2023: Why APC is flying the Jonathan kite

•The anti-Tinubu forces connection •Ex-president assured us he won’t dump PDP —Acting national chairman

FOR now, former president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, is not contemplating joining the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) to run on its platform as a presidential candidate, Sunday Tribune can report. 

National Secretary, APC Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, had said APC would welcome Jonathan if he defected to the party, as it would strengthen the ruling party. 

But a source close to the former president told Sunday Tribune that though some APC leaders have been wooing the ex-president, “Jonathan is not thinking of joining the APC.” 

This was just as the acting national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Elder Yemi Akinwonmi, told Sunday Tribune that the ex-president has assured them that he would not dump the PDP. 

He said speculations about Jonathan going to APC were laid to rest during a meeting he and others had with the former president. 

Investigation has, however, revealed the reason Jonathan’s name is being practically dropped by the leadership of the APC. 

Sunday Tribune gathered that the development might not be unconnected with the schism in the ruling party over who succeeds President Muhammadu Buhari amid clamour for power shift by politicians from the Southern part of the country. 

Three groups are said to have emerged in the APC over the presidential ticket of the party. 

They are: a group loyal to the recuperating former Lagos State governor, Senator Bola Tinubu, a group opposed to his presidential aspiration and the third, a group waiting to see where the pendulum will swing. 

Although Tinubu has not declared his presidential ambition, a group in the vanguard of the aspiration, the South-West Agenda (SWAGA), has begun mobilisation of opinion leaders in the zone to support the Tinubu presidential project. 

But it was learnt that the leadership of the APC, who are referred to as Buhari’s men, have begun a strategy of testing the waters with the Jonathan kite to gauge the reaction of Tinubu and his group. 

Many Tinubu’s men, particularly those who have openly identified with the SWAGA project, were said to have lost out in the power game during the two of the three-legged congresses of the party. 

For instance in Ekiti, the national chairman of SWAGA, Senator Dayo Adeyeye, has been shouting blue murder over the outcome of the ward congress in the state. The group is before the Federal High Court in the state praying for the annulment of the congress. 

According to a credible source in the party, “the leadership of APC has been sending a signal to the Tinubu camp with the way it has handled the two congresses held so far,” he explained. 

“The party has been inundated with threats from some quarters that if they oppose the Tinubu project there will be consequences. 

“But the anti-Tinubu forces within the party are goading the leadership to test the waters with the Jonathan option to see if his men would start a fight within the party. 

“The intention is to quench whatever fire that will come from the Tinubu camp before the election,” the source further stated. 

However, another source in Jonathan’s camp, while reacting to the story of the likely defection of the former president to the APC, said “I can’t rule out anything.” 

The source said the former president was bitter about the treatment meted out to him after the loss of the 2015 presidential election and decided to stay away from the PDP. 

The source said the PDP leadership watched while Jonathan was sidelined in the scheme of things in the party, even in his own state, Bayelsa, forcing him to support the candidate of the APC in the governorship election held in the state in November 2019. 

But the PDP national chairman, who also spoke to Sunday Tribune, said since he came on board, he had identified some leaders of the party that were not happy with the way things were being done, including the former president, and had assured them things would change. 

He admitted that Jonathan had not been attending the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the PDP and had assured them he would do so henceforth. 

“I can assure you that you will not hear of any defection from the PDP again whether at the state or national level. 

“Since I came on board, we have been able to identify people that were not happy enough about the party and we went to beg and pacify them. 

“I was with former president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan. You should have read that in the papers. For some time, he has not been attending our NEC meetings. He assured me that he would henceforth be attending. This has laid to rest speculations over whether he is leaving the party. 

“PDP remains the alternative party for Nigeria. Compare Nigeria under PDP to what it is now under APC. For example, we know the value of naira now. What is the price of petrol now? It was N87 in 2015 when Dr Jonathan was handing over to President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015,” he said. 

“We are capitalising on the demerits of APC, on what is currently happening in the nation: banditry all around, mismanagement of economy, the suffering of Nigerians today. 

“Nigerians are poorer than they were in 2015. This is not an issue of campaign. Nigerians can see these things themselves. The economy of Nigeria has collapsed. 

“The choice that Nigerians made in 2015 by voting for Buhari has turned out to be a disaster not just for Nigerians themselves, but also the economy of the country. Nigerians who voted for Buhari are regretting their action now, including the core North,” the PDP chairman said.

 

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