The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has laid to rest widespread speculations that it was planning to woo former President Goodluck Jonathan, to run as its candidate in the 2023 presidential election.
The Governor of Yobe State and APC Interim Committee Chairman, Mai Mala Buni, who spoke on the issue in an interview with the BBC Hausa Service on Tuesday, said there was nothing to the rumour as the party has not entered into negotiations with Jonathan on the 2023 election.
In the past few weeks, there have been rumors that some Northern governors on the platform of the APC were trying to persuade the former president to defect to the party and contest on its ticket in 2023.
The rumours gained more ground after Buni led some APC governors like Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi) and Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), on a solidarity visit to Jonathan on the occasion of his 63rd birthday in November 2020.
However, in the interview, Buni said this was far from the truth as the APC was not in any way trying to convince Jonathan to join the party.
“Those peddling such information they are afraid. But for now, there is nothing in the APC which has anything to do with the aspiration for 2023.
“Even if someone wants to base assumption on our recent visit to him during his birthday, we were there because of his capacity as a former President of Nigeria.
“Again, even if there is nothing, when we are talking of peaceful coexistence, we must give credit to former President Jonathan on the issue of peace. How he accepted defeat in 2015 and resigned to fate. That has qualified him to be a statesman and he is now among our fathers.
“Our visit to Jonathan was pronounced because of his status as a former president; that could be why some may think there was something beneath.
“There are numerous of such visits to leaders of PDP, APC, why are others not being mentioned but Jonathan?
“Even in America where we got this democracy, I’ve not seen where people are being confined to a limit.
“You are talking of democracy and at the same time talking of giving him, don’t forget even when President Buhari went to revalidate party membership in Daura, he said it is the people at the grassroots that will select leaders upwards, that no one should expect to be crowned from Abuja.
“This has shown that in APC now, it is from the lower level upwards. Not that people would be imposed from the top. Then who are we to say we are considering Jonathan? How? It has to be a party affair and once it is a party affair, then we are talking about the people.
“So we have nothing like that in our agenda. What we have now, and is of importance to us, is to ensure peace amongst party members. Also, to bring members of other political parties, whichever party it might be, whoever wants, should come in to the APC.
“This is our plan for now. We are yet to start talking about aspirants, we are not in any discussion about aspirants.”
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