By Etop Ekanem
A NORTHERN group, Arewa Peoples’ Forum, APF, has blamed Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State of alleged plot to facilitate the emergence of former President Goodluck Jonathan as the presidential candidate for the 2023 elections.
“According to the group, Bagudu has been pulling strings behind the scene to complete the defection of the ex-president to the party. It claims that giving the ticket to the former president will be harmful to the party’s unity and chances of victory at the polls.
The group in a statement signed in Kaduna by the leader, Ishaku Ahmed, urged the north and other members of the party to confront the governor and save the party from an embarrassing implosion.
The statement read: “It is high time the north and other members of the party interested in the continued existence of the APC as a united political entity rose to challenge Governor Atiku Bagudu over his plot to hand over the party’s ticket to former President Goodluck Jonathan.
“Abusing his access to President Muhammadu Buhari and influence within the party, Governor Bagudu has acted without care for the sensitivity of the north and other Nigerians with his obsession with the idea that Mr. Goodluck Jonathan should waltz into the party and claim the biggest prize.
“Even if Governor Bagudu has conveniently forgotten, northerners and other Nigerians recall vividly that the entire basis for the formation of the APC was to ensure the dislodge from power of the same man he now wants to give the ticket to. For over two years, founding members of the party campaigned against Jonathan, accusing him of hastening the country’s collapse with his negligence, ineptitude, and poor leadership.
“How does Governor Bagudu and his co-conspirators expect the party to convince Nigerians otherwise in 2023? Will we not look unserious to them? How does he intends to market Mr. Goodluck Jonathan in the north after the many humiliations we suffered from the rhetoric delivered against us during his campaign in 2015?
“Also important is the fact that any ambition by former President Jonathan would run foul of the constitution, having already been sworn in twice. Why should the APC risk legal annulment and other complications on account of a man who, only a few years ago, it deemed a stumbling block to Nigeria’s progress?
“The APC is a product of the sweat and sacrifice of so many people who deserve better than this imposition agenda Governor Bagudu is championing. An emergence of GEJ is a slap on the face of many and will split the party and guarantee its defeat.”