Presidency 2023: Why APC governors turned down Jonathan’s presidential project

Nigerians divided over Jonathan
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The All Progressives Congress (APC) governors who were dragging former President Goodluck Jonathan into the 2023 presidential election had changed their decision on the Jonathan project. The APC governors, dominated by northern governors and leaders, after thorough evaluation of supporting the former Nigerian President for the 2023 presidential race were gathered to have discovered legal constraints in making Jonathan Nigerian President after the second tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari.

A source from the APC leadership revealed to National Daily that APC leaders and some governors of the party from the north had met at the State House, Abuja, a fortnight ago where they held a closed-door meeting on the 2023 presidential race. The source said that the party leaders and governors at the meeting deliberated extensively on the legal implication of sponsoring former President Goodluck Jonathan for another tenure in 2023. The APC governors and party leaders at the meeting realized that Dr. Jonathan had been taken oath of office and oath of allegiance into the office of the Nigerian president on two occasions, and that sponsoring him for the 2023 presidential election would imply being sworn into office for a third time, which the Nigerian constitution does not permit.

It was pointed out that former President Jonathan was sworn into office in 2010 after the death of former President Umar Musa Yar-Adua to complete the first tenure. Thereafter, Dr. Jonathan contested and won the 2011 presidential election and was sworn into office for a second time.  These were beside being acting president or vice president.

The source disclosed that the party leaders at the meeting argued that while it would be possible for them to sponsor Dr. Jonathan for president in 2023 and ensuring his victory at the polls, they may face a complicated legal battle on his being qualified for the race having been sworn into office as president on two occasions, consecutively; and having served for about five and a half years.

The meeting noted that offering the former President the ticket in 2023 may translate into a third tenure and a total of about 11 years while the Nigerian constitution prescribes two tenures of eight years.

Our source said that the idea was immediately dropped at the meeting as the party leaders and governors began to look inward for a candidate in 2023.

Our source revealed that the APC governors and leaders from the north had considered former President Jonathan for 2023 in anticipation of getting him to serve one tenure while the presidency would return to the north. The plan failed with the turn of event.

The party leaders were said to be considering the other options which include the APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State; in the alternative, retaining the presidency in the north.

The meeting was said to have acknowledged that Tinubu is rich and experienced; participants, however, expressed the fear that they cannot trust the national leader with such power for several reasons.

They were Also said to have noted that Governor Fayemi does not have much money like Tinubu but can be trusted by the northern elite. Their fear was, however, that the Ekiti governor is not popular in the north and may be a hard sale.

The meeting, according to our source, also acknowledged Osinbajo’s loyalty to President Muhammadu Buhari; though, participants were afraid that the vice president is firm in making decisions, citing the removal of the DSS DG, Daura, from office.

Our source further revealed that the APC governors and leaders are also anticipating that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may give the 2023 presidential ticket to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. They were said to have a consensus that if PDP gives its ticket to Atiku, APC will have to present a northern presidential candidate in 2023. They also agreed to delay the APC national convention for the nomination of a presidential candidate in 2023 until PDP holds its convention and nominates its candidate.