Former President Goodluck Jonathan may have been deceived by the Aso Rock cabal that he would get the automatic ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress to contest the 2023 presidential election, a presidential source told SaharaReporters on Monday.
The cabal comprising some members of President Muhammadu Buhari’s extended family and friends are the powers behind the throne.
This group led by Buhari’s nephew, Mallam Mamman Daura is said to have the ear of the President, influence policy-making and determine those who get major appointments.
SaharaReporters had recently reported how Jonathan met with Daura and other cabal members in Abuja where he was promised the automatic ticket of the APC.
He was told during the meeting that President Buhari would anoint him, while other aspirants will step down as it was done during the March 26 national convention of the APC, which produced Senator Abdullahi Adamu as the chairman of the party.
“He was deceived by the cabal and he fell for it, he is a joker. With all the promise, his name didn’t even appear on the list of those to be screened. That also prevented him from attending the PDP’s presidential primary election,” the presidential source said.
Speaking with SaharaReporters, one of Jonathan’s aides confirmed the former President was deceived by the cabal members so he could miss the convention of the Peoples Democratic Party.
He said Jonathan had agreed to attend the PDP convention held last Saturday after the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, visited him at his Maitama district residence in Abuja on May 17.
The promise by the cabal and APC National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu however made him shun the exercise organised by the party, despite having his picture in its convention’s programme booklet.
“I think he (Jonathan) was just deceived intensely to ensure he didn’t attend the PDP presidential primary.
“The APC Chairman told him they had to wait for President Buhari to come back from Malabo. After Buhari returned, they changed the tune and he (Jonathan) was unable to meet Buhari as promised by the chairman and cabal.
“Jonathan also travelled last night and will be back on Wednesday. But the problem now is that we heard Buhari is likely to have travelled by that Wednesday as well. So, the former President is confused, he seems to have trusted the cabal so well.
“You can see that his name is not even on the list that was released last night. The list was released after he left the country. His lawsuit judgement is no longer being considered as well; that was what they used to deceive him initially. This was someone who had assured PDP members that he would be at their convention and they printed his name and picture on their booklet but he didn’t show up, not knowing he was being deceived,” an aide to the former President told SaharaReporters.
A Federal High Court in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State on Friday ruled that former Jonathan was still eligible to contest in the 2023 presidential election on the grounds that he had only been elected into the office once, in 2011.
The trial judge, Justice Isa Hamma Dashen, in his judgement also held that Jonathan’s right to vie for the office of president again cannot be stopped by any retroactive law.
Earlier, SaharaReporters earlier reported that Jonathan is not on the list of presidential aspirants expected to be screened by the APC despite secretly submitting his N100 million presidential nomination and expression of interest forms to the National Chairman of the ruling party.
Names of the presidential aspirants for screening as listed by APC:
1. Chukwuemeja Uwaezuoke Nwajiuba
2. Badaru Abubakar
3. Robert A. Boroffice
4. Uju Ken-Ohanenye
5. Nicholas Felix
6. Nweze David Umahi
7. Ken Nnamani
8. Gbolahan B. Bakare
9. Ibikunle Amosun
10. Ahmed B. Tinubu
11. Ahmad Rufai Sani
12. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi
13. Oladimeji Sabon Bankole
14. John Kayode Fayemi
15. Godswill Obot Akpabio
16. Yemi Osinbajo
17. Rochas Anayo Okorocha
18. Yahaya Bello
19. Tein Jack-Rich
20. Christopher Onu
21. Ahmad Lawan
22. Ben Ayade
23. Ikeobasi Mokelu
Jonathan had recently rejected the presidential form of the ruling APC purchased for him, purportedly by a group of supporters from the northern region.
Speaking through his Media Adviser, Ikechukwu Eze, the former president said it was an insult for the group to have bought him the forms without his permission.
However, sources had told SaharaReporters that claims by the former President that he did not authorise the purchase of the multi-million-naira forms are far from the truth.
“Contrary to his denials, former President Goodluck Jonathan gave over N200 million to the governor of Jigawa, Mohammed Badaru, to purchase the APC nomination and expression of interest forms for him,” a source privy to the arrangement had told SaharaReporters.
Interestingly, the Jigawa governor, Badaru had also joined other interested presidential aspirants to vie for the ticket of the APC by buying the N100 million nomination and expression of interest forms.
“I will join the Presidential race since everyone knows I’m a highly qualified person to do the job,” Badaru was quoted as saying during an APC stakeholders’ meeting held at Government House in Dutse recently.
The governor was also said to have told the gathering during the meeting that he was pressurised by his colleagues to contest for the presidential seat.
His media aide, Auwalu Sankara, had said his principal had sought President Muhammadu Buhari’s blessings before buying the forms.
But SaharaReporters learnt that the Jigawa governor had bought the forms and come up with the statements as a ruse to deceive Nigerians; as he was indeed working for Jonathan.
It was further learnt that Jonathan had backed out of the plan and swiftly come up with the denial after the APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, had refused to guarantee that the former President would be the consensus candidate of the ruling party.
Jonathan was Nigeria’s leader as a member of the PDP, which is now an opposition party.
“The reason why he (Jonathan) gave him that much money – over N200 million – was that he asked the governor to buy himself a form too in order to cover up the deal,” a source had said.
“And upon purchasing the form, Jonathan alerted Buhari. Buhari told him to meet with the APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, but Adamu said he can’t guarantee him as a consensus candidate.
“At that point, GEJ (Goodluck Ebele Jonathan) started denying that he purchased the form,” another source had said.