Experts have provided reasons why APC leaders are keeping a watch on former President Goodluck Jonathan to see whether he will abandon the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and join the ruling party.
Since the APC governors’ visit to Jonathan’s Abuja residence on the occasion of his birthday in November, led by Yobe State governor and chairman of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Mai Mala Buni, the polity has been twitching with speculations of his possible defection to the ruling party.
This is especially true now that the APC has decided to simplify the PDP’s structure.
In the run-up to the 2023 elections, the ruling party has continued to recruit PDP governors, senators, members of the House of Representatives, and a slew of other high-ranking officials.
Elder Yemi Akinwonmi, the PDP’s Acting National Chairman, led a delegation of party leaders from the South to the former president’s Abuja residence last week.
There have been rumors that PDP leaders paid a visit to the former president, urging him not to defect to the APC in light of the opposition party’s current problems.
The South is pushing for a power transition to the region after President Muhammadu Buhari’s term ends in 2023, claiming that APC officials made a gentleman’s agreement ahead to the 2015 election that the party will cede its top ticket to the South following Buhari.
According to a reliable source in the APC who spoke with our Dailytrust Newspaper correspondent, Jonathan was contacted to join the party and pick the party’s presidential ticket in order to win the 2023 elections and pass over control to the North in 2027.
“Retaining power for a long time is a northern calculation. However, the demand, or agitation, for the presidency to be moved to the South as 2023 elections approaches is growing stronger.
As a result, they plan to utilize Jonathan as a very soft bride in order to cross a very long ocean swiftly.
“What I mean is that Jonathan has already served four years as president, making him the only candidate from the South who is not allowed to serve eight years under the Constitution.
So what they want to do now is use him to fulfill that goal, so that power will pass to the North in 2027 after four years of rule,” he stated.
He claimed that political actors in the North felt duped since the South had occupied the State House for longer since the return to democracy in 1999.
“This is why the North is agitating: Obasanjo served for eight years from the South, after which authority was transferred to the North, but Yar’adua did not finish his term.
Jonathan finished his term as president and was re-elected for a four-year term.
“So Obasanjo’s eight years plus Jonathan’s six years equals 14 years. The difference between Yar’adua’s two years and Buhari’s eight years will be ten years. So the South is still four years ahead of the North,” he explained.
“I agree that Jonathan will be a very good material and will be good for this permutation to have stability for democracy,” another PDP source told our correspondent.
If the northerners are patient, Jonathan serving one term and then leaving power to return to the North in 2027 is a better calculation.”
“How on earth is it that Jonathan, who was the object of political devastation in 2015, is now becoming a bride for the same party that removed him?” a political commentator, Chief Jackson Lekan Ojo, asked.
“I want to inform Jonathan that, given the kind of respect he is receiving throughout the world right now, I believe he is deserving of it. However, if Jonathan runs for president in the 2023 elections, he risks losing to a PDP candidate from the North, which would be politically suicide for him.
So, now that he’s retired and is an elder statesman, he’s been deputy governor and governor for me. He has served as vice president, acting president, and president. I’m not sure what else he wants. He should refuse to let APC use him.
“It’s not that they don’t like him; it’s that they don’t like him. They simply want to use him because he has shown to be a successful instrument. At the end of the day, it might be politically suicide for him.”
Barrister Abdullahi Jalo, an APC leader, acknowledged to our correspondent that party leaders were trying hard to woo key political figures, including Jonathan, away from the PDP.
“I switched from the PDP to the APC, and he (Jonathan) is my leader, so I’m thrilled to see him join the APC. He continued, “I was working with him.”
Governor Buni’s Director General of Press and Media, Mamman Mohammed, claimed he was unaware of the development when called for comment.
However, Yekini Nabena, the APC’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary, told Dailytrust that “it is not a matter to debate.”