Nigeria’s leading opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, has reached out to former President Goodluck Jonathan not to abandon the party amid thickening plot by the ruling All Progressives Congress to field him for presidency in 2023.
The acting National Chairman of the PDP, Yemi Akinwonmi, alongside some other leaders of the party paid a visit to Jonathan in his residence in Abuja.
ex-President Goodluck Jonathan
Those on Akinwonmi’s delegation included Daisi Akintan, the former caretaker secretary of the PDP in the South-West and the secretary of ex-officio forum and a member of the National Executive Committee, Helen Taiwo.
The three-member team met with the former President behind closed doors but it was gathered that the visit was designed to acquaint Jonathan with current happenings within the party and seek his advice on how best to find an amicable solution to the crisis.
“The South West team were with the former President to appeal to him not to abandon the party.
“They also appealed to him to show more than a passing interest in the affairs of the party by becoming more actively involved in the activities of the party. The former President assured the team that he would not abandon the party,” a source privy to the meeting told Punch.
SaharaReporters had in February 2021 reported that the APC was considering giving a joint ticket to Jonathan and Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, for the 2023 presidential election.
Top sources within the party had told SaharaReporters that Jonathan was being considered as a strong voice in the southern region, while El-Rufai is being packaged to represent northern interests and later become the president when the presidency is again zoned to the North.
“There are plans already to pair El-Rufai with Jonathan for 2023. We believe both forces are strong and have goodwill in their regions and are good for the party,” one of the sources had confirmed to SaharaReporters.
It was learnt that there had been pressure on Jonathan, to defect to the All Progressives Congress and run for president in 2023 on the ruling party’s platform.
Some APC chieftains, including governors, had also visited Jonathan at his Abuja residence last November on his 63rd birthday.
The APC team’s visit was led by the Chairman Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee, who is also the acting national chairman of the party, Governor Mai Mala Buni.
Other members of the delegation include David Umahi, Ebonyi State governor, who recently defected from the PDP to the APC; Atiku Bagudu, Kebbi State governor, who is also the chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum; Abubakar Badaru, Jigawa State governor; Chief Ken Nnamani, a former Senate President; and Alhaji Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, ex-presidential liaison office to the National Assembly.
The APC leadership visit to Jonathan had generated speculations, which SaharaReporters have confirmed to be more than a friendly visit or a courtesy call on a former president.
It was learnt that the visit was a continuation of the APC scheme to woo Jonathan to the party by a caucus in the party that feels more comfortable to have the ex-President in power than the national leader of the party, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu.
SaharaReporters, New York