Support groups working for the emergence of Bola Tinubu and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as Nigeria’s next president have dismissed the speculation and plot to present former President, Goodluck Jonathan as a consensus candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
A party member says all presidential aspirants are aware of the plan to bring Jonathan in as the consensus candidate.
It is believed that some members of the National Working Committee of the party are behind the plot to make Jonathan the party’s flagbearer in the 2023 presidential election.
Apart from Tinubu and Osinbajo support groups, other groups loyal to Governor Yahaya Bello, Rotimi Amaechi and Governor, Dave Umahi have also rejected the plot.
According to Punch, Jonathan had earlier informed some APC leaders that he would join the presidential race if President Muhammadu Buhari endorsed him.
Recall that when protesters stormed Jonathan’s office in the Maitama area of Abuja on Friday, April 22, 2022, to ask him to join the presidential race, the ex-president said was not sure he would declare but urged them to ‘watch out.’
Dismissing Jonathan’s candidacy, the Leader, Osinbajo Grassroots Organisation, Ekiti State, Femi Adeleye, said that the APC would not give the ex-president a waiver to contest as a consensus candidate when there were competent and capable aspirants already.
He said, “If some people are rooting for Jonathan, the party must accept him first. And for him to contest, he must have spent a year in the party and our primary will hold in the one month’s time. It will be very difficult for the party to say they want to give him a waiver and pick him as consensus candidate when there are competent hands already on the ground.”
Also, Dayo Adeyeye, the Chairman of the South West Agenda for Asiwaju 2023 known as SWAGA 2023 said it is impossible for the APC to come up with a consensus arrangement ahead of the upcoming primary election.
He said, “The candidates for the presidential election await the primaries and the people will have to earn it. Don’t forget that under the new electoral law, you can only have consensus when all the candidates or aspirants have agreed in writing and I don’t see that happening. Those who are looking for consensus are the lazy ones who have not done any work”.
Meanwhile, a top source in the APC has confirmed the plan by some party leaders and members of the presidency cabal to accede to Jonathan’s request.
The source, according to Punch added that all presidential aspirants were aware of the plan to bring in Jonathan as the consensus candidate.
But the cabal pushing for Jonathan’s candidacy is reportedly confused as they did not know if their plan would succeed.
The source said, “I can tell you they are facing a tough task as far as Jonathan is concerned. Although from his body language, one can see that Jonathan is interested. However, his backers in the APC are confused about how to launder the public image of Jonathan whom they painted incompetent and clueless in 2015.
“Another tough task the party may face is how it will convince other aspirants like Tinubu, Osinbajo, Amaechi, Umahi, and Bello to step down. Many members are not happy with the plot and are ready to shoot it down.”
While Jonathan’s candidacy remains speculation to many APC members, presidential aspirants have reportedly vowed to resist the agenda if Jonathan’s backers unveil their plan.