The National Vice Chairman, North West, of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Salihu Lukman, has said as far as the leadership of the party was concerned, former President Goodluck Jonathan was not even under consideration as presidential candidate of the APC in the 2023 elections.
Speculations are rife lately that the power brokers within the party and some elements in the presidency were hell bent on imposing Jonathan as the candidate of the party.
But reacting to the development in a telephone interview yesterday, Lukman said it would be impossible to impose a presidential candidate on the party ahead of the 2023 elections.
He insisted that all the aspirants that have purchased forms would be given a level playing ground.
“As far the leadership of APC is concerned and I am a member of that leadership, that (imposition) is not going to be possible. As far as the majority, indeed all of us (NWC) are concerned, everybody that bought the nomination form will be given a level playing field, so far such a person is qualified to be a member of APC and is qualified to aspire for such an important position.
“The campaign leading to the emergence of the candidate and the eventual trend of delegates to the convention will be driven based on the aspiration of bringing out somebody that is acceptable to Nigerians on the basis of which the party can win. It is not on the basis of individual scheming.”
The party chieftain stated categorically that Jonathan was not qualified to be the presidential candidate of APC.
His words: “There are clear guidelines in terms of how individual members of the party qualified to emerge as the candidate of the party. One, through the sale of nomination forms. Assuming Jonathan claimed to be a member of the party, he has not bought the forms to the best of our knowledge. How do you come from the back door?
“Secondly, as far as our memory can recall, the party became popular on the basis of the campaign against the bad governance of Jonathan and nothing has changed that we can now say has qualified him to emerge as the arrowhead of our campaign in 2023.
“As far as I am concerned, these two reasons disqualified Jonathan from even aspiring to become the candidate of the party. I don’t know where he is coming from. Unfortunately, in this country, where there is the mentality that everything is possible, but it must be clearly stated that as far as the leadership of the party is concerned, the person of Jonathan can’t be under consideration.”
When reminded that the National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, last week, said 28 aspirants purchased the presidential nomination forms, including the former president, whose form was bought by a group of Pastoralists and Almajiri communities, Lukman dismissed this claim.
“I am waiting for anybody to present evidence that a form has been submitted for Jonathan before the deadline for submission. I am waiting to see such evidence. You know, such a form will contain all details including the membership details of Jonathan. That I have not seen. Maybe somebody is hiding his form somewhere else. I am not aware Jonathan bought the nomination form,” he said.
Culled from THISDAY