Former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki has declared that former President Goodluck Jonathan would not be available for the All Progressives Congress (APC) to draft into the ruling party’s 2023 presidential race.
Saraki stated this on Tuesday shortly after he led members of the PDP reconciliation committee on a visit to the Abuja residence of the former president.
The meeting with Jonathan is coming amid growing rapport between some leaders of the APC and the former president, a development that has triggered controversy and speculations in the media that the ruling party might be courting Dr Jonathan for the 2023 presidential race.
Despite frequent meetings between Jonathan and the APC chieftains, the former president has continued to be non-committal in responding to questions about his rumoured moves to join the ruling party.
But speaking with journalists after the meeting, Saraki said those “disturbing” the former president into quitting the PDP should perish the thought as Jonathan remained a PDP man to the core.
According to him, Jonathan was unwavering in his commitment to see the PDP bounce back to national reckoning, assuring that the former president would avail the PDP his experience, time and resources to return it to power, particularly at the centre.
Saraki said: “We are members of the national reconciliation and strategy committee set up by the party and part of our task is to meet with our former President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
“We are starting off with our former President and we are here to let him know what our plans are and also to hear his own views and advice on what we need to do and how to do it as well as how we need to strengthen the party and reconcile aggrieved members in order to bring about unity and focus in our party.
“He is also ready to work with the reconciliation committee to play his own role. That is a great step for the party. We have put that behind us.
“All those people of the other party that would like to come and disturb our leaders. Our leaders are here and they are ready to work for the party.”
The former Senate President expressed delight that the meeting with Jonathan, which lasted for about 90 minutes, was “very productive”.
“It was a very useful meeting. He gave us his views and we are very happy. He reassured all of us of his commitment to the PDP and he told us that he is still ready to offer his time, experience and resources to strengthen the party and that is very strong and important for us. Of course, you know there are funny issues going on but we are leaving this place very happy”, Saraki added.
Saraki was, however, evasive when asked if the meeting discussed the possibility of Jonathan vying for the 2023 presidential ticket of the PDP, saying that the former president’s resolve to work in the interest of the opposition party were commendable.
“We spoke about what role former Presidents like him will play and he left us feeling very happy that yes, he will like to play that role in the PDP and helping our committee to move forward,” Saraki said.
A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim and a former House of Reps Leader, Mulikat Adeola-Akande also attended the meeting.