Former President Goodluck Jonathan is currently weighing his options between remaining in his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), or decamping to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the 2023 presidential election, Daily Independent has gathered.
A very close associate of the former president who disclosed this to Daily Independent on Wednesday said he (Jonathan) is widely consulting and will “make a bold decision very soon on whether or not he will listen to the agitations of Nigerians who are yearning for his return”.
He, however, said it won’t be a surprise to him if Jonathan defects to the APC given the political ostracisation he has suffered in the hands of his party and the respect being accorded him in APC.
While recalling what happened during the November 2019 governorship election in Bayelsa State, he said many of the president’s kinsmen are already in APC, adding that the PDP government in the state led by Governor Duoye Diri is not making any efforts to bring them back to the PDP.
“I don’t know if he will join the APC. The ultimate decision is his. But as one of his close political associate, I won’t be surprised if he joins. There are two major political parties in Nigeria presently, APC and PDP, and if your interest is not met in one, you have constitutional right to move to another.
“No PDP member swears any oath to be a lifetime member of the party. That was why we have seen former national chairmen of the party such as Barnabas Gemade, Audu Ogbeh and Kawu Baraje left to join the APC. So, what is the big deal if a former president switches political party?
“Don’t forget what happened during the Bayelsa governorship election when the former president’s kinsmen defected to the APC. Political stalwarts like Chief Robert Enogha, Chief Claudius Enegesi, Chief Beimo Spiff and several others. So, the question is what is the mood of the former president’s kinsmen? These are factors to consider.”
Speaking further, he said Jonathan’s decision to contest will be primarily based on two factors. The first, according to him, will be which political party is ready to give him maximum support in getting the ticket and secondly, the party’s chances in winning the presidential election.
“If he will contest, it will be based on which political party will brighten his chances of getting the ticket. I don’t think he (Jonathan) has the financial war chest to contest presidential primary. I am sure that he will not be asking to be the sole aspirant but there even if there are 20 aspirants, there are ways things will be easier for you if they really wanted you.
“The second is which political party has acceptability among Nigerians and has a higher chance of winning the election. Like I said, I don’t know if he will contest, but I believe he will take a definite position in the coming days”, he said.
In recent times, there have been overtures by leaders of the APC to lure Jonathan into their fold. Recently, he was visited by some APC governors who allegedly persuaded him to join their fold and get the presidential ticket as it will be zoned to the Southern part of the country.
However, Mai Mala Buni, National Caretaker Chairman of the APC and Yobe State governor who led APC governors on the visit to Jonathan’s residence, said it was not in his party’s plan to field the former president for the 2023 presidency.
“You are talking of democracy and at the same time talking of giving him. Don’t forget even when President Buhari went to revalidate party membership in Daura, he said it is the people at the grassroots that will select leaders upwards; that no one should expect to be crowned from Abuja,” the Yobe governor said.
“This has shown that in APC now, it is from the lower level upwards. Not that people would be imposed from the top.
“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.”
Also, speaking on the issue, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Afenifere chieftain said he expected Jonathan to have come out in clear terms that he was not joining the APC or contesting the 2023 presidential election when it was first mentioned.
When asked to advise Jonathan, Adebanjo who said Jonathan should act according to his conscience, however, added that there is no need trying to smell a food one is not interested in eating.
“I have no advice to give him. If I will advise him, I will only tell him to act according to his conscience. He is knowledgeable and experienced enough to know what to do.
“For me to be preaching to Jonathan not to go to APC? Not me! Let him do it. I understood he has denied that it is not true but to me, I believe to delay so far is condemnable.
“Immediately, they suggested it, he should have come out strongly and rejected it. The Yorubas say what you don’t want to eat, don’t try to smell it. That is why I said today’s politicians are not focused. It is a matter of principle”, he said.
Source:- Independent Ng