Mai Mala Buni, national caretaker chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), says it is not in his party’s plan to field former President Goodluck Jonathan for the 2023 presidency.
Buni’s statement comes weeks after he led APC governors to the residence of the former president in November 2020.
While details of the meeting were not given, an insider had told this newspaper that “2023 permutations are taking shape.”
But speaking with BBC Hausa on Wednesday, Buni said Jonathan was not in the party’s agenda for the 2023 presidential race.
“You are talking of democracy and at the same time talking of giving him. Don’t forget even when President Buhari went to revalidate party membership in Daura, he said it is the people at the grassroots that will select leaders upwards; that no one should expect to be crowned from Abuja,” the Yobe governor said.
“This has shown that in APC now, it is from the lower level upwards. Not that people would be imposed from the top.
“Then who are we to say we are considering Jonathan? How? It has to be a party affair and once it is a party affair, then we are talking about the people. So, we have nothing like that in our agenda.”
Buni also clarified that there was “nothing beneath” the earlier visit to the former president.
“We must give credit to former President Jonathan on the issue of peace — how he accepted defeat in 2015 and resigned to fate. That has qualified him to be a statesman and he is now among our fathers,” he said.
“Our visit to Jonathan was pronounced because of his status as a former president; that could be why some may think there was something beneath.”
Meanwhile, Sule Lamido, a former governor of Jigawa state, had said the APC governors rooting for Jonathan to be the APC’s presidential flag bearer in 2023 are “hypocrites”.