President Muhammadu Buhari has no hand in the plot by some stakeholders in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to bring in former President Goodluck Jonathan into the party and lure him into the presidential race for the 2023 general elections, Daily Independent has gathered.

Some of the supporters of the former president had last week said Jonathan has the full backing of President Buhari to join the APC, adding that everything has been perfected to ensure he becomes the party’s presidential flag bearer.

However, speaking with our correspondent Monday, a senior presidential aide who asked not to be named, said while President Buhari has great respect for Jonathan owing to the manner he handled the outcome of the 2015 presidential election by graciously accepting defeat and congratulating him (Buhari) despite pressures from some of his loyalists to do otherwise, Buhari does not want him to succeed him in 2023.

“It is pure mischief for anyone to say President Buhari is the one behind the move by some politicians to draft the former president into the party and make him contest the 2023 presidential election.

Far from it! The Buhari I know will never make a move to allow Jonathan, a man he heavily criticised for mismanaging the affairs of the country while he held sway as president to take over from him. Doing so will reverse all the gains the administration has recorded since 2015.”

“For us in the presidency, one thing is very clear. President Buhari holds his predecessor in very high esteem as a true statesman due to the manner he handled the outcome of the presidential election in 2015.

Nobody believed that a ruling party with a sitting president which controls the security agencies and even INEC can lose the presidential election.

When that happened, some enemies of Nigeria who had earlier predicted doomsday that the country will cease to exist in 2015 asked him not to accept the outcome. He rejected their entreaties and called President Buhari to congratulate him.

“Even though President Buhari was not happy with the way Jonathan managed the affairs of the country, his being gracious in defeat really touched Buhari especially when you compare what Jonathan did with what some African leaders such as Laurent Gbagbo and Yahya Jammeh did in Cote d’Ivoire and Gambia, respectively.

“Also, this government has had its shortcomings and made some mistakes but you will not see Jonathan writing letters or publicly criticising the government just to score cheap political points. Rather, he knows he has free access to Aso Villa to see President Buhari and share his thoughts privately with him.

These are the two reasons President Buhari greatly admires the former president”. “But saying President Buhari is working behind the scenes to lure him into the APC and impose him on party members as presidential candidate is pure mischief.

Buhari believed that Jonathan’s performance as president was below par and that was why he joined hands with other like minds to oust him from office in 2015.

Having laid a solid foundation for growth and continuity, he will not allow the progress made so far to be reversed by bringing the same Jonathan back to succeed him in 2023.

That can never happen.”. Jonathan who lost the 2015 presidential election to Buhari has severed his ties with his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) since 2019.

He never supported the PDP governorship candidate in the Bayelsa governorship election while his mother and his kinsmen also celebrated the victory of the APC in the election.

The court however overturned the victory of APC’s candidate, David Lyon, and Douye Diri of PDP was sworn in as the governor. Since then the leadership of the APC led by the former national caretaker committee chairman, Governor Mai Maa Buni and several groups, especially in the Northern part of the country have been mounting pressures on Jonathan to join the APC.

Those behind the move, according to Daily Independent findings, are some Northern power brokers in the APC who believe that since the clamour for a power shift to the Southern part of the country in 2023 is so intense, Jonathan should be considered as he can only serve one term, having served out his first term from 2011 to 2015.

Their calculation is that while other presidential aspirants in the South such as Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the Vice- President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Rotimi Amaechi will want to serve two terms if elected president, Jonathan upon serving out a term will hand over to another northerner in 2027.