The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday said there was no immediate plan to field former President Goodluck Jonathan as its presidential candidate in the 2023 general election.
Yobe State Governor and Chairman of the APC Caretaker/ Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Mai Mala Buni, dismissed reports that some northern APC governors were wooing the former President.
He told the BBC Hausa Service: “Those peddling such information are afraid. But for now, there is nothing in the APC which has anything to do with the aspiration for 2023.
“Even if someone wants to base assumption on our recent visit to him during his birthday, we were there because of his capacity as a former President of Nigeria.
“We must give credit to former President Jonathan on the issue of peace – how he accepted defeat in 2015 and resigned to fate.
“That has qualified him to be a statesman and he is now among our fathers.”
Buni said it was customary to visit one another and exchange pleasantries.
The governor said: “Our visit to Jonathan was pronounced because of his status as a former President. That could be why some may think there was something beneath.
“There are numerous such visits to leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), APC. Why are others not being mentioned?”
When asked whether the APC would consider Jonathan if he indicates interest, Buni said the option was not foreclosed, but that the party would decide.
His words: “Even in America where we got this democracy, I have not seen where people are being confined to a limit.
“You are talking of democracy and at the same time talking of giving him a ticket.
“Don’t forget even when President Buhari went to revalidate party membership in Daura, he said it is the people at the grassroots that will select leaders upwards, that no one should expect to be crowned from Abuja.
“This has shown that in APC now, it is from the lower level upwards, not that people would be imposed from the top.
“Who are we to say we are considering Jonathan? How? It has to be a party affair and once it is a party affair, then, we are talking about the people. So, we have nothing like that on our agenda.
“What we have now, and is of importance to us, is to ensure peace amongst party members.
“Also, to bring members of other political parties, whichever party it might be, whoever wants, should come into the APC. This is our plan for now.
“We are yet to start talking about aspirants; we are not in any discussion about aspirants.”
A former PDP chairman, Abubakar Baraje, said the party was not perturbed by the APC governors’ visit to Jonathan.
He is confident that Dr Jonathan will not yield to what he called the political antics of the APC governors.
Baraje told reporters: “The Jonathan I know will not be hoodwinked by the APC governors’ overtures.
“Dr Jonathan will continue to talk and laugh with them. If they are not careful, some of them that went on that visit might end up declaring for PDP.
“The issue of winning Jonathan to their side is not a threat to PDP because we know and trust Jonathan. We know who he is.
“We know that he realises that PDP has done more than enough in his life and he is always saying it. So, we are very confident of the former president.”
On the crisis rocking the PDP nationwide, the politician sounded optimistic that the party would come out of the challenges stronger and spring surprises in the 2023 polls.
“There is a very big hope for the PDP in 2023. PDP has a kind of internal control mechanism to resolve the crisis,” he said.