The support groups of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu have declared that the rumoured presidential ambition of former President Goodluck Jonathan on the platform of the APC poses no threat to their principals.
Jonathan had recently revealed that he was still considering the call on him to contest the 2023 presidential election.
However, the support groups of the various presidential aspirants contesting on the platform of APC have insisted that the purported entrants of Jonathan into the race would not scuttle the chances of their principals ahead of the presidential primary of the party slated for May 30 and June 1, 2022.
Reacting, the Tinubu Support Group (TSG) said that it remained unperturbed about the speculation that Jonathan would contest on the platform of APC.
TSG Head of Media, Mr. Tosin Adeyanju noted that Tinubu was already focused on the presidential primary and has been reaching out to delegates.
He stated: “The more the merrier. We welcome everyone to the race. Alhaji Ahmed Bola Tinubu is a democrat that believes in a democratic context. We are focused on the primaries, which is what the party constitution stipulates. We are equally reaching out to all delegates coming for the primaries.
“Other aspirants before him have equally dropped the president’s name as the anointed one. “Therefore, he will not be the last to say so moving towards primaries. The party must choose the most popular aspirant at the primaries in other for APC to be able to win the general election and our principal fit into this.
Adeyanju thought that the purported coming of Jonathan to APC would not jeopardise the chances of the former Governor of Lagos state.
He added: “He will not (scuttle Tinubu’s chances) because he would have to submit his credentials and records to the party delegates for scrutiny. Asiwaju’s record speaks for him and that is why he is running on his record and his democratic credentials.”
Also, Osinbajo Support Movement, said it has no reason to be jittery over the purported coming of Jonathan.
The Convener, Mr. Badmus Olawale, said the law signed by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2018 forbids Jonathan from contesting in 2023.
The Act intends to ensure that where a Vice President succeeds that president and where a deputy governor succeeds a governor, he can no more contest for that office more than once more.
Olawale said: “We have no reason to (be jittery). First, the law signed by Mr. President about a sitting Vice President completing the tenure of his/her principal has stipulated that such a person can only contest once more – which means he cannot swear an oath for the office of the President more than twice. GEJ has completed the tenure of late Umar Yar’Adua and he has equally contested on his own and won in 2011.”
On the speculation that Jonathan might be anointed by Buhari, Olawale insisted that every aspirant contesting on the platform of APC needs the blessings of the President, adding that Jonathan is not a member of the APC.
He noted that it was laughable to abhor the thought that Jonathan’s entrants into the race would scuttle Osinbajo’s chances.
His words: “It will be laughable to even think such. How do we market him to the delegates, party members, and Nigerians in general despite our campaigns against him in 2015? Is the APC going to say, oh! we are sorry it was an error removing Jonathan and we want to bring him back?”
On her part, the Head of Media, Governor Yahaya Bello Presidential Campaign Organisation, Ms. Yemi Kolapo said the former President was welcomed to the race just like other aspirants.
She added that regardless of the number of people that showed interest, Bello would be on the ballot.
Kolapo said: “Jonathan is welcome to APC just like others. The space is enough for all to fly. However, regardless of the number of people who show interest in the APC presidential ticket, Governor Yahaya Bello will be on the ballot.”
In his response, the Personal Assistant/ Head of Media to the former Governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha, Dr. Ebere Nzewuji said Okorocha stands out among all the aspirants given the mood of the nation now and his antecedents.
He said the ruling party knows Okorocha’s credentials, adding that it doesn’t matter if former President Jonathan joins the race.
Nzewuji noted that while the nation was threatened by people agitating for separation, insecurity, and a dwindling economy, Okorocha has his signature in all the nooks and crannies of the nation.
Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja