Despite rumours that he is planning to defect from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), former President Goodluck Jonathan is merely biding his time until some of the criteria he set for the ruling party are met.
Apart from that, SaharaReporters has learned that the APC cabal loyal to President Muhammadu Buhari is keen to get Jonathan into the party for a variety of reasons, including undermining the aspirations of the party’ s national leader, Bola Tinubu, to become President of Nigeria in 2023.
APC Running After Jonathan Since 2020
According to a top insider, Buhari has been courting Jonathan since 2020 in order to bring him into the APC and have him run for president and succeed Buhari.
The Presidency cabal, according to the source, wants Jonathan to be the next president because they know he will not investigate crimes done by Buhari’ s reign.
And Jonathan, who is rumored to be pursuing a presidential bid to serve two terms in office, something the APC denied him in the 2015 presidential election, has agreed to play the game, despite the slim chances he has in the PDP thanks to former Vice- President Atiku Abubakar’ s wealth and connections.
In the 2019 presidential election, Atiku was the PDP’ s presidential candidate.
Despite the fact that Atiku has not to declare his candidacy, he appears to be testing the waters, as several support groups for his 2023 ambition have already surfaced.
Jonathan Cautious Of Tambuwal And Wike
Jonathan is particularly cautious of the threat posed by the ambitions of the governors of Sokoto and Rivers states, Aminu Tambuwal and Nyesom Wike, who are rumored to be mulling a combined ticket, according to the source.
However, Jonathan is alleged to have granted Buhari’ s cabal certain criteria that have yet to be fully met, resulting in the delay in joining the ruling party.
Jonathan began speaking with APC around a year ago to explore how he could join the party. Jonathan realized his chances in the PDP were minimal due to Atiku’ s clout and opposition from the party’ s leadership, notably Wike, who is interested in an united ticket with Tambuwal, according to the source.
Jonathan Supports APC Candidate In Bayelsa
” Buhari and his cabal have chosen to abandon Tinubu and start courting Jonathan, ” the source continued, noting how the move by the Buhari cabal is also killing another bird, which is Tinubu’ s ambition to succeed Buhari in 2023. Jonathan helped an APC candidate in his state win the election, but his victory was overturned before he could be sworn in by a judge.
In February 2020, the Supreme Court removed David Lyon, the APC’ s governor- elect of Bayelsa State, just 24 hours before his inauguration. Lyon received Jonathan’ s backing in the election, and it paid off as he won the state governorship election on November 16, 2019.
However, Mr Lyon’ s election was declared null and void by a five- member panel of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Mary Odili, on the grounds that his deputy, Biobarakuma Degi- Eremienyo, provided false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which aided his qualification for the last governorship election.
Because Lyon and Degi- Eremienyo held a joint ticket, the Supreme Court concurred with a previous judgement by the high court, prompting INEC to remove the certificate of return issued to them.
” The Buhari gang knew Jonathan could only serve one term, in fact only two years constitutionally, ” the source stated. They also know Jonathan is a softie who will not go after current regime members.
” However, Jonathan insisted on one condition: that the cash and properties seized and frozen by the Buhari government, including those belonging to his wife, Patience, be returned. When he said he didn’ t have any money, the cabal decided to unfreeze his assets and fund him.
” He insisted on them demonstrating good fortune before he would accept the risk. They have also started to address some of Jonathan’ s concerns. For example, two court verdicts restored $40 million to one of his cousins. ”
Court Discharged Jonathan’ s Cousin
In May 2019, the Federal High Court in Abuja discharged and acquitted Jonathan’ s cousin, Robert Azibaola, of $40 million laundering allegations brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Nnamdi Dimgba, the court, said that no solid evidence was presented to prove Azibaola’ s guilt of money laundering.
According to the source, the former President will be in Gambia on a diplomatic mission next week and may decide to join the APC when he returns, as there is anticipation that his seized assets may have been returned by then.
” I believe Jonathan’ s representatives were waiting for the release of funds confiscated from his fronts. The topic of money being frozen came up in conversation. It’ s possible that the funds have been released. Buhari and the cabal have found themselves in a difficult situation. Nigeria, on the other hand, has moved on from 2015. Jonathan doesn’ t have a home in the South- South. ”
APC Secretary Reacts
Meanwhile, John Akpanudoedehe, the National Secretary, APC Caretaker, and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, indicated on Wednesday that Jonathan can run for President in 2023 if he joins the party.
He mentioned this when appearing on Channels Television’s Politics Today as a guest.
When asked about allegations that Jonathan is considering joining the ruling party, he disclosed this.
If the ex-president joins the party that defeated his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, in 2015 and forced him out of power, he will be accorded founding member status, according to Akpanudoedehe.
However, the APC official stated that Jonathan would have to compete with other members of the party for the ticket, emphasizing that he would not receive an automatic ticket.
” We will welcome him, ” Akpanudoedehe added, adding that it will strengthen the party.
” The party’ s last National Executive Council literally provided blanket approval to any individual, stating that if you join APC today, you will be considered a founder member.
” As a result, everybody who joins the party today has the same chance to run for any office in the party. I’ m not speculating since it’s always been that way. ”
There have been rumours that Jonathan will join the APC, but the PDP has stated that Jonathan will not leave the party.