Protesters, belonging to the youth wing of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in their hundreds, on Thursday, stormed the national secretariat of the party in Abuja to register their disapproval over alleged plans by the party to impose a presidential candidate on them.
Arriving at the party’s headquarters in the earlier hours, the protesters under the aegis of APC North-South Patriotic Coalition (ANSPAC), disrupted the hitherto peaceful human and vehicular movements along the Blantyre Street, housing the ruling party.
The protesters said imposing former president Goodluck Jonathan as the APC’s presidential candidate would ultimately kill the party.
Addressing journalists, convener of of the group, Alhaji Toyin Rahim, wondered how the party would justify bringing someone the APC had called corrupt and incompetent back to power.
Rahim advised the leadership of the party “not fall victim of ill-advised action that can push the party out of power”.
He said: “The rumour has been around for some time now that former President Jonathan of the was being wooed by some power players within the APC to join the Party and fly its presidential ticket for the 2023 election.
“What began as a mere rumour seems to be gathering momentum so close to the presidential primary of our great party. 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.
Rahim maintained that the move was an indictment against President Muhammadu Buhari by making Nigerians believe that the APC lied about the true performance of the Jonathan’s administration.
“Are we now saying we lied to Nigerians and that we have now discovered that Jonathan was much better and that he should return to continue his good works that nobody can see?
“One thing our party’s leaders must know is that if for any tragic reason the mistake is made to impose Jonathan on APC and the goodwill of our Party and that of Mr. President make him win and he becomes president again, the likelihood of him switching loyalty to PDP is high.
“Already, not a few members of the Party are complaining that the APC leadership has been taken over by the PDP decampees, now you want to give them the presidency too? That’s a recipe for a disastrous end of our and we shall not accept it.
“We shall do whatever needs to be done to ensure that the Jonathan project does not happen because it will sink our party. It is certain that any attempt to give Jonathan a free presidential ticket of the APC will see the mass exodus of critical stakeholders from the Party and make the Party lose power.
“What becomes of those who have been party members from inception who have laboured to build the APC? What becomes of real APC members who have purchased the presidential nomination Form at a whopping N100 million each? What becomes of those who will still declare their presidential ambition and buy the Form? It is on good authority that former President Jonathan has declared that the only condition that would make him join the APC is if he is assured to get the presidential ticket of APC automatically. This is not going to happen,” he said.
He appealed to leadership of the party to ensure that the news of imposing Jonathan does not happen, saying it won’t serve or do the party any good but certainly make APC lose power at the center and the current majority control of states.