Former President Goodluck Jonathan has met with Mallam Mamman Daura, President Muhammadu Buhari’s nephew and leader of the Aso Rock cabal, over his presidential ambition.
A Northern coalition had purchased the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential nomination and expression of interest forms for the former President.
The forms were purchased days after Jonathan had asked his supporters to “watch out,” when he was asked if he would contest.
Jonathan was also said to have joined the Bayelsa chapter of the APC.
However, sources later told SaharaReporters that claims by the former President that he did not authorise the purchase of the multi-million-naira forms were 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.
It was learnt that the arrangement was for the Jigawa governor to buy one for Jonathan and one for himself, so as not to raise any suspicion that the former President was indeed interested in joining the presidential race.
Jonathan is expected to contest the ruling party’s ticket with the likes of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos; former Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi; Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello; former Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, among others.
Though delegates of the ruling party are expected to pick a presidential candidate between May 29th and 30th, sources said the cabal is insisting on a consensus arrangement.
The consensus method will entail President Buhari anointing one of the aspirants, while the others simply step down for the aspirant as was done during the March 26 national convention of the APC, which produced Senator Abdullahi Adamu as the chairman of the party.
In a bid to force the consensus method on others, the APC had introduced a controversial section in its forms making provision for aspirants to step down.
Sources said Jonathan was promised the automatic ticket of the party during his meeting with Daura and other cabal members.
It was further learnt that Buhari has also adopted him as the consensus candidate APC.
“Goodluck Jonathan has visited Mamma Daura to seek APC consensus candidacy,” a top source told SaharaReporters on Tuesday.
“The cabal members have told Buhari to back Jonathan. The President, some NWC members led by the chairman, Adamu, APC governors and other key leaders of the party would soon meet with all the presidential aspirants at the villa,” another source in the Presidency said.
“The cabals don’t want Tinubu, Osibanjo or Amaechi.”
SaharaReporters had in the past reported how the Aso Rock cabal was pressurising Jonathan to defect to the APC.
He 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.