The claim that Ex-president Goodluck Jonathan has officially joined the 2023 presidential race under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) , having paid the mandatory N100 million for nomination forms, is now a subject of controversy as his aide told supporters in the ruling party to leave him alone.
There is still an uncertainty regarding whether the former President actually made the payment by himself or through other APC members clamoring for a Jonathan ‘Presidency’ in 2023, especially as he has not officially left the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Impeccable sources in Heritage Bank confirmed to PBA that a payment of N100 million payment was made on behalf of the ex-president for Nomination Form and Expression of Interest Form in two tranches on Monday, but failed to confirm if it was done directly or by proxy.
A northern group was, however, said to have purchased the forms on his behalf.
Efforts to reach the former president’s aide on telephone was not successful at the time of filing the report. One of his aides, Ike Eze subsequently reached our reporter explaining that those claiming he bought APC forms were acting on their own. He promised issue an official statement on behalf of his principal ‘ very soon’.
Our Abuja Correspondent Monday evening sighted the two separate letters from the Heritage Bank addressed to the National Secretariat of the APC confirming payment of N30 million for Expression of Interest Form and N70 million for the Nomination Form, the sum of which guaranteed the N100 million payment for participation in the ruling party’s presidential primary election from May 30 to June 1, 2022.
There have been speculations regarding alleged plans by the APC and power brokers in the North to plant the former President and leader of the opposition PDP as president in 2023 to forestall the possibility of a president of the Southeast extraction in 2023 and at the same time provide an opportunity for the office to return to the North after four years. Political pundits say that the calculation by the power brokers is being propelled by the knowledge that the Ijaw, South South leader, having previously served a four-year term will not be constitutionally eligible to run for a second term in 2026.
According to sources close to the arrangement, the power brokers hope that President Jonathan’s affiliation with the Southeast and the support he garnered from the region prior to and during his presidency between 2011 and 2015 before the PDP was defeated by the APC and incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari will be able to dilute the Southeast claim to the Presidency.
Prime Business Africa’s confirmation of President Jonathan’s willing participation as APC Presidential candidate in the 2023 general elections follows its earlier exclusive revelation of payment of the same sum by the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Godwin Emefiele.
The apex bank governor 24 hours after the exclusive report backtracked, saying he would be rejecting the form already purchased. Notwithstanding, Prime Business Africa has strong evidence of Emefiele’s active participation in the process as well as his spirited efforts to ensure he sails through.