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Confusion In APC As Goodluck Jonathan Struggles To Enter Through Party’s Back Door

There is a confusion brewing in the ruling All Progressives Congress, especially, in its South-South and South-East zones over the sudden emergence of former President Goodluck Jonathan in the presidential race.

This is coming as a result of the purchase of the N100 million nomination and expression of interest forms of the ruling party for the former President Jonathan by ‘Normadic Herders and Almajiris Community on Monday.

Although the Bayelsa-born politician came out to distance himself from the group and their forms, Jonathan, on the same evening, reportedly paid a visit to the National Chairman of the APC and former Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Adamu, at his residence in Abuja.

Sources confirmed that the former President was at Adamu’s residence to seek assurance of the party’s support before he decamps from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to APC and make his intention to return to the office again public.

Although Jonathan was in the meeting with Adamu, the APC Chairman welcomed the former President to the ruling party, but there was absolutely no assurance that he could be handed the party’s presidential ticket.

Adamu, however, assured the ex-Nigerian leader that there would be a level playing field for all aspirants on the party’s platform during the primaries if he declares.

However,most Nigerians believe that Jonathan or people very close to him actually purchased the forms to beat the deadline for the sale of forms by the APC which actually ended yesterday.

A source from the ruling party said, “Yes, the former President was here at night on Monday but there was absolutely no commitment from the party Chairman.

Report has it that Jonathan had earlier met with President Muhammadu Buhari, where he also sought assurance from the President. However, details of their meeting have remained speculative.

Consequently, Jonathan’s entrant or what could be seen as appearing in the race for the APC Presidential ticket is reportedly shaking the foundation of the party as some aspirants from the South, especially the South-East and South-South are seeing the move as detrimental to their own aspiration.

Many, among the 23 aspirants of the APC see Jonathan as a strong force and would easily claim the party’s ticket and are unhappy about the move as they also believe that the former President would shortchange the South, having only four years to preside over the country after which he returned power to the North.

Jonathan at the moment is causing anxiety among other aspirants such as former Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, who is widely seen as his political foe.

The Transportation Minister had declared his interest, picked his forms and has been on a nationwide consultation while the likes of Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipreye Sylva and Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Senator Godswill Akpabio are also said to be anxious about the development.

Prominent among aggrieved aspirants from the South East is the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, who is said to be a long term friend of President Buhari and Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige and the Governor of Ebonyi State,Engr David Umahi. These aspirants have one reason or more to believe that the President would give them the nod.

They feel that the sudden emergence of Jonathan will now reduce their chances going by the fact that Jonathan has a special place in Buhari’s heart for giving him the opportunity to see his lifelong dream of ruling Nigeria come to pass in 2015 when he willingly handed over government to him.

Seeing what is happening now, these aspirants feel that Buhari may end up endorsing Jonathan because it even favours him as a Northerner.

But meetings after meetings are going on as some well-meaning elders are trying to make Jonathan understand the gameplan of the North but as you know, it’s a game of interest. It’s Jonathan first before any other individuals but here we expect him to put the interest of the region ahead.

Though Jonathan’s emergence caused disarray in the camps of some aspirants but some others want to see what the party’s decision would be. They believe that the decision of APC leadership is sacrosanct.

The Presidency cannot claim ignorance about the presidential forms obtained for Jonathan.The body language of politicians from the Old Eastern Region has slowed down a bit.They now want to see what the party would decide.

Meanwhile, Jonathan has been warned by some individuals and groups against returning as Nigerian President at the expense of the entire South.

Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, had before told Jonathan to shelve the plans of entering the race for the 2023 presidency.

They believe that Jonathan is being used as a tool by Northern APC chieftains, to reduce the number of years the South will stay in power.

Emmanuel Onwubiko of HURIWA berated the ex-President to avoid such a move, adding that contesting the election would be seen as a betrayal of the Igbo nation.

So, Goodluck Jonathan should not replay that hatred that they showed to the Igbo after the war because if he accepts to be candidate of APC and become the president, it means he has short-changed the Igbo who gave him their all,” Onwubiko said.

If he does that, the South-South and the South-East will never have peace or trust each other for life. Because of what happened to us after the war in the 60s, when we lost so many housing assets, they have not been forgotten.

So, if he tried a second betrayal by accepting APC’s enticement to become President for only four years, he is doing it because he wants to short-change the Igbos.

Also, David Umahi of Ebonyi had cautioned Jonathan to avoid embarrassing himself by entering the presidential race

Umahi said on Tuesday that if Jonathan attempts to run for the coveted office of President, it would most likely be regarded as one of the wonders of the century.

According to Umahi, “those prodding Jonathan to run for the presidency, may be plotting to embarrass him politically,” noting that “such ambition does not even align with the programmes of the APC.”

Apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, while reacting to the purchase of form for Jonathan by the Northern Coalition, told the ex-president not to forget the sacrifices Ndigbo made for him in the past.

There is no going back to the 2023 Nigerian President of Igbo extraction and anything contrary to that,amounts to a denial of equity, fairness, and justice,” Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, the organisation’s Secretary, said.

Isiguzoro said “there are frantic endeavors and backstage activities to pitch Ijaws against Ndigbo, a repeat of 1966 gimmicks aimed at the resuscitating the age-long enmity between the two ethnic groups of old Eastern region, which was demolished in 2011 when Igbos adopted Jonathan as our own.”

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