Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, has denied speculations that it is courting former president Goodluck Jonathan to run for the presidency on its platform in the 2023 general election.
Jonathan was kicked out of office after one full term in 2015 by the then candidate of APC, Muhammadu Buhari.
There have been speculations that the former President who was a member of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP is being courted by some interests in the ruling party to run for the presidency again.
However, some analysts have said the former president may no longer qualify to run for the presidency again having also completed the tenure of late President Umaru Yar’Adua before he was elected for his own full term of office in 2011 going by recent amendment to the Nigerian constitution
However, the rumour that APC leaders have been asking Jonathan to run on the platform of the party had persisted.
The speculation further gained currency with visits of some leaders of APC to the former President in his Abuja home during his last birthday celebration.
In addition, the former President has also been having a sort of ‘romance’ with his successor who had nominated him as envoy of ECOWAS to mediate in political conflicts in Mali and lately, Gambia.
Buhari has also continue to shower praises on his predecessor over how he accepted defeat and called to congratulate him on his victory even before the result of the 2015 general election was fully announced.
Some reports last week had again indicated that some APC governors in the Northern part of the country are already working to ensure that Jonathan gets the APC 2023 presidential ticket.
“Those peddling such information, they are afraid. But for now, there is nothing in the APC which has anything to do with the aspiration for 2023,” Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni who is interim committee chair of the APC said while denying the rumours.
He spoke to BBC Hausa service.
“Even if someone wants to base assumption on our recent visit to him during his birthday, we were there because of his capacity as a former President of Nigeria. Again, even if there is nothing, when we are talking of peaceful coexistence, we must give credit to former President Jonathan on the issue of peace. How he accepted defeat in 2015 and resigned to fate. That has qualified him to be a statesman and he is now among our fathers,” the Governor was further quoted by Vanguard as telling the BBC in transcription of the interview to english.
Buni added that the visit of APC governors to Jonathan during his birthday was because of his status as a former president and therefore should not be interpreted to have political undertone: “There are numerous of such visits -to leaders of PDP, APC, why are others not being mentioned, but Jonathan?”
He also pointed out that President Buhari had indicated during the revalidation of his party membership in Daura last Saturday that it is party members from the grassroots level that will now select candidates of the party.
“Then, who are we to say we are considering Jonathan? How? It has to be a party affair and once it is a party affair, then we are talking about the people. So we have nothing like that in our agenda. What we have now, and is of importance to us, is to ensure peace amongst party members.
“Also, to bring members of other political parties, whichever party it might be, whoever wants, should come in to the APC. This is our plan for now. We are yet to start talking about aspirants, we are not in any discussion about aspirants,” he said.