As plans to nominate former President Goodluck Jonathan as the party’s presidential candidate in the 2023 election become more and more likely, there is a lot of tension and conflict.
Jonathan served as President of Nigeria from 2010 until 2015, running on the Peoples Democratic Party platform (PDP).
When Jonathan gave power to the then opposition APC, the party hasn’t been able to build a strong organization to stay in power when President Muhammadu Buhari’s term ends on May 29, 2023.
For the past two years, there have been rumors that former President Jonathan is about to join the APC, but such rumors have always been met with rejection.
According to sources, Muhammadu Buhari may be pleased to hand over power to Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from the south who may only serve a four-year term before returning power to the north.
When it all began
Former President Goodluck Jonathan isn’t apathetic about the presidential election in 2023. Following rumors that he was under pressure to compete, he refused to rule himself out of the race on December 5th, 2020. He dodged the topic by stating it’s too early to say, but he flatly denied in January of 2021 that he had any ambitions to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023. Ikechukwu Eze, his spokesman, stated that his primary interest is in operating his foundation. However, there have been attempts to draw him into the contest since then, and they are coming from a group within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), rather than Jonathan’s own People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
On November 20, 2020, a team of APC governors, including Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, paid him a visit to commemorate his 63rd birthday. A faction of the party tried to get Jonathan to join them before he ran for president in 2023, sources close to him say.
The fact that Bagudu was present added fuel to the fire that Jonathan was being courted. He is one of the APC’s potential successors, but his ambition is jeopardized by the party’s SouthWest faction’s vow to keep the presidency in the South. There are fears that if attempts are made to keep the presidency in the North when the APC meets to zone it next year, the party may implode.
This is why an APC section close to the Presidency is more interested in the Jonathan alternative. If he is given power, he is considered a steady pair of hands who will not rock the boat. He not only accepted defeat in 2015—the first time the opposition won a presidential election in Nigeria—but has also mostly avoided criticizing his successor since leaving power. He has also essentially worked with the Buhari administration by acting as an envoy to many nations on election observation missions and has established a reputation as a democrat and a man of peace concerned with good governance. Jonathan would also be unlikely to check up on any of Buhari’s close friends, which is a big worry for people who want to avoid being embarrassed when Buhari leaves office.
Those campaigning for Jonathan’s president, on the other hand, are more interested in the prospect of a speedy return of power to the North. Because Jonathan may now only serve a single term after having previously served one term, a Jonathan presidency would give Bagudu a chance at the presidency in 2027. A Jonathan-Bagudu ticket is one of the proposals being considered. Bagudu prefers to be Jonathan’s vice presidential running mate over Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, who is also interested in running in 2023 if power transfers to the south. Bagudu is concerned that Fayemi will expect to serve two terms as president, meaning that the earliest he or anyone from the North will be able to run for office after him will be in 2031.
There have been a lot of ads for Jonathan recently. The former president has said that he will make his position clear soon. This is what people are saying:
However, APC Presidential Support Groups say that if Jonathan is given the APC presidential ticket in 2023, there will be chaos.
Mr. Owlabi Dauda, the chairman and secretary of the meeting, said that as representatives of the 36 states of the federation and the federal capital territory, they have to speak out against an ugly plot by some APC members about adoption.
“By all stretch of the imagination, this plot is ill-timed and not in the party’s interest at large. Such a move implies that the party might be heading towards a resounding electoral defeat in the presidential election.
“With utmost respect to the personality of former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, there are numerous candidates in the party that commands broad appeal across the country and with credible credentials that can guarantee the party’s electoral success.
“Some of these individuals are notable and committed members of the party whose contributions to the growth and development of the party from inception have been outstanding in ways too numerous to mention.
“It, therefore, defeats common sense for some elements within the party to think in their wisdom that a non-member of the party can be adopted as a presidential candidate and expect to deliver electoral success for the party.
“It is our considered opinion that the APC as a party has gone through some difficult times that threatened its foundation, but for the swift intervention of dedicated party faithful to save the day and restore normalcy within the party’s ranks.
“It is instructive to note that former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). At the time of this press conference, he hasn’t resigned his membership.
“It is also common knowledge that, as it stands, former president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan does not understand the ideology and the social contract the APC has with the people of Nigeria concerning our development blueprint and agenda,” the group said adding that bringing Jonathan to the party as a presidential candidate will amount to chaos and disunity.
“Those behind the plot to bring in former president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan into the APC as its presidential candidate are possibly blinded by selfish ambition that, by and large, is guaranteed to disintegrate the party and bring it into disrepute.
“This is on the heels that the proposed adoption of former president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan would make a mockery of all that the APC represents as a party of progressives. We also stand the risk of a mass exodus from the party and a litany of court cases by aggrieved members of the party.
“The leadership of the APC must do all within its means not to engage in any enterprise that would puncture the fragile peace restored in the party after the painstaking efforts of members of the party in ensuring that the party is well-positioned for electoral success in the 2023 general elections.
“Instead, it is expected that the APC as a party dissipates energy on ensuring a transparent presidential primary where the best candidate from its fold emerges as the presidential candidate.
“The APC as a party should be known for upholding democratic principles as customary with our blueprint for development. It must not be seen as engaging in undemocratic acts that fuel impunity and disenchantment within its ranks.
“The APC Presidential Support Groups wishes to state in unequivocal terms that adopting former president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan should be a topic for consideration because the consequences of such a move might be unpleasant for the party in the 2023 general elections.
“Those elements within the APC that are bent on disintegrating the party should desist from such ignoble enterprise. They should look inwards and see the strengths of the various aspirants that have indicated an interest in contesting the presidential elections. This way, the APC as a party would be guaranteed a united house prepared to go for the elections in 2023.
“The APC Presidential Support Groups wishes to appeal to all members of the APC across the 36 states of the federation to keep the faith and not relent in preparedness for the 2023 general elections,” the group added.