The inside story of Tinubu’s ‘deal’ with Jonathan

 

The president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, a...

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Culled from newsdiaryonline.com

 

By Danlami Nmodu

 

Let it be understood from the outset that this is not about Former Governor of Lagos State Bola Tinubu making any deal to get Ribadu a new job.No! But it is certainly about Tinubu’s secret political romance ,intrigues and deals with President Goodluck Jonathan and how such moves have caused disenchantment within the Action Congress of Nigeria,ACN.Some even believe that Ribadu may have just taken his new job out of his personal conviction ,in spite of ACN.Or, as some others will argue that ACN betrayed Ribadu afterall by sabotaging his presidential campaign and so why should he bother about the party?Either way,some observers believe Ribadu’s new job is a worrisome development.

Jonathan, it appears, has the formula for tearing ACN apart and he has deployed it effectively in the past and the storm over Ribadu’s new job implies that the president scored the bull’s eye with the appointment of the former EFCC boss as head of the Petroleum Revenue Task Force.Ribadu’s decision to accept the offer seem to have pitted him against the party which says their presidential candidate is on his own.

But those who know about the intrigues within the party say that despite the public outcry against Ribadu, there is a deep sense of regret among ACN chiefs about the relationship between their chieftains especially Bola Tinubu with Jonathan.It is believed this untoward relationship may lead to further embarrassing developments;and there are insiders who are eager to get the party back on course.It was this relationship that made the party to virtually ‘sabotage’ Ribadu who was ACN’s presidential candidate.This special relationship between Tinubu and Jonathan was also responsible for the failure of the alliance talks between ACN and Muhammadu Buhari’s Congress for Progressive change,CPC.

In fact, rather than stir up anger ,some party insiders told Newsdiaryonline that the Ribadu matter has brought the frustrations within ACN to the frontburner.Now those who really know about the dirty details of Tinubu’s romance with Jonathan feel if the party had done the right thing in the past ,this embarrassing situation of its presidential candidate taking a job from a PDP government could have been avoided.But ACN cannot pretend to be a judge over this Ribadu case because it failed to organize itself well when it ought to, insiders say.

Sources told Newsdiaryonline that Tinubu led the plot that frustrated the ACN presidential calculations which would have ensured victory for the alliance.He was accused of ‘double dealing’-That is playing along with Jonathan on the one hand while appearing to be interested in the alliancetalks with CPC on the other.Jonathan’s Aso Rock knew very well that an alliance between ACN and CPC would defeat or at least cause major problems for PDP and the president worked assiduously to frustrate the alliance.Tinubu is still being accused of being a willing handmaiden of the villa.On one occasion Jonathan went to Lagos about 2.00AM and held a meeting before the polls with the Asiwaju the former governor.

Eventually a deal was struck between Tinubu and the president.Credible sources said there were three offers made to him by the president.One, that the EFCC would stop hounding him .Two, that ACN would be allowed to take over Ogun and Oyo states from PDP so that the south West would vote Jonathan. Third, the president also offered to award him contracts for laying gas pipelines across the South west and the handling of gas transaction across the region.A source claimed the deal was written and signed but Newsdiaryonline could not lay hands on the paper if at all it exists .

Tinubu was said to have presented details of his meeting with Jonathan to those known to belong to what is called “the ACN caucus”. Newsdiaryonline sources said the caucus members were very very disappointed with Tinubu and they lambasted him.”It is not as if the whole of ACN agrees with him but he has been a major problem for the party.He is viewed as the main challenge the party is contending with.

Sources in the opposition parties told Newsdiaryoline that it was the secret intrigues within ACN that frustrated that alliance talks with Buhari and insiders know it is their fault despite claims to the effect that it was Buhari that failed to ask Pastor Bakari to step dowm for Tinubu(who was presented a potential running mate if the talks had materialized).In fact that is the story that has been published so far.

When it seemed like Buhari was intransigent Generals Ibrahim Babangidana and Aliyu Gusau were brought in along with Atiku Abubakar to negotiate last -minute deals with Buhari . Northern leaders asked Ribadu to step down for Buhari and he agreed.But Buhari did not agree to sign a deal would make Bakare surrender his ticket running mate.And the northern leaders who perhaps did not know of the secret deals of Tinubu were very furious with Buhari.IBB walked out of the meeting and angily drove himself to Minna.Atiku was equally very furious with Buhari as he thought it was the General that was being politically obstinate and unreasonable.The Northern leaders just wanted an alternative to Jonathan whom they felt at that time should not run for elections.But alot of things have happened between then and now.

Fresh facts have emerged to show why Buhari did not sign the deal.Inssiders told Newsdiaryonline that the deal proposed by Tinubu was a double edged sword.”The framing of the agreement was to the effect that Bakare would sign the piece of paper saying ‘ I the vice president agrees to step down..blah bah blah…’’The insider who revealed the intrigues said the framers of the agreement which Bakere would have signed were probably working with the Presidency to’ kill the Buhari ticket’.”We received calls from people including traditional rulers in the South West urging us to tell Buhari and Bakari not to sign any deal with Tinubu.Some prominent traditional rulers from the South West urged us to tell Buhari not to sign because the deal was made to ensure that Bkare was picked up for claiming he is vice president already even before election.He would have been arrested and that would have put the Buhari ticket in crisis ”Newsdiaryonline was told.It was not clear if the content of the deal was laid on the table as the discussions were held or if the paper was meant to be brought for Bakare’s signature if Buhari had agreed to make Tinubu his vice president

Yet , said an insider even after agree step down in other to facilitate tha alliance with CPC ,Ribadu the ACN candidate followed Buhari to Kaduna trying to honestly convince Buhari,because everyone really thought Buhari was the problem.”If you see the kind of disgrace Buhari gave him ,you wouldn’t believe.He practically snubbed this man.So I think he has sacrificed enough for this people because he worked for ACN people genuinely.But they had their agenda which became clear later”a source said .

Even recently words made the round that Jonathan has again reached out to Tinubu to help fight the subsidy war.Newsdiaryonline learnt when Tinubu again told his ACN caucus about this request, they rebuffed him.”They almost lynched him” one of the sources told Newsdiaryonline. The source continued,”Iam not aware of the N100m reportedly offered for the pro-subsidy campaign in the south west .But the people did not accept any offer from the president” said against the backdrop of allegations that a huge amount of money was paid to some undisclosed agents of the villa in the botched attempt to sell the subsidy idea to the south west.

Having been used and dumped by the ACN, Ribadu apparently chose to take his destiny in his own hands now.He took up international assignments on anti corruption war and So when Jonathan came with the new offer to him ,he felt having served other countries, the new task is a national call,his sympathizers said .There is the general feeling that Jonathan has brought Ribadu in to help shore up the credibility of the regime.Newsdiaryonline learnt that the regime is also shopping for more hands to be employed.

In all of this people are concerned about the motive and credibility of the regime which has drafted Ribadu on board.Equally, there is no doubt that many observers will remain suspicious of Ribadu for taking up this job when the regime has not shown genuine commitment to fighting corruption yet.ACN in distancing itself from Ribadu said it cannot “in good conscience” work with Jonathan because he is untrustworthy.

Recalling what happened earlier the ACN said “On the vexed issue of removal of petroleum subsidy, it is on record that our party, the Action Congress of Nigeria, responded with patriotic and constructive suggestions during a meeting with the President in Abuja.

“At the end of that meeting, President Jonathan promised to further consult with us before taking any further step in respect of the matter. True to the deceptive nature of this administration, we all woke up on January 1, 2012, to learn that the government has unilaterally removed subsidy from petrol.

“How can we be sure that these slew of appointments are not being used by the administration to shore up its sagging – or totally sagged – credibility?

“After all, one can never be sure going by the deceptive nature of the PDP that the kind of appointment now being offered to Mallam Ribadu is being made in good faith or just to get credible people to launder the government’s badly damaged image and credibility.

‘’There is also the possibility that booby-traps will be deliberately set for such credible personalities to guarantee their failure in their stated assignment, after which they will be ridiculed and dumped like an ordinary chump.”

Plausible as ACN’s basis for objecting to the unfolding drama may seem, many critics reason that the party should do a review of its recent past and once again find a way of cementing an alliance with other opposition parties like the CPC and possibly APGA to give a true alternative platform to Nigerians and save the nation from the antics of PDP.

ACN chiefs who spoke of Jonathan’s unreliability may also have the treatment meted out to Tinubu at the back of their minds.After the deal with Tinubu, the regime still proceeded arraign him before the Code of Conduct Tribunal in what was seen as a breach of the deal .Newsdiaryonline learnt that Tinubu sought audience with the president and at the meeting, he protested against the breach of the deal.” You wanted the votes which you got from us and all that but you are not fulfilling your end of the bargain” the president was told .Jonathan replied that all the agreements are being followed meticulously .When Tinubu drew the president’s attention to his prosecution by the Code of Conduct tribunal, Jonathan asked Tinubu whether EFCC has been after him and he said no.It was then it dawned on the governor that that part of the deal should have read, ant-corruption agencies, not EFCC alone.And on the other issue of gas business, the President reportedly assured the former governor that the plans were being perfected.Tinubu came away with the impression Jonathan was not trustworthy.

 

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