A day after the public presentation of his book, ‘My Transition Hour’, former President Goodluck Jonathan has been criticised by the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, who described the book as “elementary” and containing “fiction.”
Mr Shettima said the former president lied about the issue of the Chibok schoolgirls, who were abducted in 2014 while Mr Shettima was in office. The issue was included in the content of the new book.
Mr Jonathan was in the spotlight on Tuesday when he launched the book at an event marking his 61st birthday.
The book focused on the former president’s last days in office in 2015 and controversies that trailed his eventual acceptance of defeat ahead of the official announcement of the election results.
Mr Jonathan at the event also delved into a narration of the ‘intrigues’ trailing the abduction of the schoolgirls, as captured in his book.
In Chapter 4 of the book, the former president blamed the inability of his government to rescue the girls on the then opposition All Progressive Congress (APC), which was in control (still is) of Borno State then.
He also criticised former U.S. President, Barrack Obama’s administration for failing to assist his government in rescuing the kids.
In a swift rebuttal, Wednesday, Mr Shettima accused the former president of an attempt to “sweep under the carpet the incontrovertible facts about how his (Jonathan) government mishandled the issue of the abduction.”
Mr Shettima who made his view known via a press statement issued by his media adviser, Isa Gusau, wondered how the former president could speak about the abduction when ”he had never believed any girl was abducted”.
The governor also said ”he took the whole of Tuesday night to read the former president’s book” and found it ‘elementary’ in content.
He said Mr Jonathan deliberately omitted details of the presidential fact-finding committee he belatedly constituted to investigate how the girls went missing in Chapter 4 of his book ”where the issue was extensively discussed”.
Mr Shettima, who described ex-president Jonathan’s book as “elementary book of tales”, said the book “fell short of the courage required of him (Jonathan) to publish findings by his own panel in chapter four of his book”.
Mr Shettima’s statement reads in full
“The whole of Tuesday night, I took the pains of reading His Excellency, former President Goodluck Jonathan’s book, My Transition Hours, from the first to the 177th page. I took particular interest in chapter four (the Chibok school girls affair) which has 42 paragraphs written on pages 27 to 36.
“I was amused that despite admitting in paragraph 15, that he had (in May 2014) constituted a Presidential Fact-Finding Committee under Brigadier General Ibrahim Sabo and many others “to investigate” the Chibok abduction, former President Jonathan refused to mention any part or whole of the findings by that panel which had submitted a highly investigative report submitted to him on Friday, June 20, 2014 after the panel held investigative meetings with the then Chiefs of Defense Staff, Army Staff, Air Staff, the DG, DSS and IGP, met all security heads in Borno, visited Chibok, met with parents of abducted schoolgirls, met surviving students, interrogated officials of the school and the supervising ministry of education, interrogated officials of WAEC and analyzed all correspondences.
“What has become very clear is that the former President decided to sit on facts in his custody while he published, in an elementary standard, a book of fiction designed to pass guilty verdicts to anyone but himself, with respect to the open failures of his administration to rescue our daughters and in tackling the Boko Haram challenges.
“By refusing to publish any part of his own panel’s findings on the Chibok abduction, Jonathan’s book was nothing short of a presidential tale by midday.
“For the records, I recall that on Tuesday, the 6th of May, 2014, President Jonathan had inaugurated multi-agency/stakeholder fact-finding panel under the chairmanship of Brig. General Ibrahim Sabo (rtd), a one-time Director of Military Intelligence and also appointed a secretary from the Niger Delta.
“President Jonathan single-handedly selected all members of that committee which included his trustees amongst serving and retired security officers from the Army, DSS and Police; representatives of the UN and ECOWAS, representatives of the Chibok community, local and international civil rights organisations, representatives of the National Council on Women Societies, the Nigeria Union of Journalists amongst other persons he trusted.
“For almost two months, the probe panel undertook forensic assessment of all documents on the entire issue, held investigative meetings with parents of the schoolgirls during a visit to Chibok. The panel held separate one-on-one investigative meetings with myself, the then Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chiefs of Air and Naval Staff, met the then Director General of the DSS and the Inspector General of Police, all of whom were appointees of President Jonathan.
“The panel interrogated officials of Borno Government including the Comof Education and the school principal. The panel also held investigative meetings with heads of all security agencies in Borno State including security formations in charge of Chibok. At the end, the panel submitted it’s report directly to President Jonathan on Friday, the 20th of June, 2014 in Abuja. President Jonathan has refused to make public the findings submitted to him. I was expecting the findings in his book but he has deliberately swept that report under the carpet.
“However, I remember that on June 24, 2014, the ThisDay Newspaper claimed to have obtained a copy of the panel’s report and published as its lead, that painstaking findings by the Presidential panel had indicted the military under Jonathan’s watch and completely absolved the Borno State Government of any blame regarding the Chibok abduction.
“The newspaper went further to say that panel actually commended efforts of the Borno State Government in its commitment to the fight against Boko Haram as testified by heads of security establishments.”
“It is clear to me, after reading the former president’s book, that he still lives with poor understanding of issues under his presidency.
“For instance, Jonathan’s claim on page 31 that Boko Haram wanted a Muslim President rather than him as Christian was laughable since the insurgents actually began their deadliest attacks in Borno under the regime of late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua, a Muslim from northern Nigeria.
“We know for a fact that as vicious cycle of evil, Boko Haram fighters do not care about the religion of their targeted victims. They attack Mosques and Churches. They are lunatics who regard anyone who doesn’t share their ideology as an infidel.
“So, I wonder how the former President didn’t take time to understand the biggest challenge under his presidency.”