2023: APC, S’East Group Speak As Drumbeat Over Jonathan’s Presidential Ambition Hits Rooftop

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…Would Ex-President Dump PDP?

  • MASSOB Cautions Jonathan Against Derailing S’East Chances

By Abiola Olawale

The All Progressives Congress (APC), has opened up on reports flying around that the party may favour former President Goodluck Jonathan as APC candidate for the 2023 presidential election.

Though Jonathan remains a rallying figure and ranking leader of the opposition’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP), reports making the rounds have alleged that some APC leaders are making moves to tip the scales to have the former President onboard the party ahead of the next general elections.

The recent visit by the Governor of Yobe State and the Chairman of the Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee of the APC, Mai Mala Buni, and some others APC chieftains, to Jonathan in Abuja on the occasion of his 63rd birthday has further helped to fuel the speculations in political circles.

The visit was believed to be political, as some had alleged it was part of a purported attempt to lure Jonathan into running for the 2023 general election under the APC as the argument for parties to zone presidential tickets to Southern Nigeria continues to gain traction.

Also, the rapprochement between him and his successor, President Muhammadu Buhari has got people talking. He has been frequenting the Aso Villa to update the President on his engagement as ECOWAS top envoy to crisis-ridden member-states in the bloc. Some have argued that perhaps, the visits were more about Jonathan’s political future.

However, APC Caretaker Chairman, Mala Buni has come out to knock off the rumours that his visit to Jonathan’s abode last November was politically undertoned.

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Speaking with BBC Hausa Service, Wednesday, Buni said: “Those peddling such information, they are afraid. But for now, there is nothing in the APC which has anything to do with the aspiration for 2023. Even if someone wants to base assumption on our recent visit to him during his birthday, we were there because of his capacity as a former President of Nigeria. Again, even if there is nothing, when we are talking of peaceful coexistence, we must give credit to former President Jonathan on the issue of peace. How he accepted defeat in 2015 and resigned to fate. That has qualified him to be a statesman and he is now among our fathers.

“There are numerous of such visits to leaders of PDP, APC, why are others not being mentioned, but Jonathan? Then who are we to say we are considering Jonathan? How? It has to be a party affair and once it is a party affair, then we are talking about the people. So we have nothing like that in our agenda. What we have now and is of importance to us, is to ensure peace amongst party members. Also, to bring members of other political parties, whichever party it might be, whoever wants, should come in to the APC. This is our plan for now. We are yet to start talking about aspirants, we are not in any discuss about aspirants.” Governor Buni added.

Notwithstanding, many political analysts and commentators keep weighing in on speculations bordering on Jonathan contesting in the 2023 elections.

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Following the speculations, Jonathan has done little to downplay the rumours in the media. While speaking on the 2023 presidential race, Jonathan said “It is too early to talk about that,” in a political response that leaves many to wonder if he has intention of contesting in 2023.

The New Diplomat learnt some groups have also been drumming support for Jonathan’s return to Aso Rock in 2023. Recently, Comrade Wisdom Ikuli, a pro-democracy advocate and a fellow kinsman of Jonathan who is from Ogbia Local Government Area of Baylesa State, has backed his fellow kinsman to contest in the 2023 presidential election. In his words, “Former President Goodluck Jonathan is very eligible to contest the forthcoming 2023 presidential election constitutionally, he is very eligible to contest.”

According to a top source in the APC, Goodluck Jonathan is being considered as 2023 presidential material in some circles “on the grounds that he enjoys large followership in the South East and South South geopolitical zones of the country. Also, it is believed that Jonathan, could serve as a bait for the Northerners to get back to power sooner than expected, as he can only stay in power for just one term following his past hold on power.”

Amid the uncertainties on Jonathan’s political future, some political analysts believe that the former President is ineligible to contest for the presidency again as a constitution amendment Act of 2017, which states that, “The act alters the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to disqualify a person who was sworn in as President or Governor to complete the term of an elected President or Governor from being elected to the same office for more than a single term”, may have disqualified him.

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Reacting to this developing scenario, the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, (MASSOB) alleged that some northern Governors and leaders are bent on derailing efforts to have a President of South East extraction in 2023, hence the attempt to throw up Jonathan.

MASSOB leader, Comrade Uchenna Madu in a statement on Wednesday urged all the political parties to zone their presidential ticket to the region, saying: “Former President Goodluck Jonathan and his Ijaw kinsmen should be wise enough to discern this subtle and hypocritical move of Arewa Governors. The Sultan of Sokoto, the Aso villa cabals, the frontline emirs, the Arewa opinion leaders and Islamic gurus both Nigerians and foreigners, are perfectly aware and systematically pushing for a Goodluck Jonathan one tenure administration.

“Their ultimate political aim is to sideline and frustrate the golden chances of Igbo man or Southeast zone to emerge as president of Nigeria.

“Former President Goodluck Jonathan and his Ijaw kinsmen should avoid and discard this destructive and political end of Ijaw ethnic nationality in Nigeria. The people of Southeast and the indigenous Igbo in South South region have always support the Ijaws, particularly on the presidency of Goodluck Jonathan during his political travails in the hands of Arewa leaders.”

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