There is speculation that the APC wants Mr Jonathan to drop the PDP and then fight for the ruling party’s presidential ticket.
Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), may have deliberately avoided the PDP National Congress which had just concluded in Abuja.
Jonathan said on Friday he would leave Abuja for Nairobi, Kenya, on Saturday to attend an African Union seminar on promoting peace, security and stability in Africa.
However, some PDP leaders believe the former president was simply using the trip as a “practical excuse” to walk away from the convention.
“If he was really interested in Congress and party affairs, he would be there for a moment and maybe give a short speech before his trip on Saturday,” said a PREMIUM TIMES leader. “He can also send his former deputy, former Vice President Namadi Sambo, or someone else to deliver a message of goodwill on his behalf.
Party insiders say Bayelsa Governor Douye Diri of Mr Jonathan and Oyo state counterpart Oluseyi Makinde met with the former president on Friday to persuade him to attend Congress.
Our sources say that when Mr Jonathan said he had regular flights to Nairobi, the governor urged him to make at least a brief visit to the convention venue. They also offer to arrange flights for his journey after the event if necessary. Mr Jonathan refused, as PREMIUM TIMES found.
When the newspaper contacted the media adviser Mr. Jonathan, Ikechukwu Eze, on Sunday morning, he asked the newspaper to send him a message on WhatsApp.
He has not answered questions about Mr Deere and Mr Makinde meeting with the former President at the time of this report.
Mr Eze is currently with Mr Jonathan in Nairobi.
Prior to the Congress, before the list of Bayelsa delegates was drawn up, Governor Deere met with Mr Jonathan to ask him to direct the delegates on the progress of the event. Our sources say Mr Jonathan agrees.
Aside from his absence from Congress on Saturday, the former president did not attend a meeting of the PDP National Executive Committee, nor did he participate in efforts to resolve the party’s unresolved internal crisis.
There is speculation that the All Progressive Congress wants to nominate Jonathan as its candidate for the 2023 presidential election.
Former Vice President Mr Jonathan, Namadi Sambo, was also not present at the Congress.
Mr Jonathan and Olusegun Obasanjo, who has also stayed away from the party, are two living former presidents born to the PDP, who have ruled Nigeria for 16 consecutive years.