A former President Goodluck Jonathan has reopened issues about Nigeria’s historic 2015 presidential election which he and his party, Peoples Democratic Party, lost to Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress.
Mr. Jonathan also bared his mind on how his successor is allegedly ‘dismantling’ his legacy with harassment.
Mr. Jonathan expressed worry about alleged harassment of his family by Mr. Buhari’s administration although the latter is understood to be taking caution in going against his predecessor over weighty allegations of corruption, particularly ones on diversion of security funds, because of the former’s timely concession after the 2015 poll.
Many believe Mr. Jonathan’s concession helped prevent post-election violence, given the tense environment that characterised the elections. Yet, others say any attempt to canonize Mr. Jonathan is misplaced because there was serious pressure, locally and internationally, on him to concede defeat.
Mr. Jonathan recently expressed reservations about the administration of his successor in a book “Against The Run of Play”, written by the Chairman of ThisDay Editorial Board and former spokesperson of late President Umaru Yar’Adua, Olusegun Adeniyi. Excerpts of the book, due for public presentation, were published by The Cable and The Nation newspapers on Wednesday.
“I feel sad about the way my family is being hounded,” said Mr. Jonathan in the book, quoted by The Nation.
He suggested Mr. Buhari should be methodical and committed himself to correcting mistakes he (Mr. Jonathan) had made, instead of ‘dismantling’ what he did and forcing people to go on exile.
“Society is like a building. You build it one block at a time. If every president decides to go in to dismantle what his predecessor did, society will never make progress. I expected President Buhari to correct whatever mistakes I may have made and then carry on from there.
“But a situation in which people go into exile for political reasons is not good for us.
“His style of fighting corruption is different from mine and since most Nigerians apparently prefer his style, it is okay. There are steps you take that will help in retrieving ill-gotten wealth and punish offenders while restoring confidence in the system. But there are also things you can do to damage the system,” he said.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is currently investigating Mr. Jonathan’s wife, Patience, and had got the court to freeze $5,842,316.66 belonging to her and deposited in Skye Bank.
The High Court on April 6 unfroze the account. The EFCC appealed and applied for stay of execution, but on Tuesday, withdrew the application.
Also, several officials who served under Mr. Jonathan, including aides, ministers, and PDP leaders are either being investigated by the EFCC or being tried for corruption.
Presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, did not answer calls placed to his phone for comment.
Jega Disappointed Me… Muazu, IGP, Others Betrayed Me
Mr. Jonathan also expressed disappointment in the former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Attahiru Jega, whom he said was insistent on conducting the poll in February when ’40 per cent of Nigerians’ had not collected their permanent voter cards and some parts of the country were under the control of Boko Haram.
He was quoted to have said: “I was disappointed by Jega because I still cannot understand what was propelling him to act the way he did in the weeks preceding the election.
“As at the first week in February 2015 when about 40 per cent of Nigerians had not collected their PVCs, Jega said INEC was ready to conduct an election in which millions of people would be disenfranchised.”
He said the United States of America was encouraging INEC to proceed with the election as scheduled in February.
The election was eventually postponed for six weeks, after the military, security and intelligence chiefs said they could not guarantee safe electoral exercise. In Nigeria, the responsibility for secure and safe election rests with the country’s security, military and intelligence outfits.
“When the military and security chiefs demanded more time to deal with the insurgency, the reasons were genuine. As of February 2015, it would have been very difficult to vote in Gombe, Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.
“But the moment all the arms and ammunition that had been ordered finally arrived, the military was able to use them to degrade the capacity of Boko Haram to the level in which they posed the threat to the election,” said Mr. Jonathan, defending the postponement.
Then, he accused a former chairman of his party, Adamu Mu’azu, and security operatives of betrayal, wondering how it was possible for him to have lost in some states without a cooperation between the APC, his own party chiefs and security operatives.
He said: “I felt really betrayed by the result coming from some northern states. Perhaps for ethnic purposes, even security agents colluded with the opposition to come up with spurious results against me. You saw the way the Inspector General of Police, a man I appointed, suddenly turned himself into the ADC to Buhari immediately after the election.
“How could we have lost Ondo, Benue and Plateau states if our people were committed to the cause? If you examine the results, you will see a pattern: in places where ordinarily we were strong, our supporters did not show enough commitment to mobilise the voters.
“What happened was very sad not for me as a person, but for our democracy.”
“Take, for instance, the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu. I believe he joined in the conspiracy against me. For reasons best known to him, he helped to sabotage the election in favour of the opposition.”
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...