Ex-U.S. Ambassador denies working for Buhari, expresses worry over NNPC scandal

Former American Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell

A former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, on Tuesday replied Reno Omokri, a former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan who accused him of being a political lackey for President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr. Campbell said Mr. Omokri mistook his appreciation of Mr. Buhari’s anti-corruption efforts for consultancy services.

“I am not a consultant to any Nigerian, to any Nigerian corporation, to the presidency, nor to any part of the Nigerian government,” Mr. Campbell told PREMIUM TIMES Tuesday.

The retired diplomat, now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C., was responding to an email enquiry from PREMIUM TIMES over a slew of unflattering remarks Mr. Omokri directed at him.

Mr. Omokri had in a statement Sunday said Mr. Campbell was trying to divert attention from corruption allegations currently rocking the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in order to protect Mr. Buhari’s public image.

“It is most unfortunate that the former US Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, who is now a consultant to certain Nigerians and a self-confessed admirer of President Muhammadu Buhari, would again insult Nigerians with his procured opinions meant to divert the public from the monumental $26 billion corruption scam recently uncovered in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation of which President Muhammadu Buhari is the supervising minister,” Mr. Omokri said in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES Sunday.

The former presidential assistant was responding to a blog post Mr. Campbell published on the website of Council on Foreign Relations, a public policy think-tank which has its headquarters in New York.

In his article, Mr. Campbell criticised the Nigerian House of Representatives for issuing a warrant of arrest for the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu.

The EFCC is currently probing several millions of dollars linked to Mrs. Jonathan, some of which she claimed to be hers.

Mr. Campbell said the arrest warrant was orchestrated by most “Christian” Nigerian lawmakers and they were hounding Mr. Magu for daring to go after Mrs. Jonathan, from whom they benefitted while her husband was in power.

Mr. Campbell also castigated Mrs. Jonathan as being “arrogant and flamboyant” and questioned how she was able to amass such stupendous wealth as a career civil servant.

In his Sunday statement, Mr. Omokri said Mr. Campbell was ignorant of issues in Nigeria, adding that Mrs. Jonathan had been a businesswoman who was never confined to “the other room”, in an apparent mockery of Mr. Buhari who last October said his wife, Aisha, belongs to the kitchen and the other room.

He also defended the House’s invitation to Mr. Magu, saying the lower chamber “is a legally constituted legislative body with powers to summon.”

PREMIUM TIMES wrote to Mr. Campbell for reactions to Mr. Omokri’s attacks on Sunday, but the diplomat did not respond before the story was published on Monday evening.

He later sent in his response, saying Mr. Omokri mischaracterised some elements of his article.

“Contrary to what Mr. Omokri seems to imply, I did not maintain that the PDP dominates the House of Representatives.

“Rather, I said that the Committee on Public Petitions’ move to issue a warrant for the arrest of Mr. Magu was led by PDP representatives, as it was. I did not comment one way or another on the justification for the arrest warrant, which is controversial.

“Nor did I comment on laudable steps taken by the Jonathan government for the empowerment of women,” Mr. Campbell said.

Mr. Campbell said although he supports Mr. Buhari’s anti-corruption efforts, he was equally as worried about corruption at the NNPC as Mr. Omokri.

“I share Mr. Omokri’s concern about corruption within the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation,” Mr. Campbell said while applauding “certain initiatives taken by President Muhammadu Buhari, especially with respect to corruption.”

The diplomat, however, maintained his assertion that the influence of Christians was most pronounced in Mr. Jonathan’s government, with the exception of some powerful Muslims in the cabinet at the time.

“I stand by my characterisation of the Jonathan government as being predominately Christian in colouration,” Mr. Campbell said. “I did note, however, that former National Security Advisor, Sambo Dasuki, charged with corruption, is a northern Muslim. I stand by my characterisation of the former first lady.”


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  • Agba

    Buhari planted ABBA KYARI and two of his former colligues from UBA BANK at NNPC board Baru to be stealing for him there,Nigeria is fail state,Awon oloriburuki olosi eda.

    • wode

      Thief has no any other mindset except that others too are thieves and everything they do, like him, are towards thievery.

  • MilitaryPolice01

    I wonder what Mr Campbells’ opinion is on his President, Donald Trump who was recently described by his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as a moron.

    These Hypocrites always have a holier than thou righteous disposition when it comes to Nigeria.

  • johnson

    John Campbell is the first former US ambassador that has continued meddling in Nigerian affairs. He is lobbyist for Buhari.

    • Omooba Adekunle Orafidiya

      I continue to run into Howard Jeter at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel several years after his tour of duty here ended. In other words, Campell isn’t the only former U.S ambassador who is “in love” with Nigeria.


    Once Mr. former ambassador doesn’t talk about Buhari’s Genocide against the Shiite sect, and Igbo tribe, but parroting Buhari’s “corruption” mantra, it hardly sounds American; how can a real American diplomat be dissing Christians, and embracing muslims?

    This is why Christians in America must alert Donald Trump of this Obama achievement in Nigeria; I am confident Trump will undo it.

  • wode

    Unlike many Nigerians that have gotten their senses of reasoning completely beclouded by parochial sentiments and subjectivity rather than looking at and approaching issues based on their merits, Mr Campbell is only stating the obvious truth.

    • Felix Dimaro

      Don’t entertain foreigners, especially on an individual capacity, to interfere with your country’s internal affairs! It is insulting to our sovereignty, even if he’s right. We are already in a tense mode, a foreigner’s attempt to inflame the state exploiting our religious differences is unacceptable and should be condemned.

      • wode

        In a Global village? What does a comment by a former US Ambassador has to do with interfering or insulting “our sovereignty” ? People make comments from everywhere just about anything the way they see it. Can you imagine the number of comments being made on a daily basis by Non-Americas about America and its President for example?

        The most important thing, for me, is the comment itself. It has to be factual, verifiable and its veracity shouldn’t be in doubt. Whoever felt he/she is affected or indicted by the comment should made amends.

        • Dekpat

          The issue of ‘global village’ is not relevant here. No ‘former ambassador’ of a country interferes in the affairs of a country they have served in the way Campbell did. No one asked for his ludicrous opinion. Even current and serving ambassadors in Nigeria know better as to keep quiet!

  • efada acha

    We are wary of this external forces interfering in our internal issues.what is Campbell business with Nigerian internal problem.the same Campbell has caused more harm than good while he was an ambassador here in Nigeria

  • tsunami1earthquake

    Mr Campbell is beginning to play to the middle in order to stave off any occasion of him running the gauntlet. We all read what he wrote earlier on. What a way to remain smart but, this time around, half smart. I wonder where Mr. Campbell learned the idea of ‘Christian-Muslim’ dichotomy. Do they have such in America?

    My dear Campbell, enjoy your retirement over frothing bottles of whatever beer you enjoy. Keep your nose from what you don’t know or understand, in spite of your stint as America’s chief diplomat in Nigeria.

    Any right thinking person will surely feel seriously ill about the screaming corruption in Nigeria where there are those ‘shout-to-the-skies’ cries of fighting corruption. Your concern is not that really significant. The Jonathan government you seem to berate had been accused of stealing 20 billion dollars from the same NNPC. But you seem not to comment ‘one way or another’ on the ugly parallel between the sleaze in the much-disliked Jonathan administration and that in the much-liked administration of Buhari! Keep on keeping on!

    My dear Campbell, I say again, enjoy your retirement and keep your nose out of what you don’t know. Keep away from situations you cannot give an unbiased and dispassionate comments, for reasons best known to you.

  • Cincinnatus

    So Mr Campbell is our new excuse for the sorry state of our country now. Some times Nigerians are just funny. All the corruption in your country is not responsible for your situation, it’s Mr Campbell’s fault for today. Tomorrow it will be another person. No attempt to blame themselves for doing bad things every now and then, it must be Mr Campbell’s fault as at Oct 12, 2017. Don’t go and face your work.

    • Dekpat

      Use your brain. None of these people held him responsible for the state of the country. Only that he should cease interfering and confusing the situation.

  • Dan Arewa

    GEJ government was characterized by Majority Christian but the Muslim never cry of being marginalize or being Christianized as what is happening in the present scenario from the former faith.

    • jonathan

      under GEJ, did the minister of education remove islamic studies from the curriculum?, emphatic NO, but we all know what happened recently when christian religious knowledge was almost stylishly removed from the curriculum, christians had to shout at the top of their voices, before the move was stopped. one day all these drama of north and south will come to an end when we we get our referandum

      • Dan Arewa

        You are a clown.
        You reason from your mouth not from your brain.
        Go and investigate when that proposal came. It is in 2013 under GEJ your little idol and Wike who is a minister of Education.
        Adamu Adamu just implement the proposal.

    • Durotimi Oye

      That was why Jonathan was voted out. I ask you do you think it is only Muslims that put buhari in aso rock

      • Dan Arewa

        Capital NO.

  • emailofemi

    Nothing Diplomatic about the intervention of this campbell.

  • Chuma Anierobi

    Many Nigerians knew all he did for Obama and Tinubu against Jonathan so he must shut up his mouth

    • Durotimi Oye

      My guy Jonathan the looter is long gone so please stop crying.

  • Solomon Brown

    These white supremacists never cease to amaze, questioning someone else’s lifestyle, when the whole of europe and northern america’s wealth came by exploiting black people who are still owed reparations by the way. Sick people with no moral compass trying to tell others how to live.

  • obiora

    Mr Capbell your reply prove that you are not Clean. You said you are not consultant to any Nigerian Officals but What of those Oil Companies which Tyrant Buhari gave Criminal Cotracts?. Are you not consulting for them?. So you are just protecting the Evil Businesses for your Stomach.

    • Comfortkay

      Bros you mean he should not express his own view like you are doing on this forum?