Jonathan let corruption thrive, but was not power hungry – Saraki

Bukola Saraki
Senate President Bukola Saraki

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Thursday said he believes ex-President Goodluck Jonathan let corruption thrive during his administration, but was not a power hungry individual.

Mr. Saraki also said he believes the fuel subsidy scam under the former president was the largest single case of corruption in the history of Nigeria.

He said almost N1.3 trillion was stolen through the scam which he witnessed as a senator.

According to Mr. Saraki, he brought the fraud to the attention of the former president who he said lightly waved it aside by saying “You know, oil business is oily.”

Mr. Saraki was speaking at the book launch of a former Minister of Youths and Sports Development under the Jonathan administration, Bolaji Abdullahi, who is now the spokesperson of the All Progressive Congress, APC.

The event took place at the Yar’Adua Centre in the Central Business District of Abuja.

The book titled “On a Platter of Gold” was written on how Mr. Jonathan became president of Nigeria in 2011 but lost the office at the 2015 general election.

It detailed how Mr. Jonathan rose from being a university lecturer to becoming vice president under the late President Umar Yar’ Adua and then President of Africa’s largest democracy, in less than a decade.

“Most astonishingly is the fact that he won with the highest majority vote ever recorded in the nation’s history,” Mr. Abdullahi said, referring to the 2011 presidential election won by Mr. Jonathan.

In his address to the gathering at the public presentation of the book, Mr. Saraki observed that Mr. Jonathan was not ready for power.

He, however, said the former president was not a man desperate for power despite the fact that power came to him without being prepared for it.

“I think it is us Nigerians that produce the kind of leaders we get. No matter what you say about him, I don’t think he was someone who was desperate for power.

“He was not someone that was prepared for leadership. Yes, by misfortune or fortune I keep on saying, we all know the right things but we don’t do it. We find ourselves sometimes blaming individuals, blaming others than ourselves,” Mr. Saraki said.

“I like to share one or two things that will probably summarize the former President Jonathan.

“I remember when I was then Senator and I came across this issue of fuel subsidy and the way the country was losing close to about N1.3 trillion. In the history of this country, I don’t think of any singular kind of level of corruption as huge as that. I had a motion already I wanted to present on the floor of the Senate.

“I felt as a member of the ruling party at that time, it was only proper I discussed it with the President (first), maybe some action could be taken so that I would step down the motion.

“I booked an appointment to see Mr. President. I went with my paper. I started with the background of how people bring in petroleum products. I said ‘Mr. President, in the past people used to get award letters from NNPC to bring in PMS, DPK, and make 10, 20 per cent profit.

“I said Sir, they’ve taken it to another level now. They get an order to bring in products, they don’t want to make 10, 20 per cent anymore.

“They will get an offer to bring in a cargo of 20,000 litres; they will bring in 5,000 to be stamped for 20,000 and instead of making 10 per cent, they make ten times the amount.

“I was telling the President, thinking the President would get very agitated. (But) He said: ‘Senator Saraki, you know this oil business is very oily.’

“I was stunned and taken aback!

“But in a way, that was Jonathan. In a sad way, that was who he is.

“And if you look at the second encounter I will recollect, it was the day I decided I was going to contest to be President. I felt that I didn’t want Jonathan to hear it as news, I booked an appointment to go and see him.

“I didn’t know what I was thinking that day. I went to the Villa. He said: ‘Come in, come in, how can I help you?’

“I looked at the President of a third world country and said ‘Mr. President, I came to tell you that I am going to be contesting for your seat.’

“Jonathan looked at me and said: ‘Oh, okay, good luck, good luck.’

“If it were any other person, maybe I would not have left the Villa! But that again sums up Goodluck Jonathan.

“I think it is us Nigerians that produce the kind of leaders we get. No matter what you say about him, I don’t think he was someone who was desperate for power.

“He was not someone that was prepared for leadership. Yes, by misfortune or fortune I keep on saying, we all know the right things but we don’t do it, we find ourselves sometimes blaming individuals, blaming others than ourselves,” Mr. Saraki said.


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  • Godfrey Etokebe

    ‘Senator Saraki, you know this oil business is very oily.’


    What did Jonathan say after this statement?

    • Eluba Inas

      Those that will try to depend him by all necessary means are fo0ls!

      • Godfrey Etokebe

        Correct your typo before calling others fools.

        • sola oludele

          You know was a typo error, he meant defend instead of depend.

          • Eluba Inas

            Thank you.

        • Eluba Inas

          You should have corrected me and I would have express my thanks and appreciation to you because I am open to accepting mistakes and errors as I am human. However, are you open to accepting that Jonathan’s government was a disaster to Nigeria after the massive lootings that is coming out everyday.?

  • Truth Konveyor

    Jonathan was a huge disaster that happened on all of us. Look at our country today; everywhere you turn you see the trails of destruction left by the Clueless One.

    • Godfrey Etokebe

      Your messiah (Buhari) left 200 million people hungry. What a comparison?

    • Adele Uhuru

      Buhari was never ready to lead the nation, hence his 6 month plus time lapse just on nominating ministers and when he finally did he posted known thieves to ministries with larger than life portfolios. Now he is appointing his kin in sensitive positions to loot the country dry while he protects them. But this little narrative skewed to tarnish an honest man’s image by a known crook becomes the justification to exonerate Buhari’s stupidity and thievery by proxy (his kin).

      • Patriot4noreason

        Where is your rationale in all you just said. You are exposing your shallow, myopic and one sided thought process. How can you possibly open your mouth to say Buhari was not ready to lead, and your evidence was that it took him six months to choose his cabinet , like he was supposed to please the impatience of power mongers. Guy leave Nigeria if it is not corrupt enough for you

  • Ade Adedosu

    We Nigerians are guilty of the Jonathan tragedy that befell us all. We were all taken in when GEJ came with his shoeless pitiable story and how life was hell for him growing up………..we voted based on that sentiment and same sentiment is being applied in some quarters to defend the indefensible. That Saraki could even say this about Jonathan is a big low point knowing how rotten he himself is in the scheme of things in the socio-political life of Nigeria. Until we are able to hold our political accountable while in office, Nigeria is a dead meat. Nigeria and Nigerians have become the proverbial cow that is being milked to death. Can Bolaji Abdullahi honestly beat his chest and say that he did not leave Jonathan’s government a wealthy man? I met Bolaji Abdullahi in 2000 at the Otta Farm of Obasanjo when the African Leadership Forum hosted Leadership Academy in the six geo-political zones of Nigeria, he came off as a smart, intelligent and upright person at the time but the same can no longer be said of him based on the group is political affiliation is identified with. Let no one hoodwink us with stories that we know but maybe not too well and score some cheap political points. Why didn’t Bolaji Abdullahi resign from the government if he felt the system was that bad??? It’s really sad how there is no loyalty to leadership in Nigeria………..Any Government In Power is the order of the day. After Buhari’s tenure loads of books will be written about his administration even by the least qualified people.

    • Godfrey Etokebe

      Can we not defend the GOOD LIFE that we had in Nigeria during Jonathan’s era as compared to the slaves that we are now under Buhari? Saraki has sunk so low by taking Jonathan’s statement out of context just for sensationalism. I have only sympathy for him.

      • Ade Adedosu

        I don’t know your definition of “Good Life” under Jonathan except you are trying to glorify corruption has bestowing good life on a select few who had unfettered access to the national cake!!! It is only in Nigeria that corruption is a way of life and not a malady. I cry for my father because that so called “Good Life” is now a curse on the nation.

        • Adele Uhuru

          The fact the Economy was healthy enough to sustain and pervade economic progression the population compared to the state of the nation’s economy today. The corruption Saraki is emphasizing he was a great part of it. but these scammers are all in court hopefully to pay for their thievery but no one close Jonathan was fingered on thsi those found wanting were all charged, but under Buhari the SGF kept his job and was quitely release with no arrest or EFCC investigation and was replaced by his cousin based on the agreement they reached to appease the thief

          • Patriot4noreason

            Guy you know nothing of economics if you say our economy was good under Jonathan. I know nothing of economics also but at least I asked people that know a lot. I advice you research, check out sanusi’s articles on what went on in terms of the voodoo economics that was being played by the administration of that time. They had stolen soo much they had to manipulate figures to cover the theft. Now you complain about the next government, because they put a stop to the bull shit.

          • henry odukomaiya

            Not quite true.
            Remember the NCS recruitment scandal?
            Why would that happen if conditions were as rosy as you claim?

        • Godfrey Etokebe

          Can you dignify the corruption with facts?

      • FineBoy

        Eating the seed and expecting future harvest?

        Please try marry, train your kids and don’t use their school fees for isi-ewu and odeku


      Bbla….bla…..bla, please look who’s talking ..

      The boss of the Omo Oloye klepto dynasty.

  • Mizch

    The wailing wailers cannot stop blaming Jonathan for the miscarriage of their wives. Jonathan did his best, believed that those around him were responsible. But they were thieves. Therefore, let the wailing wailers go on complaining and blaming GEJ, until death do you part.

    • FineBoy

      So why blame PMB for the ones around him?


      • Mizch

        Not hypocrisy, but just a piece of admonition that the wailing wailers leave the spilt milk and move on. Hope you understand this.

  • Steve

    Kettle calling pot black. We haven’t forgotten Societe General Bank. The Saraki dynasty started stealing public funds years before the man-without-shoes from Otuoke came into politics.

  • Isa Adam

    The Era of Jonathan was known for bad governance and corruption, may we never witness such era again, AMEEN

  • Ahmed Yaman

    A real thieve is calling another person a thieve..nawoooo

  • thusspokez

    The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Thursday said he believes ex-President Goodluck Jonathan let corruption thrive during his administration, but was not a power hungry individual.

    Recently, we heard from the first-class crook and looter Tinubu awarding gold medal to Jonathan for corruption, Now we see the turn of yet another first-class crook — who should be in prison but remains the Senate president.

    Jonathan did not show that he could bite when people cross him. This is why even after leaving office he is still been insulted by everyone. And this has little to do with the size of his ethnicity, but everything to do with him not commanding reverence around him as other Nigerian leaders had done. Gowon, IBB, Sani Abacha are from minority ethnic groups, but I can’t see the crook and coward Tinuku or crooked Saraki insulting them.

  • KBE

    This from the mouth of Bukola Saraki? Wonder shall never end.

  • Dr Pat Kolawole Awosan

    Former president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, simply is a clueless and very corruptible leader who encourages looting,stealing and embezzlement, of our national commonwealth on his watch.To Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and his wife,Dame Patience Jonathan, stealing from the public treasuries is no corruption but a passion.