Following widespread speculations that he is allegedly contemplating taking another shot at the nation’s topmost job, Director General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), Dr. Salihu Lukman, has cautioned former President Goodluck Jonathan against vying for the exalted seat in 2023.
In a piece entitled, “APC’s High-Profile Membership Recruitment and Issues for 2023,” Lukman argued that Jonathan stands the risk of rubbishing his hard-earned reputation if the alleged bid fails to materialise.
Governors Dave Umahi and Ben Ayade of Ebonyi and Cross River states, who recently dumped the People’s Democratic Party (Party) for the All Progressives Congress (APC), are speculated to be interested in the race.
Since the 2019 gubernatorial election in Bayelsa when APC leaders reportedly secured Jonathan’s support for its then candidate, Chief David Lyon, there have been insinuations that the Nigerian ex-leader would be pitching tent with the ruling party at the centre.
Some have even claimed that as part of the deal, Jonathan had been offered the presidential ticket for 2023. Amid the conjectures, Secretary of the APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CEPC), Senator John Akpanudoedehe, stated that new members were entitled to vie for political offices of their choice.
The PGF DG, who lauded the party’s poaching of top shots, wondered why Jonathan’s reported move was being “reduced to issue of contesting election.”
He maintained that the likes of the ex-President deserve to be given moral leadership roles in the APC board of trustees in the event he joins the party.
Lukman said: “Assuming someone like former President Jonathan agrees to join the APC and he fails to emerge as the presidential candidate of the party for the 2023 election, what will happen to him?
“As Nigerians, we must begin to take steps to protect our leaders. As APC members, we campaigned against former President Jonathan in 2015. As President, the ex-leader made every effort to block the emergence of APC in 2013.”
“But those should not be the reference point. The reference point should be the historic decision of former President Jonathan to concede defeat in 2015 even before the final votes were counted.
“With that, former President Jonathan ranked himself as one of those who fought and defended Nigeria’s democracy. On no account therefore, should any political party be allowed to push former President Jonathan to diminish his stature, either as an aspirant or a candidate for any office. Doing so will mean that we want him to gamble away all his legendary achievements.”