Goodluck Jonathan, Nasir El-Rufai
According to new reports, the ruling All Progressives Congress is considering giving a joint ticket to former President Goodluck Jonathan and Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, for the 2023 presidential election.
Top sources within the party told SaharaReporters that Jonathan is being considered as a strong voice in the southern region, while El-Rufai is being packaged to represent northern interests and later become the president when the presidency is again zoned to the North.
"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 All Progressives Congress and run for president in 2023 on the ruling party's platform.
Some APC 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 have confirmed to be more than a friendly visit or a courtesy call on a former president.
It was learnt that the visit was a continuation of the APC scheme to woo Jonathan to the party by a caucus in the party that feels more comfortable to have the ex-President in power than the national leader of the party, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu.
Buni had denied that the APC was looking in the direction of Jonathan, saying, "Those peddling such information, they are afraid.
"Even if someone wants to base assumption on our recent visit to him during his birthday, we were there because of his capacity as a former President of Nigeria.
"Again, even if there is nothing when we are talking of peaceful coexistence, we must give credit to former President Jonathan on the issue of peace; how he accepted defeat in 2015 and resigned to fate. That has qualified him to be a statesman, and he is now among our fathers."
On whether the APC would accept Jonathan should he indicate interest, Buni had said, "Even in America where we got this democracy, I've not seen where people are being confined to a limit."