Speaking to The PUNCH in a telephone interview on Thursday, May 12, 2022, the state chairman said the former president would only join the APC if the National Chairman of the party, Abdullahi Adamu, formally grants him a waiver.
While a waiver isn’t a prerequisite for anyone to join a political party in Nigeria, the constitution of APC forbids any person who is not a member of the party from contesting for any position or office or being nominated by the party to be its candidate.
Reacting to the reports, Otiotio confirmed that Jonathan hasn’t officially joined the APC.
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) a waiver.
“As of now, he has not officially joined our party. Ask the national chairman if he has granted him a waiver.”
Otiotio added that it would be a great move if the former president decides to formally join the APC while describing him as, “a big fish and an elder statesman.”
Meanwhile, some sections of the recently amended APC constitution empower the party’s National Executive Committee and its National Working Committee to grant a waiver to anyone who falls short of the above criteria provided 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 are otherwise not qualified under this constitution if, in its opinion, such a waiver is in the best interest of the party.”
Recall that a northern group recently purchased the presidential Expression of Interest and Nomination forms of the APC for the former president but it’s still unclear if he has accepted it with about 24 hours before the submission deadline.