Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) says it will be delightful to have the country’s immediate past president, Goodluck Jonathan, its fold.
The party’s interim national secretary, John Akpanudoedehe, said this on “Politics Today” a Channels Television programme, aired on Wednesday.
He spoke in reaction to lingering speculations that the former president was planning to defect to APC from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Mr Jonathan was president of the country between 2010 and 2015 on the platform of the PDP.
Before then, he was deputy governor of Bayelsa State and later the governor of the state. He was also vice president in the late Umaru Yar’Adua administration, all on the ticket of the PDP.
He lost the 2015 presidential election to the incumbent, Muhammadu Buhari.
Until Wednesday when the ex-president’s spokesperson, Ikechukwu Eze, dismissed the speculation as “fake news,” the Bayelsa born president had indeed been off political radar even as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) struggled to overcome its deteriorating leadership crisis.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported Mr Jonathan announcing his decision to step away from active political activities to focus on humanitarian services.
However, the APC official, Mr Akpanudoedehe, on the programme, said Mr Jonathan will be given a founding member status if he decides to join the party and jostle for the 2023 presidential ticket of the ruling party like others.
“I am hearing that for the first time that we are expecting the former President. That will be great news. We will welcome him; that will also strengthen the party.
“The last National Executive Council of the party actually gave a blanket approval to any individual that if you join APC today, it is as if you are a founding member of the party,” he clarified.
With the constitutionally allowed eight years tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari approaching its end, the hunt for a candidate with similar popular appeal to replace him in 2023 continues.
Although the APC has not announced where it will zone its 2023 Presidential ticket to, there has been a clamour by many leaders within the party to zone the ticket to the southern part of the country.
Mr Jonathan is from the south-south geopolitical zone.
There are, however, demands by some members of the ruling party to micro-zone the ticket to either south-west or south’-east.
The PDP has not zoned the presidential slot either.