By Dirisu Yakubu & Ezra Ukanwa
Ahead of the May 30 Presidential primaries of the All Progressives Congress, a group, the APC North-South Patriotic Coalition, ANSPAC, Thursday, kicked against alleged moves to cede the party’s ticket to Nigeria’s immediate past President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan.
The group made its position known during a staged protest at the national secretariat of the APC in Abuja.
Displaying different placards and banners with the inscriptions:”Don’t bring Jonathan to destroy APC”, “Jonathan is not an APC member,” among others, the group led by its chairman, Tohin Rahim said bringing Jonathan to the ruling party would mark the end of APC in the political history of Nigeria.
Rahim said that plans to bring Jonathan into the picture would not fly as there are many qualified, patriotic candidates to lead the party to victory in the coming 2023 polls
In his words, speculations of Jonathan’s possible imposition as the Presidential flag bearer of the APC is gradually gaining momentum, stressing that if allowed to happen “would glaringly project that the party does not have anyone of electoral value to lead the party to victory.”
According to him, the rumour has been around for some time now that former President Goodluck Jonathan was being wooed by some power players within the APC to join the party and fly its Presidential ticket for the 2023 election.
“What began as a mere rumour seems to be gathering momentum so close to the Presidential primary of our great party. This Jonathan project cannot fly simply because it cannot help our party and we want to do our best to ensure that our party does not fall victim to ill-advised action that can push the party out of power.
“One of the most telling negative implications of such an action is that the APC does not have anyone of electoral value who can win the election for us except we smuggle in a former President we defeated seven years ago for his glaring incompetence as President.
“In APC today, there are Presidential aspirants with credible pedigrees and humongous electoral value and capacity. It is not only unnecessary to smuggle Jonathan into our great party, it is also self-indicting, meaning that our party’s performance in office has been worse than an administration that Nigerians thoroughly rejected and voted APC in 2015. It will also be an indictment against His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari by making Nigerians believe that we lied to them when we said Jonathan performed woefully and that our dear President Muhammadu Buhari would do better.
“Are we now saying we lied to Nigerians and that we have now discovered that Jonathan was much better and that he should return to continue his good works that nobody can see?
“One thing our party’s leaders must know is that if for any tragic reason the mistake is made to impose Jonathan on APC and the goodwill of our party and that of Mr President make him win and he becomes again, the likelihood of him switching loyalty to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP is high.
“Already, not a few members of the party are complaining that the APC leadership has been taken over by the PDP decampees. Now you want to give them the Presidency too? That’s a recipe for a disastrous end of our party and we shall not accept it. We shall do whatever needs to be done to ensure that the Jonathan project does not happen because it will sink our party.
“It is certain that any attempt to give Jonathan a free Presidential ticket of the APC will see the mass exodus of critical stakeholders from the party and make the party lose power. What becomes of those who have been party members from inception who have laboured to build the APC? What becomes of real APC members who have purchased the Presidential nomination forms at a whopping N100m? What becomes of those who will still declare their Presidential ambitions and buy the forms? It is on good authority that former President, Goodluck Jonathan has declared that the only condition that would make him join the APC is if he is assured of getting the presidential ticket APC automatically. This is not going to happen.”
Rahim called on the leadership of the party to make a categorical statement on the issue without further delay.
“We appeal to our leaders to ensure that this does not happen because it won’t serve our beloved party any good but is certainly programmed to make APC lose power at the centre and the current majority control of states. We will intensify these protests even if it means on a daily basis until a categorical position of the party is made public that there will be no attempt to commit such a historic misjudgment by our party’s leadership”, he added.