From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Former President Goodluck Jonathan can still run on the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC) if the National Working Committee decides to grant him a waiver.
The Chairman of the Bayelsa chapter of APC, Dr Dennis Otiotio-Odoni, made the statement t the weekend in a radio programme, “Democratic Watch”, monitored in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
At the close of the deadline for submission of the APC Presidential forms yesterday, Jonathan’s form collected on his behalf by a coalition of Northerners led by Miyetti Allah and an Almajiri was not returned.
However, the screening of presidential aspirants earlier scheduled for Saturday was shifted to May 23.
According to Otiotio, since the National Executive Committee (NEC) has voted its powers to the National Working Committee (NWC) to function on behalf of the party for 90 days, the NWC has the power to convene an emergency meeting and grant him a waiver to contest.
Otiotio said that the former president would have to resign his membership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and join APC to benefit from the waiver.
He explained that the APC constitution stipulates that Jonathan would tender a resignation letter to PDP and register with the APC at his Ogbia ward 13 level before May 23 if he is to benefit from a waiver by the NWC.
Otiotio admitted that Jonathan is a bigwig whom the APC would be ready to receive into its fold ahead of the 2023 election.
“The former President is a political bigwig, so he comes with lots of political capital. And we will be glad to receive him into our fold. This will signify that the PDP is dead and buried in Bayelsa State. However, there are procedures to follow to become a member of our party.
“The first is to apply to be a member at his ward level. And article 9 of our constitution says that before you join APC, you must not be a member of another party. So he has to formally write a resignation letter to the PDP he initially belonged to before joining us. But for now, he is not yet a member of APC.”
On Jonathan’s chances to run in the presidential election, he said: “it is still possible because during our last NEC meeting we donated our powers to NWC to perform our functions for the next 90 days.
“So the NWC can meet and grant him a waiver. But before he can be granted a waiver he must have been registered as a member at his ward level first before the NWC can consider him. And I believe that all of these can be done between now and the screening period. I think it is possible for Jonathan to still run for President under APC.”