El-Rufai reportedly stated this in an interview published in The Point.
El-rufai, pointed out that, although Jonathan was his very close friend from when he was the deputy governor of Bayelsa State, he persecuted him because he believed those who told him that he was a threat.
He said, “Jonathan was convinced by his own circle too that I was a threat and that if he was going for a second term of office, he had to take me out of the race. And so, Jonathan continued the persecution that Yar’adua started.
“I have been associated with running for President, as I said, since 2005, 2006, about 15 years. I’ve suffered for this, I’ve even been exiled for it and Jonathan tried to put me in prison for it.
“My name being mentioned with regard to presidential aspiration has been on since 2006, since I was running the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
“People were speculating that the then President Olusegun Obasanjo was preparing to hand over to me. It was part of the reasons I was exiled. Late President Yar’adua was told, according to those around him, that Obasanjo shortlisted two names to succeed him – Yar’Adua’s name and mine. It was totally false.
“But Yar’adua believed that, and he thought that I was a threat, and all the hullabaloo, lies and persecution that got me exiled for 23 months were as a result of that.”