2023: Anti-Jonathan protest rocks APC secretariat as Osinbajo, Bakare pick forms
The national secretariat of All Progressives Congress, APC, was, yesterday, besieged by scores of angry protesters who kicked against moves by the party leadership to woo former President Goodluck Jonathan into its fold, with a view to ceding the 2023 presidential ticket to him.
This came on a day Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Serving Overseer of the Citadel Global Community Church, Pastor Tunde Bakare, purchased the Presidential Nomination and Expression of Interest forms of the party.
This is even as former Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, yesterday, declared his intention to run for the presidency in 2023 on the platform of the APC.
While chairman of The Progressive Project, TPP, an umbrella organization of all support groups advocating the actualisation of the Osinbajo presidency in 2023, Senator Kabiru Gaya, led the groups to pick the forms, Bakare, on his part, promised to hit the ground running should he pick the ticket and end up as Nigeria’s president.
The protesters, under the aegis of APC North-South Patriotic Coalition, in a petition submitted to the party, noted that for the APC to maintain its winning streak, it must retrace its step “in order to avoid losing power in the next series of elections.”
Chairman of the coalition, Alhaji Toyin Rahim, who read the petition, said: “The rumour has been around for some time now that former President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP was being wooed by some power players within the APC to join the Party and fly its presidential ticket for the 2023 election.
“This Jonathan project cannot fly simply because it cannot help our party and we want to do our best to ensure that our party does not fall victim of ill-advised action that can push the party out of power.
“One of the most telling negative implications of such an action is that the APC does not have anyone of electoral value who can win election for us except we smuggle in a former president we defeated seven years ago for his glaring incompetence as president.
”In APC today, there are presidential aspirants with credible pedigrees and humongous electoral value and capacity.
“It is not only unnecessary to smuggle Jonathan into our great party, it is also self-indicting and meaning that our party’s performance in office has been worse than an administration that Nigerians thoroughly rejected and voted APC in 2015.”
Osinbajo best person for the job —Gaya
Speaking shortly after picking the forms on behalf of the Vice President, Gaya said: “I have been in politics for many years and I understand at certain level how politics should be played.
”I believe it is a game of give and take. We have served for the president in this country for eight years under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, so the presidency should go to the South and that is why we said the best person to handle this matter is somebody who has been in the system.
“If he is sworn-in today at the Eagle Square, by tomorrow morning, he can pick up because he is already in the system. I was a governor and I know what it takes. When you are sworn-in, it takes time for you to learn and move forward, but when you are in the system, you don’t have that problem.”
On the increasing number of aspirants, Gaya said: “Democracy is a game of numbers. Every aspirant that is contesting is qualified, nobody is not qualified to contest election but we are saying we should look along the line and see who is the best material and I am sure if we put them together, all of them together will pick Osinbajo as candidate.”
I’ll support whoever wins APC ticket —Bakare
Similarly, Bakare, who spoke shortly after picking the forms, said: “I trust God helping us with men of good will, East, West, North and South from the country across party lines, male and female who will rise and rebuild our nation in such a way that the devastation we are experiencing we would see it no more.
“Our programme is very simple: peace, prosperity and progress and possibilities. Upon those four pillars, Nigeria will be rebuilt and the hope of many citizens will be rekindled. ”We are all going to join hands to make it happen. No other nation will fix our nation; it will take Nigerians from all works of life, within and without, and those in the Diaspora to join hands together to build our nation.
“God rules in the affairs of men and he gives it to whoever he wills. A southerner is a Nigerian, a northerner is a Nigerian. We trust God that the best, the fittest and the most competent will emerge and the one, who truly loves our people, especially the poor, will rise to fix our nation. Many people run in a race but only one person will wear the crown.”
I’ll help Nigeria achieve destiny —Amosun
Meanwhile, Senator Amosun, who announced his presidential bid at an event in Abuja, promised to help Nigeria achieve destiny.
In his speech, the lawmaker said: “My wide range experiences in both the private and public sector in political parties and political alliances in two of the three branches of government, that is the legislative and executive arm, and also at every level of government have given me the requisite insights and political vision and deep understanding and strength of Nigeria’s diversity adequate to provide the needed leadership that will galvanise our country to achieve our manifest destiny as the leading nation, not only in Africa but in the black world,” he said.
“Today, I’m formally announcing my candidacy for the presidential ticket of our great party, the All Progressives Congress and the presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“I am so conscious of the immensity of the task that lies ahead in our country and the magnitude of the sacrifice anybody who wishes to lead our country into the next phase must make.”