AS president in 2011, Goodluck Jonathan did all he could to ensure South West grabbed the country’s number four seat, including lobbying then opposition leaders from the zone, to no avail. The North West eventually grabbed the seat, supported by South West leaders in opposition to then ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Former Governor of Osun State and now statesman, Chief Bisi Akande, made this revelation in his autobiography, “My Participations” which is currently dominating political and national dis- course.
Aminu Tambuwal, now Sokoto State governor, won the seat, against the preferred pick of his party, Mrs Mulikat Adeola Akande, from the South-West. Defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, then a fledging opposition, which had Akande and his soulmate, former Lagos State governor, Senator Bola Tinubu, as front- line leaders, openly asked its elected members of the House of Representatives, mostly from the South-West, to work against their region and back Tambuwal from North-West.
The opposition party’s support carried Tambuwal through the contest against Akande, then ruling party’s favourite for the speakership seat.
In his book, Chief Akande revealed that former president then as incumbent, personally reached out to Tinubu, who is now believed to be nursing presidential aspiration in 2023 and himself, but couldn’t convince them.
He wrote, “President Jonathan, immediately after the meeting (with political parties), called Bola Tinubu aside into a lobby to broach the matter of ACN support for a choice of who would become the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
“That same day, President Jonathan talked to me on phone about the same matter. He disclosed that PDP had zoned the position to the South-West but that only one Muraina and another Mulika won elections on PDP ticket from the zone into the House of Representatives.
“I quickly reminded him that, as at (sic) that date in the United States of America, while the Democrats produced the Senate President, the Republicans (the opposition) produced the Speaker of the House of Representatives. I boasted that ACN was capable of suggesting to him ten names of members from the South West from among whom to choose if PDP would be magnanimous enough to practice democracy the way it was being practised in the USA, from where we imported our presidential system.
“He seemed pissed off and stopped the conversation,” he said.
In the era being referenced by the former national chairman of the defunct opposition party, the controlling party in each of the chambers of the Congress in the United States was in the majority, which wasn’t the case with ACN when the Ila-born politician was making his claim.
He also revealed in the book that their political platforms had their sight on working against the then ruling party.
“In the aftermath of the 2011 elections, many of our people were dissatisfied. Under the PDP, our country has become thoroughly decadent. Those of us who saw the then ruling party as an extension of the military corrupt politics preferred to work with all the major opposition parties which would eventually lead to a merger if we were to uproot the entrenched PDP and its evil tendencies. The first party that came to mind was the CPC which like us, was resolutely opposed to the PDP.
“Immediately after the elections, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila led a team of ACN boys to Bola Tinubu and me to suggest support for Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, a PDP member from Sokoto, to become the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
In the meantime, President Goodluck Jonathan was pressing for a government of national unity, with a bid of sucking ACN into manipulative extinction.”
Another major revelation from the book is the involvement of a former National Security Adviser and a Sokoto prince, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd) in the presidential project of now President Muhammadu Buhari preparatory to the 2011 presidential election against then incumbent Jonathan.
Jonathan defeated Buhari in the contest, before Buhari triumphed in their replay in 2015.
Interestingly, Dasuki would go on to become Jonathan’s most senior security adviser, but also ended up spending 1,484 days in detention, while being prosecuted by the Buhari administration, for alleged corruption while serving in the Jonathan administration.
He was eventually released on December 24, 2019, after many court orders for his released had been spurned by the administration. He was accused of siphoning fund meant for arms to fight insurgency in the North-East.
The author, however, paid the embattled former security chief compliments for his role in facilitating a merger between ACN and CPC in the build-up to the 2011 poll, to defeat Jonathan.
He said, “The reaction of CPC to this letter (to CPC from ACN and published on the same page), began the failed negotiation between ACN and CPC which attracted further intervention by some national leaders like General Babangida, Atiku Abubakar and others.
“This eventually crashed at the threshold of the 2011 presidential elections which President Jonathan of the PDP won again.
“The efforts of the former National Security Adviser– Colonel Sambo Dasuki is worth mentioning in this political bridge-building attempt between ACN and CPC. Dasuki was then in support of Buhari becoming the presidential candidate of the alliance.
“Sambo Dasuki was coming around, begging us, to support Buhari’s presidential aspiration. Nuhu Ribadu, whom we had earlier chosen as our presidential candidate in the ACN, said he was ready to step down for Buhari. He said when he accepted to run, he did not know that Buhari was also interested in running.”