As the battle for the 2023 presidential ticket thickens, some Nigerians have expressed divergent opinions on the alleged planned defection of former President, Goodluck Jonathan, from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
There have been speculations that the ex-president may dump the opposition party for the APC in a bid to emerge as the platform’s flag bearer in the 2023 presidential poll to complete his second term, which he lost to President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.
The defection rumour was fueled by Goodluck’s constant visit to the State House to meet with President Buhari as some APC governors are said to be wooing the former President to join the party.
Recall that Jonathan, on October 6, met behind closed-doors with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The agenda of the meeting was not made known to journalists.
Similarly, Jonathan, who is ECOWAS’ Special Envoy to the Republic of Mali on efforts by West African leaders to restore stability to the country, was at the Villa on December 30 and January 6, to discuss issues with the President.
Meanwhile, Jonathan’s former aide, Reno Omokri, had severally debunked the rumour, saying “God forbid” that his ex-boss would join the ruling party which he believes is more corrupt than any other platform.
Some respondents, who spoke on Tuesday, expressed mixed reactions as many argued that the return of the ex-president would deny the southern part of the country the opportunity to produce a President for the next two tenures.
However, others opined that there would be no better candidate than the former President, saying Nigerians have realized their mistake and are ready to correct it.
A member of the APC, Fredric Ahmed, told our correspondent in Abuja that the party only needed a salable candidate, stressing that Nigerians want Goodluck back.
He said, “I think all that APC wants is a candidate that can give them victory in the 2023 general elections. So, if Goodluck joins the party, why not? Nigerians said they made a mistake in 2015, so let them correct the mistake. I personally don’t have issues with that.
“Having lost the battle in 2015, the former President has all the legal rights to run for the position. The Nigerian constitution allows for two tenures and he has only done one, he has the right to contest again.”
Meanwhile, a chieftain of the opposition party, PDP in Benue State, Mr. Alexander Ikyur, said that he is sure that Jonathan is nursing “no such ambition”.
According to him, “The northerners want him back so that they will return to power after 2023. This is not going to happen. We are wiser now, whatever the plan is, I assure you that Buhari and his northern cabals will be disgraced.
“GEJ is not a bad candidate, but with what we have on ground, he is not the right person from the South. We have other competent politicians who can stay for two terms.”
Another respondent, Mr. Micheal, a registered member of the PDP, said it was time for the South-east to produce a Nigerian president, alleging that the northerners were using Jonathan to block the region.
“They know very well that if the presidency doesn’t go to the South-east in 2023, there may be problems, that is why they are now wooing Goodluck Jonathan because they know that Igbos love him.
“We are not ignorant of their strategies, but they have failed already, whoever comes from the South-east will definitely get my support”, he added.
An-On-Air Personality, Micheal Adache said, “Goodluck should just maintain his respect and stay away from the presidential race, otherwise, he will lose his reputation.
“GEJ is respected all over Africa since he accepted defeat in 2015, so, I don’t see any reason for him to go so low to be nursing such ambition. He should just respect himself.”
Meanwhile, the presidential campaign posters of Jonathan were spotted in some areas of the Federal Capital Territory, last week.
The former president has remained mute on the speculation, other political topshots in the APC like a National Leader of the party, Bola Tinubu and the Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, have declared their intentions to run for presidency.