A former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri, says Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, can’t run as Jonathan’s mate in the 2023 presidential election.
Top sources within the All Progressives Congress had earlier told online newspaper, SaharaReporters, that the APC is considering giving a joint ticket to Jonathan and Nasir El-Rufai for the 2023 presidential election.
“There are plans already to pair El-Rufai with Jonathan for 2023. We believe both forces are strong and have goodwill in their regions and are good for the party,” one of the sources confirmed to SaharaReporters.
It was learnt that there had been pressure on Jonathan to defect to the APC and run for president in 2023 on the ruling party’s platform.
Some party chieftains, including governors, had visited Jonathan at his Abuja residence last November on his 63rd birthday.
The APC team’s visit was led by the Chairman Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee, who is also the acting national chairman of the party, Governor Mai Mala Buni.
Other members of the delegation include David Umahi, Ebonyi State governor, who recently defected from the PDP to the APC; Atiku Bagudu, Kebbi State governor, who is also the chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum; Abubakar Badaru, Jigawa State governor; Chief Ken Nnamani, a former Senate President; and Alhaji Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, ex-presidential liaison office to the National Assembly.
The APC leadership visit to Jonathan had generated speculations, which SaharaReporters say it has confirmed to be more than a friendly visit or a courtesy call on a former president.
Speaking on Wednesday while featuring on a PUNCH Online interview programme, The Roundtable, Omokri, however, said his former principal has no intention to run for president in 2023.
He said, “They are trying to put that story out there to put pressure as to promote Nasir El-Rufai as a presidential candidate.
“I spoke to former President Jonathan just before this interview. That story is a lie, quote me. Nasir El-Rufai will be the last person if former President Jonathan is thinking of running, of which he is not even thinking of running.”
On the defection rumours, Omokri said that Jonathan has always been a member of a political party all his life.
“The best judge of future behaviour is past behaviours. Former President Jonathan has been in one party all through his life. He is 63 years old and he doesn’t have that kind of history. He doesn’t have that kind of reputation. To the best of my knowledge, former President Jonathan is not leaving the People Democratic Party, He is a very loyal man just like me,” he said.