The Bayelsa State chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Dennis Otiotio, has said that the former President, Goodluck Jonathan, is officially not yet a member of the APC in the state.
He said this in a chat with The PUNCH on Thursday morning.
According to him, Jonathan could only join the APC if he had been formally granted a waiver by the national chairman of the party, Adamu Abdullahi.
Otiotio spoke amid speculations that the former president had joined the APC in his Ogbia ward in Bayelsa.
He said, “I think the person you people should be asking the question is the national chairman of the party. He should be the one to grant him (Jonathan) waiver.
“As of now, he has not officially joined our party. Ask the national chairman if he has granted him a waiver.”
Even though a waiver is not required to join a political party in Nigeria, the APC constitution states that no person shall be eligible to contest any party position or office or be nominated by the party to be its candidate at any election, if the person is not a member of the party.
It adds that any party office holder interested in contesting an elective office (whether party office or office in a general election) shall resign and leave office 30 days prior to the date of the party primary.
However, some portions of the recently amended constitution state that the party’s National Executive Committee and its National Working Committee are free to grant a waiver to anyone who doesn’t meet the above criteria if they are convinced that granting such a waiver would be in the best interest of the party.
Clause 31.3 of the constitution titled, ‘Waiver’, reads in part, “Subject to the approval of the National Executive Committee, the National Working Committee may, in special circumstances, grant a waiver to a person seeking a national party office, who is otherwise not qualified under this constitution if, in its opinion, such a waiver is in the best interest of the party.
“Subject to the approval of the National Executive Committee, the National Working Committee may, in special circumstances, grant a waiver to a person seeking the office of President, Vice President, Governor, Deputy Governor, Senator, member of the House Representatives, who is otherwise not qualified under this constitution if, in its opinion, such a waiver is in the best interest of the party.”
The state APC chairman described Jonathan as “a big fish and an elder statesman”.
Otiotio said it would be great if Jonathan decides to formally move to the ruling party.