Gyrating Jonathan and APC’s 2023 Presidential Gamble

Akanimo Sampson

Akanimo Sampson

Former President Goodluck Jonathan is busy gyrating with All Progressives Congress (APC), President Muhammadu Buhari’s ruling party that has been demonizing him and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) since 2015, all because of his seeming desperate bid to return to the Presidential Villa.

By popping in and dashing out of Aso Rock, and meeting APC stakeholders at will, Jonathan does not seem to be concern about the Igbo people of Eastern Nigeria, whose turn it is to take their tenancy at the villa if the rhetoric of ‘one Nigeria’ is to make any sense.

Some Nigerians were expecting Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan to bring his weight to bear in the clamour for Nigeria’s next president to come from the East. Instead of pursuing such a noble cause, all that is available in the open space about him, is meeting again with the ruling party’s National Chairman, Adamu Abdullahi, for perhaps, his adoption as the consensus presidential flag-bearer of APC.

The meeting between them was reportedly held before Jonathan met with Mamman Daura, the influential nephew of President Buhari. APC has fixed its special National Convention to elect its presidential candidate for Sunday.

The Punch reported that a source told it that the meeting between Jonathan and Adamu, took place at Jonathan’s Abuja home last week, and lasted for about four hours.

“The photo of Mamman Daura and Jonathan was taken in Jonathan’s house. It was actually Mammand Daura that went to visit Jonathan. Also, the national chairman visited Jonathan twice last week. He met Jonathan late in the evening and they spoke till about 1am. The visit was for about four hours.

“Discussions are still ongoing and that is why the APC is willing to allow Jonathan to face the screening even though he didn’t submit his form ahead of the deadline”, the source reportedly said.

According to another source, Jonathan is not willing to contest for APC presidential ticket against long-time members like Bola Tinubu, Ahmad Lawan, Yemi Osinbajo, Rotimi Amaechi and others. He said the former president will only join the race if he is assured of emerging the consensus candidate of the party.

“Jonathan is a newcomer in APC. He has no delegates of his own. You don’t expect him to be contesting openly against Bola Tinubu, Yemi Osinbajo and others. He will be setting himself up for defeat if he does that”, APC chieftain said.

As part of the Jonathan return bid to Aso Rock, a Northern coalition purchased the APC presidential nomination and expression of interest forms for him. The forms were purchased days after Jonathan had asked his supporters to “watch out,” when he was asked if he would contest.

Jonathan was also said to have joined the Bayelsa chapter of APC. Sources later told SaharaReporters that claims by the former president that he did not authorise the purchase of the multi-million-naira forms were far from the truth.

“Contrary to his denials, former President Goodluck Jonathan gave over N200 million to the governor of Jigawa, Mohammed Badaru, to purchase the APC nomination and expression of interest forms for him,” a source privy to the arrangement had told SaharaReporters.

It was learnt that the arrangement was for the Jigawa governor to buy one for Jonathan and one for himself, so as not to raise any suspicion that the former President was indeed interested in joining the presidential race.

Jonathan is expected to contest the ruling party’s ticket with the likes of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos; former Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi; Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello; former Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, among others.

Though delegates of the ruling party are expected to pick a presidential candidate between May 29th and 30th, sources said the cabal is insisting on a consensus arrangement.

The consensus method will entail President Buhari anointing one of the aspirants, while the others simply step down for the aspirant as was done during the March 26 national convention of the APC, which produced Senator Abdullahi Adamu as the chairman of the party.

In a bid to force the consensus method on others, the APC had introduced a controversial section in its forms making provision for aspirants to step down.

Sources said Jonathan was promised the automatic ticket of the party during his meeting with Daura and other cabal members. It was further learnt that Buhari has also adopted him as the consensus candidate APC.

“Goodluck Jonathan has visited Mamma Daura to seek APC consensus candidacy,” a top source told SaharaReporters on Tuesday.

“The cabal members have told Buhari to back Jonathan. The President, some NWC members led by the chairman, Adamu, APC governors and other key leaders of the party would soon meet with all the presidential aspirants at the villa,” another source in the Presidency said.

“The cabals don’t want Tinubu, Osibanjo or Amaechi.” SaharaReporters had in the past reported how the Aso Rock cabal was pressurizing Jonathan to defect to the APC.

He was said to have surprised the Northern elite and the cabal by his disposition to the Buhari presidency despite all the dirt and campaign of calumny thrown at him and the PDP before the 2015 presidential election, which gave Buhari an unprecedented victory over an incumbent.

It was learnt that some cabal members had also been impressed that despite the Buhari government’s glaring failure, Jonathan had not openly criticised his predecessor or his administration, much unlike ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Obasanjo had written open letters condemning the Buhari government and also verbally berated it at any opportunity.

The online news portal said it learnt from sources that the establishment of ‘Almajiri’ schools by Jonathan to reduce a large number of out-of-school children in the North also scored the former president good points in the eyes of the northern cabal in the APC, especially with most of it now rotting away, even under a Northerner as president.

For now, Jonathan has reportedly submitted a presidential nomination and expression of interest forms to APC National Chair, Abdullahi Adamu. However, as he continues gyrating with APC, he should not forget that our elders say, a dancer does not know whether his or her back is crooked.

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