Ex-Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan has reportedly backed out of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential race following inability to submit his forms before the deadline, party’s source revealed.
This might not be unconnected with the APC National Working Committee reported denial of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan a waiver to run in the primary.
The party’s National Working Committee (NWC) is headed by Senator Abdullahi Adamu, APC National Chairman.
Recall that the leadership of the APC in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State confirmed that Jonathan is a registered member of the party.
The APC Chairman in Ogbia ward 13, Mr Igori Freeman, told Daily Trust, Friday that Jonathan registered with the party immediately after the short-lived victory of David Lyon, the APC candidate in the 2019 governorship election in the state.
Although Jonathan is yet to announce his defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), under which he was elected Deputy Governor, Governor, Vice-President and President, the purchase of APC presidential forms for him had set tongues wagging.
A group called Nomadic Pastoralists and the Almajiri Communities led by one Ibrahim Abdullahi picked up the forms on Jonathan’s behalf on Monday, though a source later told Daily Trust that a northern governor paid for the forms.
But hours after the news went viral, Jonathan’s Media Adviser, Ikechukwu Eze, distanced his principal from the APC presidential race, saying he did not authorise the purchase of forms.
While social media was rife with the news of Jonathan’s defection, a picture of the former president meeting with Abdullahi Adamu, National Chairman of the APC, went viral.
During the meeting, it was reported that Jonathan referred to Adamu as “our chairman.’’
Few days after the election, two APC governors, Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi) and Mai Mala Buni (Yobe), visited Jonathan at his Bayelsa residence.
Subsequently, Jonathan held a series of meetings with APC stakeholders, both in Abuja and Bayelsa. He also became closer to President Muhammadu Buhari, paying several visits to Aso Rock.
On the contrary, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele has failed to submit his APC Presidential forms before the deadline, despite fighting numerous legal battles to allow him contest the presidential primary.
So far, 25 out of 28 APC presidential aspirants beat the May 13 deadline, for the submission of forms ahead of the party’s primary slated for May 30 to June 1.
These include former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; former Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio; former Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu; former Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha and former Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun.
Pastor Tunde Bakare; Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade; his Ebonyi State counterpart, Dave Umahi; Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi; former Minister of State, Education, Emeka Nwajiuba; former Senate President, Ken Nnamani; Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello; Jigawa State Governor, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar and former Zamfara State governor, Ahmed Yerima also submitted forms.
Other presidential aspirants who submitted their papers are Senator Ajayi Borroffice; Uju Kennedy Ohnenye, the only female aspirant; Pastor Nicholas Felix Nwagbo; former Speaker of Representative, Dimeji Bankole; President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan; AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina; former Minister of State, Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, former Minister of Information, Chief Ikeobasi Mokelu and Tein Jack Rich.
Meanwhile, APC says it would screen all aspirants contesting for the presidential position on its platform on May 23.
The party stated this Saturday, May 14, 2022 during the inauguration of the committees to screen all aspirants contesting the presidential, governorship, Senate, and House of Representatives elections.
According to the party’s Deputy National Chairman, Abubakar Kyari, who inaugurated the committee on behalf of the National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, 28 persons purchased the presidential nomination forms.
Kyari said, “The screening for the presidential candidates – we have so far 28 aspirants and as you are aware, some aspirants have started withdrawing their aspiration and as such on the 23rd of May this month they will be screened.”
Imran Muhammad, Buharist and APC member tweeted Saturday that ‘’APC Screening Committees will Screen: 1.145 Governorship aspirants 2. 351 Senatorial aspirants 3. 1,197 House of Representatives aspirants. The Screening is currently ongoing.’’
The party had closed the sale of expression of interest and nomination forms on Thursday, May 12, 2022, while the deadline for the submission of the forms was midnight on Friday, May 13, 2023.