Allies of former President Goodluck Jonathan, are sharply divided over an alleged plot by some Chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, to drag the former President into the 2023 Presidential race on the platform of the ruling party, Page 36 learnt.
It was gathered that while Jonathan is reportedly yet to make a decision on the alleged pressure on him by the APC Chiefs, many of his known Allies are said to be already working with the promoters of the plot, in preparation for the 2023 general elections.
This is just as a good number of his Associates have also made it clear that they will not support him, should he leave the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Though the Leadership of the ruling party has denied that it is planning to field Jonathan as its next Presidential Candidate, sources within the party disclosed that some APC Governors are actually toying with the idea of backing the former President to return in 2023, on the platform of the party.
It was further gathered that many of Jonathan’s Associates are said to be on their way to the ruling party, as part of the plan to facilitate his emergence as the Presidential Candidate of the party, come 2023.
According to sources, one of the APC Governors may be supported to emerge as the Vice Presidential Candidate of the party.
“The plot is to bring Jonathan in and support him as a Presidential Candidate, on the agreement that he will do just a term in Office, and allow power to return to the North. Constitutionally, he cannot vie for another term. So, his choice is being promoted by some Northern Governors and Chieftains of the APC, as a way to douse the agitation for zoning, and also truncate the Presidential ambition of a particular Southerner. Many meetings have been held on the matter, and though the former President is yet to consent to the plan, there are strong indications that he may consider the offer and join the APC, eventually.
“As part of the moves, some Associates of the former President are expected to leave the PDP and join the APC soon. Once that starts happening, then you should know the deal is struck, and Jonathan will be coming to try and get the ticket of the party, ahead of 2023.
“To make things easy, the APC, influenced by the Governors, has amended its rules to pave way for new comers into the party to vie for tickets. That move is part of the strategies to soften the ground for Jonathan and others would be defectors into the APC”, the source said.
During the week, supporters of the former President, under the auspice of the Goodluck Jonathan Support Group, GJSG, through their State Coordinators, called on him to shun all entreaties “aimed at luring him to dump his political home, which is the PDP, and jump into the danger-laden uncertainties of the ruling party”.
The group, speaking after a meeting in Port-Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, reiterated its earlier threat to withdraw support for Jonathan, should he leave the PDP for the APC.
“We want to say it again, that as loyal members of the PDP, we will not follow anybody to the APC, just because we adore him or her”, GJSG said.
It was learnt that the meeting of the Coordinators was convened, following fears that the rumoured talks between Jonathan and some APC Governors may turn out to be true. According to the Chairman of the Coordinators, Hon. Alfred Emiloju Esomijumi, “we have made efforts to get to the root of the rumour, and we are not convinced that it is all lies. On a daily basis, we are getting indications that something may be going on behind the curtains, and that is why we deemed it important to quickly speak our mind and make our position on the unfolding political drama known.
“It is not for fun that some of the people we see as Leaders in the ex-President’s camp, will be favouring the ruling party against our own party on some issues. It is not also mere coincidence that some people who left us in the past, are now regular visitors to some of our Leaders. We have waited long enough for somebody to clear the air on all these happenings, but nothing has been done. We remain solidly committed to the politics of Dr. Jonathan, as he remains a Leader yet to be equaled in this country. But we will not sacrifice our loyalty to our dear party for our love for his leadership and person.”
Also, Comrade Zik Gbemre, the National Coordinator, Niger Delta Peace Coalition, wants Jonathan to be careful of the many offers coming his way, ahead of the 2023 Presidential election.
“He is a citizen of this country, who enjoys all rights to vote and be voted for in the 2023 Presidential election. He still has the window to contest, since he ruled for just one term. However, if I were Goodluck Jonathan, I will not accept the pressure from the North or anywhere else, to contest any election again. Knowing the type of politics played in Nigeria, it may just be an attempt to dent his image further.
“Jonathan achieved a lot when he calmly conceded defeat and accepted the outcome of the 2015 Presidential election. What else does Jonathan want to achieve? What is it that Jonathan could not do well, with nearly six years as the President of Nigeria? Jonathan should be very careful not to accept any Greek Gift, either from any person or any other geopolitical zone of the country”, he said.
However, another group of Jonathan’s supporters, in a release signed by Comrade Godknows Kpodoh, lambasted Esomijumi and his group, over their stand on the matter, describing him and others with him as ‘impostors who are out to truncate our Leader’s steady march back to political leadership”.
Kpodoh said that his group, the Coalition for President Goodluck Jonathan, CPGJ, “unlike GJSG, is well known and recognised by Jonathan and his Associates all over the country.
“We will support Jonathan anywhere he goes. He is the hope of this country, and we the young ones will not fold our hands at this crucial time. It is unfortunate that some impostors are already paid to truncate this steady march.”
More news later…