is going to Dakar, Senegal for the ‘Dialogue on sustaining democratic principles in the ECOWAS sub-region organised by the West African Elders Forum.’

A group, the Nomadic Herders and Almajiris, had on Monday obtained the APC N100m nomination form for the ex-President.

But Jonathan, in a statement by his spokesman, Ikechukwu Eze, disowned the group, saying he did not authorise any organisation to obtain the form for him.

Commenting on the plan to draft Jonathan into the APC presidential race, the Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, said it would be difficult for the ruling party to campaign with Jonathan as its presidential candidate.

Umahi, who is also vying for the APC presidential ticket, said this shortly after he met with the President at the State House, Abuja, on a “Thank you” visit following last week’s visit to Ebonyi.

According to him, it will be difficult for the party to reconcile its policies and promises with those of the main opposition which brought Jonathan into power in 2011.

He stated, “We don’t forget people who have helped us, but on the question of joining, I may not say much about that because I’ve seen a lot of write-ups, denials, but if he decides to join and to run, it will, for me, become one of the wonders in this century.

“The reason is that if you go and see the campaign programmes of the APC and you now ask President Jonathan to come and run, I don’t know what will be our campaign promises and what will be the stories we’ll be telling Nigerians.

“I strongly believe that he was not aware of the forms and I want to believe that people that are mischievous would have bought the forms to embarrass him. But from what I read, he has quickly distanced himself from that. But as I said, if that is not the case, then the Guinness Book of Records is not totally filled up,” Umahi noted.

The governor also argued that the APC presidential ticket should be zoned to the South-East as he debunked the notion that the region was employing blackmail against the North.

The Ekiti State Coordinator, South West Agenda for Asiwaju Tinubu 2023, Senator Tony Adeniyi, in an interview with The PUNCH, said at Jonathan’s age and his level of education, he should not allow people to deceive him.

He asked, “Are those prompting him saying that the APC does not have people that can contest that they are calling on Jonathan who was ousted for his non-performance by the APC? Somebody who was described as clueless, what clue has he gotten now?

“We have a robust aspirant and candidate in Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who has shown that he is a strong force. He should just respect himself and go about doing whatever he is doing? What has he left in Aso Rock that he wants to come back for? If some people are pushing him for a single term, he should not be the scapegoat,” Adeniyi said.

It will be unfair – Pro-Osinbajo group

The Ekiti State Leader, Osinbajo Grassroots Organisation, Femi Adeleye, told The PUNCH that “it will be unfair if you come at the last minute and you are given such consideration, but if you see the primary format for the APC, there are guidelines that they will fill and sign, which shows that even if he comes in, he cannot be the candidate.”

APC can’t impose Jonathan — Group.

When asked if it won’t be an injustice to founding members of the APC if Jonathan was made the party’s conse

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