Since the APC governors’ visit to Jonathan’s Abuja residence on the occasion of his birthday in November, led by Yobe State governor and chairman of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Mai Mala Buni, the polity has been twitching with speculations of his possible defection to the ruling party.
This is especially true now that the APC has decided to simplify the PDP’s structure.
In the run-up to the 2023 general elections, the ruling party has continued to recruit PDP governors, senators, members of the House of Representatives, and a slew of other high-ranking officials.
Elder Yemi Akinwonmi, the PDP’s Acting National Chairman, led a delegation of party leaders from the South to the former president’s Abuja residence last week.
There were rumours that PDP leaders paid a visit to the former president, pleading with him not to defect to the APC in light of the opposition party’s current crisis.
The South is pushing for a power shift to the region when President Muhammadu Buhari’s term ends in 2023, claiming that APC leaders made a gentleman’s agreement before the 2015 election that the party would cede its apex ticket to the South after Buhari.
According to a reliable source in the APC who spoke with our correspondent, Jonathan was approached to join the party and pick the party’s presidential ticket to win the 2023 election and hand over power to the North in 2027.
“Retaining power for a long time is a northern calculation. However, the demand, or agitation, for the presidency to be rotated to the South in 2023 is growing louder. As a result, they plan to use Jonathan as a very soft bride to cross a very long ocean quickly.
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“What I mean is that Jonathan has already served four years as president, making him the only candidate from the South who is not allowed to serve eight years under the Constitution. So what they want to do now is use him to achieve that goal, so that power will shift to the North in 2027 after four years of rule,” he said.
He claimed that political actors in the North felt cheated because the South had occupied the State House for longer since the return to democracy in 1999.
“This is why the North is agitating: Obasanjo served for eight years from the South, after which power was transferred to the North, but Yar’adua did not finish his term. Jonathan finished his term as president and was re-elected for a four-year term.
“So Obasanjo’s eight years plus Jonathan’s six years equals 14 years. The difference between Yar’adua’s two years and Buhari’s eight years will be ten years. So the South is still four years ahead of the North,” he explained.
“I agree that Jonathan will be a very good material and will be good for this permutation to have stability for democracy,” another PDP source told our correspondent.
“If the northerners are patient, Jonathan serving one term and then leaving power to return to the North in 2027 is a better calculation.”
“How on earth is it that Jonathan, who was the target of political destruction in 2015, is now becoming a bride for the same party that ousted him?” a political analyst, Chief Jackson Lekan Ojo, asked.
“I want to advise Jonathan that, given the level of respect he is receiving around the world right now, I believe he is deserving of it. However, if Jonathan runs for president in 2023, he risks losing to a PDP candidate from the North, which would be political suicide for him.
“So, now that he’s retired and is an elder statesman, he’s been deputy governor and governor for me. He has served as vice president, acting president, and president. I’m not sure what else he wants. He should refuse to let APC use him.
“It’s not that they don’t like him; it’s that they don’t like him. They simply want to use him because he has proven to be a successful tool. At the end of the day, it could be political suicide for him.”
Barrister Abdullahi Jalo, an APC leader, confirmed to our correspondent that party leaders were working hard to woo key political figures, including Jonathan, away from the PDP.
“I switched from the PDP to the APC, and he (Jonathan) is my leader, so I’m thrilled to see him join the APC. He added, “I was working with him.”
Governor Buni’s Director General of Press and Media, Mamman Mohammed, said he was unaware of the development when contacted for comment.
However, Yekini Nabena, the APC’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary, told our correspondent that “it is not an issue to discuss.”
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