From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The rumoured plot to draft former President Goodluck Jonathan into the 2023 presidential race by the All Progressives Congress (APC) is causing disquiet and panic in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In recent times, there have been reports of alleged moves by some leaders of the APC to convince the former president to throw his hat into the ring for the 2023 presidential election on the party’s its platform.
Last week, Jonathan campaign posters surfaced on some social media platforms, but his media aide, Ikechukwu Eze, dismissed the posters.
Eze described Jonathan’s alleged presidential bid on APC platform as rumour, saying it had no basis.
However, Daily Sun learnt at the weekend that, despite the PDP’s dismissal of the alleged romance between Jonathan and APC as a ‘non-issue,’ some leaders of the opposition party are actually worried about the development. Some members loyal to Jonathan have also vowed not to move with the former president to the APC if the rumour tuned out to be true, even as they threaten to revolt against him. Some others fear it would amount to losing one of its big fish to the APC.
A senior party source said though the bid to draft Jonathan into the APC was still seen by many as being in the realm of speculations, members were worried losing him to the APC.
“Some of us are worried of its implications for the PDP, if it turns out to be true. We are worried. But the man has said it is not true. But when you hear these sort of talks, you cannot but be worried. We are watching.”
Also, a former member of the PDP National Working Committee ( NWC), who declined to be named as he was not authorised to speak on the matter, dismissed talks of Jonathan contesting on APC platform in 2023.
He, however, said the party would not “miss the former president, in the event that talks about his romance with the APC are true.”
He said: “Because president Jonathan, since he left office, has not been participating actively in the affairs of the PDP. But for us in PDP, if he goes there, we will revolt against him. We will not go with him. That is truth. The thing is that Jonathan has never been an active participant in the PDP since he lost election in 2015. For us, Jonathan has never been an active member of the PDP. Whatever decision he takes, it is at his peril. He has not provided any purposeful leadership for the PDP since 2015.”
A former member of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) and former Minister of Transport, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, advised Jonathan not to contemplate going to the APC.
Babatope told Daily Sun, at the weekend, that Jonathan would be diminished if he contests in 2023 on APC platform.
“I hope he does not tarnish his good image by going to contest. He is not a member of APC. He is a former president of the country on the platform of the PDP. And to now go and contest as an APC man will send wrong signals entirely. But I want to advice him because he is an adult, he should think it deeply and come to very reasonable conclusion. I want to advice him, because it is something that will bring him down within seconds,”he said.
When contacted, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, said talks about Jonathan’s alleged romance with the APC is a publicity stunt by the ruling party to divert attention from its internal crises.
Ologbunagba said the APC was not bothered about the news, as it was concerned about rallying Nigerians to rescue the country in 2023.
“There is nothing for us to comment on. It is rumour in the public domain. However, we want to believe that it is part of the stunt of the APC to shift attention from their own confusion within their system.
“We are not bothered about that. This party cannot be bothered by any stunt being pulled by the APC. PDP is focused. PDP is moving around the country to energize Nigerians to rescue the country,”he said.
Efforts to get the former president’s reaction were unsuccessful, as his spokesman, Eze, did not respond to repeated calls to his mobile phone.