Estimated reading time: 10 minute(s)
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders on Tuesday vowed to resisit any attempt by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to “snatch” former President Goodluck Jonathan from the opposition party.
There were rumours that the APC is considering Dr. Jonathan as its presidential candidate in the 2023 general elections.
The speculation increased after some APC leaders visited the former president.
But, former Senate President Dr Bukola Saraki said Jonathan will not be available for the APC to draft into the ruling party’s 2023 presidential race.
He spoke shortly after he led members of the PDP reconciliation committee on a visit to Jonathan at his Abuja home.
The meeting with Jonathan came on the heels of perceived growing rapport between some leaders of the APC and the former president.
The development triggered speculations that the ruling party may be courting Jonathan for the 2023 presidential race.
Despite frequent meetings between Jonathan and the APC chieftains, the former president has continued to be non-committal in responding to questions about his rumoured moves to join the ruling party.
But speaking with journalists after the meeting, Saraki said those “disturbing” the former president into quitting the PDP should perish the thought as Jonathan remained a PDP man to the core.
According to him, Jonathan was unwavering in his commitment to see the PDP bounce back to national reckoning, adding that the former president would avail the PDP of his experience, time and resources to return it to power, particularly at the centre.
Saraki said: “We are members of the national reconciliation and strategy committee set up by the party and part of our task is to meet with our former President Dr Goodluck Jonathan.
“We are starting with our former President and we are here to let him know what our plans are and also to hear his views and advice on what we need to do and how to do it as well as how we need to strengthen the party and reconcile aggrieved members to bring about unity and focus in our party.
“He is also ready to work with the reconciliation committee to play his role. That is a great step for the party. We have put that behind us.
“All those people of the other party that would like to come and disturb our leaders. Our leaders are here and they are ready to work for the party”.
The former Senate President expressed delight that the meeting with Jonathan, which lasted for about 90 minutes, was “very productive”.
“It was a very useful meeting. He gave us his views and we are very happy. He reassured all of us of his commitment to the PDP and he told us that he is still ready to offer his time, experience and resources to strengthen the party and that is very strong and important for us.
“Of course, you know funny issues are going on but we are leaving this place very happy”, Saraki added.
Saraki was, however, evasive when asked if the meeting discussed the possibility of Jonathan vying for the 2023 presidential ticket of the PDP, saying that the former president’s resolve to work in the interest of the opposition party were commendable.
“We spoke about what role former Presidents like him will play and he left us feeling very happy that yes, he would like to play that role in the PDP and helping our committee to move forward”, Saraki said.
Other members of the PDP reconciliation committee that accompanied Saraki to the meeting included former governors Liyel Imoke (Cross River); Ibrahim Shema (Katsina); and Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe).
A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim and a former House of Reps Leader, Mulikat Adeola-Akande also attended the meeting.