Fresh insights into the jostling for the All Progressives Congress, APC 2023 presidential ticket have revealed how the plot to project and draft former President Goodluck Jonathan into the party’s 2023 presidential race collapsed.
The collapse of the Jonathan plot ostensibly pushed by some elements in the leadership of the party with the intention of taking over power from him in 2027 came against the background of whispers that projecting Jonathan would further humiliate Transportation Minister Chibuke Amaechi.
Meanwhile, despite claims of gains made by canvassers for Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Saturday Vanguard understands that two unusual political camps in the APC were already set to work against him.
The two camps include close aides of the president who have not forgiven him for supposedly overreaching himself while serving as acting president and the camp of his erstwhile political benefactor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Sources privy to the move to project Dr. Jonathan as the APC presidential candidate in 2023 disclosed that the plot was indeed real with associates of the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami working together with two northwest governors and one Northeast governor to actualize the campaign.
The APC chieftains, it was gathered, had also recruited a close associate of Dr. Jonathan’s from Kebbi State who served in his government to Marshall the plan.
However, despite the influence of the group in the party and their privileged walk-in opportunity to the villa, the plot was said to have collapsed on further interrogation.
Among the issues raised in killing the Jonathan plot was the notable question of convincing Nigerians to buy a product that was thoroughly abused eight years ago.
“How do we go back to Nigerians to tell them that this man we said was not good in 2015, is now good? How do we sell him,” a source privy to one of the governors disclosed to Saturday Vanguard.
Another consideration was the Amaechi factor. It was gathered that a school of thought within the presidency was strongly against the Jonathan candidacy on the claim that it would be unconscionable given the role played by Amaechi in enthroning President Muhammadu Buhari in power.
Saturday Vanguard reports that in canvassing Buhari for the presidency in 2015 that Amaechi was loathed in many parts of the South-South for betraying his ‘brother’.
“So, how do you look Amaechi in the face and tell him that you are presenting Jonathan who he opposed to bring Buhari,” the source quipped. That was against the background of the continuing hope by the Amaechi camp for the 2023 presidential ticket.
Noting how Amaechi’s proxy, Dr. Dakuku Peterside was denied a second term as director-general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA the source said that projecting Jonathan would have been too much for Amaechi to take.
Another source privy to the Jonathan plot to field him as the APC presidential ticket in 2023 disclosed that the former president became disenchanted with the PDP after the opposition party continued to ignore him both in Bayelsa and at the national level.
At a meeting to ponder the option of his return to power last December attended by youth activists from the six geopolitical zones in Yenagoa, attendees were told of how the PDP had continued to humiliate the former president.
“We were told that the PDP could not consider giving him (Jonathan) a slot to fill either in the Bayelsa or even at the national level,” the source who was present at the strategic meeting of youths disclosed.
Meanwhile, Saturday Vanguard learnt at the weekend that the presidential contenders in the APC are subtly weighing in to influence the choice of a national chairman of the party ahead of the national convention scheduled for next month.
Four names were said to have been marked down for the chairmanship of the contest with some of them being actively pushed and bankrolled by some declared and yet to declare presidential hopefuls.
The four according to reliable sources include the immediate past governor of Nasarawa State, Tanko Al-Makura who is being pushed by members of the defunct Congress For Progressive Change, CPC. He was subsequently adopted by one of the declared presidential candidates from the Southwest.
Another chairmanship candidate said to have been under consideration is Saliu Mustapha, a former Deputy National Chairman of the CPC. It was gathered that he was being canvassed by a presidential hopeful from a juicy government agency.
A third aspirant Bawa Bwari, a former minister of mines and chief whip of the House of Representatives. Bwari it was gathered was being canvassed from within the Federal Executive Council, with a well-known Buhari protegee in the cabinet coordinating his cause.
It was gathered that the Bwari candidacy arose following issues raised over the suitability of some of the other major candidates that had earlier declared.
A fourth candidate being pushed by some chieftains is former governor of Nasarawa State, Senator Abdullahi Adamu. Senator Adamu is presently chairman of the party’s reconciliation committee who has been going round the states. His canvassers say that his emergence as chairman would benefit the party as it would enable him to from that position continue on what he has been doing.