Again, members of the Aso Rock cabal have promised former President Goodluck Jonathan the 2023 presidential ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), SaharaReporters has gathered.
The cabal comprising some members of President Muhammadu Buhari’s extended family and friends are the powers behind the throne.
This group is said to have the ear of the President, influence policy-making and determine those who get major appointments.
Sources said the cabal members also warned the President against handing over to the vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and Bola Tinubu, national leader of the party.
“Buhari’s cabal members have asked Jonathan to prepare for the party’s ticket. They said they don’t want Tinubu or Osibanjo,” a presidential source told SaharaReporters.
At the moment, the top contenders for the presidency in the APC are the Tinubu, Osinbajo and Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State.
A former governor of Abia State, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, has also voiced his intention to join the presidential race.
Tinubu and Umahi have openly declared their intention to contest the coveted seat after their separate meetings with Buhari.
For Osinbajo, he has neither declared interest nor said a word on the matter, even though groups loyal to him have been clamouring for his candidacy.
Others who have presidential ambitions in the APC but have yet to declare include the Governor of Ekiti State and Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Dr Kayode Fayemi; Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi; and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele.
SaharaReporters further learnt that Jonathan had been under pressure to defect to the APC by the cabal.
The former President was said to have surprised the northern elite and the cabal by his disposition to the Buhari presidency despite all the dirt and campaign of calumny thrown at him and the PDP before the 2015 presidential election, which gave Buhari an unprecedented victory over an incumbent.
It was learnt that some cabal members had also been impressed that despite the Buhari government’s glaring failure, Jonathan had not openly criticised his predecessor or his administration, much unlike ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Obasanjo had written open letters condemning the Buhari government and also verbally berated it at any opportunity.
SaharaReporters learnt from sources that the establishment of ‘Almajiri’ schools by Jonathan to reduce a large number of out-of-school children in the North also scored the former president good points in the eyes of the northern cabal in the APC, especially with most of it now rotting away, even under a northerner as president.