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Implementation of APC restructuring report will move Nigeria forward, says Jonathan

Former President Goodluck Jonathan says the sincere implementation of the recommendations of the All Progressives Congress (APC) restructuring committee will move the nation forward.

The committee led by Ahmad Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, submitted its report last week.

Speaking when Seriake Dickson, governor of Bayelsa, led a delegation to the former president on Thursday, Jonathan said the implementation would also encourage inter-ethnic harmony.

According to Fidelis Soriwei, spokesman of Dickson, Jonathan said the issues which the committee deliberated upon were exhaustively treated during the 2014 national conference.

He said it is a good idea that the APC set up a committee to look into the grey areas which featured prominently in the deliberations of the 2014 conference.

He commended Dickson for playing the role of coordinating the thoughts of the Ijaw people on the sensitive issue of restructuring.

The Nigerian leader said the governor must be appreciated for ensuring that the Ijaw nation did not speak with discordant tones on the issue of restructuring.

“I am pleased with the caliber of people who came with the governor to brief me on the issue of the recommendations of the APC committee on restructuring,” he said.

“I must say that I am happy with the role being played by the governor on this issue of restructuring.

“Ethnic nationalities must not speak with discordant tones on such pertinent issues. I am pleased that Dickson is coordinating the Ijaw nation.

“I am also pleased that the APC set up a committee to look into the grey areas to come up with these recommendations. When we were in government, we came up with a confab and several issues were addressed which if sincerely implemented would encourage relationship in the country. A sincere implementation of the recommendations on these grey areas will make the country to move forward.”

On his part, Dickson said he led the delegation for a consultative meeting and to brief him on the steps the Ijaws had taken to build bridges of understanding in the pursuit of what is right in the country.

He explained the meeting focused on the issue of restructuring and the moves being made to bring about a just, fair and egalitarian Nigerian society.

Dickson noted that the recommendations contained in the report of the APC committee were the same as those contained in the 2014 confab.

“As you all can see, this is a high-powered delegation of Ijaw elders and leaders from all the zones from Ijaw nation,” he said.

“I am leading them to meet and consult with our respected leader, the former president and also to brief him on steps we are taking; steps we will continue to take to unify our people to build bridges of understanding and to support all that is right and good, not only in this region, but across the nation.

“As you are aware, there is a raging issue of restructuring and moves made to bring about a fairer, egalitarian, stable and prosperous Nigeria. And here, in this state and in this region, we are proud to have our leader, the former president and so today we came to brief him about the steps we are taking to study all the reports, including, the reports of the 2014 Confab which was rightly empanelled by Mr. President and it is gratifying to note a number of the recommendations given by the APC panel are the same conclusions that the 2014 Confab arrived at.”

The meeting was a follow up to an earlier one at Kiagbodo, the country home of Edwin Clark on January 20, 2018.

Jonathan disowns comment on El-Rufai

Former President Goodluck has dissociated himself from a report saying the ex-President claimed he contributed to Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, campaign fund.

The ex-President, in a statement issued by his media aide, Ikechukwu Eze, described the report as fake news fabricated by some mischievous elements.

He also advised media houses to avoid offering their platforms for spread of false information.

The statement reads: “Our attention has been drawn to a fictitious comment on Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, purportedly made by the ex-President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, in which the former President was assumed to have spoken on his alleged contributions to El-Rufai’s campaign funds.

“This falsehood which was obviously fabricated by some mischievous elements and first circulated early last year by a shady online publication, has unfortunately resurfaced again. This time, a credible online group is sadly the one giving it prominence.

“We will again wish to entirely dissociate Dr. Jonathan from this fallacious comment which is lacking in all attributes of reason and credibility. We will also like to advise media organisations, especially those that serve as credible sources of information for the public, to always confirm their stories before publishing, to avoid misleading their readers.”

Convention: PDP governors revolt against IBB, Jonathan

To have a rancour-free convention and install the national chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors will compile a “unity list” of candidates who delegates will vote for, The Nation reported.

The list is said to be the governors’ joker to checkmate the influence of ex-military President Ibrahim Babangida and former President Goodluck Jonathan on delegates.

The “unity list” may be out on Friday, about 24 hours to the December 9 convention.

It was learnt that the North’s delegates had become divided over two candidates – former Acting National Chairman Uche Secondus and former Education Minister Prof. Tunde Adeniran.

Before the split, Adeniran was having a clear edge in the North over Secondus whose campaign has changed the game.

But the governors’ grip on the party has caused anxiety in the camp of ex-Vice-President Atiku Abubakar whose main backers are Babangida and Jonathan.

The tension in Atiku’s camp is over the fear that if the governors seize the machinery of the party, they may determine its choice of a presidential candidate.

Babangida on Sunday raised the alarm on huge deployment of cash to woo delegates.

The governors have reached out to ex-governors, ex-ministers, National Assembly caucuses and some members of the Board of Trustees (BoT).

They are believed to have allayed the fears of stakeholders who think that they are out to hijack the party. Their mission, the governors are quoted as saying, is to change the old order.

To carry all stakeholders along, the governors have chosen to consult and agree on a Unity List, which will be “representational”.

A governor, who spoke in confidence, said: “We want to have a stress-free elective national convention. We have been spending the past few days to build consensus on how to preserve the unity of the party.

“As I talk to you, we are working on a “Unity List” which will accommodate all interests and make the convention great.

“The list will also correct the perception of the loyalists of Babangida and Jonathan that we are out to destroy the party. This is our own way of checkmating the forces who have held the party hostage since 1998.

“The speculations about use of money are unfounded. As a new generation of leaders in PDP, we know what is good for the party too. We won’t allow the imposition any pre-determined agenda on delegates.”

Asked of who the governors will support for national chairman, the source, who pleaded not to be named for “strategic reasons”, added: “We are working on Secondus but the delegates will have the final say because we will allow a free and fair process.”

A member of the Board of Trustees (BoT) said: “Some of us are in agreement with the governors on the Unity List to douse the tension surrounding the convention.

“I think the governors will release the Unity List on Friday. What is important is for peace and harmony to reign in our party.”

Northern delegates are split over two Secondus and Adeniran.

“Initially, the Northern delegates had agreed on block voting but things have changed in the last 72 hours.

“Delegates from Plateau, Benue, Jigawa, Taraba, Gombe and Kano may not go ahead with block voting. The intrigues have been intense,” another source said, adding:

“As it is now, Northern delegates cannot talk with one voice at the convention on Saturday.”

It was gathered that the recourse to unity list by governors has caused anxiety in Atiku’s camp because the method may whittle down the influence of Babangida and Jonathan who lured the ex-Vice President back into PDP.”

A former governor said: “Once the governors take over PDP structure, it will be difficult for Babangida and Jonathan to impose Atiku as the party’s presidential candidate.

“This is why Babangida and his loyalists have been jittery about the activities of the governors. Even Atiku is aware of the danger ahead because he knows the capacity of governors.

“The same Atiku used the governors to hold ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo to ransom in 2003 before the ex-President could get a second term ticket.”

Jonathan blasts Shettima: You frustrated Boko Haram war, failed to secure Chibok girls

 

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has accused Kashim Shettima, Borno state governor, of frustrating the war against Boko Haram during his administration.

He said the governor exposed the girls of Chibok Secondary School to danger by failing to heed the federal government’s directive to relocate them while writing the West African School Certificate Examinations (WASCE).

Jonathan said this in reaction to Shettima’s claim that he nearly removed him as governor in 2014 over the disappearance of Chibok schoolgirls.

In a statement issued on Friday by Jonathan spokesman, Ikechukwu Eze, the former president also described ‘On a Platter of Gold- How Jonathan won and lost Nigeria’, a book written by Bolaji Abdullahi, as “sore grapes and full of lies and gossip”.

THE FULL STATEMENT

Our attention has been drawn to the claims made by the Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima on Thursday at a book launch to the effect that former President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan wasted the goodwill he commanded because of bad governance and poor choices in office. He was also said to have accused Jonathan of believing that he was behind the kidnap of the Chibok girls.

As a man who had never seen anything good in the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan on account of party and other differences, it has remained our considered view that in a democracy, Governor Kashim Shettima and others like him are entitled to their opinion, no matter how jaundiced.

However, it is a sad commentary on the character of some of our politicians that they go to any length to make spurious statements, in pursuit of the sad narrative to remain politically correct. We cannot be deceived by his crocodile tears and patronizing claim that “Jonathan is essentially a decent man”, which is a ploy he deployed to justify his false allegation of a lost glory.

The man who today speaks of squandered goodwill should be able to tell Nigerians what percentage of the votes Jonathan got in 2011 from Borno State at the height of that his envisaged glory according to Shettima, and what it became in subsequent elections. What was obvious yesterday and has remained so today is that Governor Shettima and those who think like him never liked Jonathan based on some parochial and paternalistic sentiments.

We didn’t expect anything less from Governor Shettima, knowing the ignoble roles he played in frustrating the war waged by the past administration against Boko Haram, even in his own Borno State.

He should be able to tell us if it was Jonathan’s poor choices that led the Governor to expose students of Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok to avoidable danger, in total disregard of a Federal Government directive to the Governors in the three states most affected by Boko Haram to relocate their students writing the West African School Certificate Examinations to safe zones.

The Governor is now denying that he had no hand in the kidnap of the Chibok girls even before anybody accused him of culpability. However, we share the view of those who insist that the Governor had other things up his sleeve when he promised the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) that he would secure the girls, and ended up doing the very opposite, by deliberately abandoning them to their fate, without any security presence in their school.

It is instructive that while other Governors in the zone heeded the security advice, Shettima remained the only one that flagrantly flouted it. Should we also fail to point out that his decision to reward the principal of Chibok Secondary School, who was uncharacteristically absent on the night terrorists stormed the school, with the post of a commissioner, did throw up more questions than answers?

Talking about accountability, perhaps, Shettima should also do well to explain to the good people of Borno State and Nigerians what he did with the over N60 billion Local Governments fund, left by his predecessor, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff.

We understand Governor Shettima and those who spoke like him accused Jonathan of bad governance and poor choices, and we would like to know if it was bad governance that led Jonathan to assemble a-yet-to be matched crop of dynamic cabinet and economic management team made up of tested technocrats like Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in Finance ministry, Dr. Shamsuddeen Usman in Planning, Mr Olusegun Aganga in Trade and Investments as well as Dr. Akinwumi Adesina leading the charge in Agriculture. The efforts of the Jonathan administration in repositioning Nigeria’s economy remain self-evident and it must have indeed been poor choices at their best for Jonathan and his team to have recorded the following key achievements:

* Nigeria’s Gross domestic Product rose to $503bn in 2013 and became Africa’s largest economy and 26th in the world; from 3rd and 46th respectively.

* Nigeria became the number one destination for Foreign Direct Investment in Africa under former President Jonathan, with the numbers rising from US$24.9 million as at 2007 to over US$ 35 billion in 2014.

* Jonathan Government delivered over 25,000 kilometres of motorable federal roads from just a quarter of that number in 2011.

* The Jonathan Administration resuscitated the railways in the country after about 30-years of hiatus

*Jonathan’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda ended fertiliser racketeering, encouraged more young Nigerians to take to farming, boosted local food production and took the country closer to self-sufficiency in food production by recording more than 50% reduction in food imports. It was as a result of this that the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, for the first time, voted Nigeria the largest producer of Cassava in the world.

* Power generation under Jonathan was boosted to about 5,000 megawatts in 2014 up from 2,000 megawatts in 2011.

* Prices of food and other household items remained stable and inflationary pressure was down to a single digit.

* Under Jonathan, Nigeria controlled clinically Ebola outbreak to the admiration of the whole world, became Guinea-worm-free and also eradicated polio, with United States billionaire and renowned philanthropist Bill Gates, praising Nigeria’s successes against polio as one of the great world achievements of 2014. Sadly polio has returned to the country with the likes of Shettima in charge of the endemic states.

* Under Jonathan Life expectancy in Nigeria rose from 47 years in 2010 to 54 years in 2015.

*Just before Jonathan left office, CNN Money projected that Nigeria’s economy in 2015 would become the third fastest growing economy in the world at 7% behind China at 7.3% and Qatar at 7.1%.

Was it bad governance and poor choices that reformed the political and electoral processes to the extent that the United Nations is now pleading with the government of the day to strive to maintain the standards established by Jonathan?

Fortunately, Nigerians know where they stand with all of their leaders. All those who are calling Jonathan names today, and accusing him of having become quite unpopular, should simply take a walk on the streets of any Nigerian city as real leaders do. That way, they will accurately gauge their own approval and test their popularity with the Nigerian people.

On the book entitled “On a Platter of Gold- How Jonathan won and lost Nigeria” written by Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, we have watched for some time as some outrageous fabrications are extracted from its pages day after day by the media. When the publication of the book, with an ominous title was first mooted, we knew it will be full of bile and sour grapes. We didn’t expect truth, sincerity and accuracy of narration, given that the author who was sacked from his ministerial position by the subject of the book, is now the spokesman for the ruling APC.

We will therefore like to dissociate former President Jonathan from the book’s salacious contents, with all the obvious distortions, lies and exaggerations. Its pages are populated with gossip, politically influenced newspaper articles, uncoordinated raw data and unproven claims. Sadly, the author did not help matters, as there was no rigor or indepth investigations towards establishing the veracity of the allegations the book contained. For instance, it is ridiculous for the author to have claimed that the President was forced to sack a certain minister by another cabinet member when the obvious truth known to all key members of the administration was that the President acted based on the recommendation of an internal committee that investigated the matter. This, unfortunately, is the kind of baseless claims and narrative that run through the entire book, and it would be pointless devoting our time towards making a case by case response to all its ridiculous allegations.

We will like to remind Nigerians of what former President Jonathan said earlier in the year when a similar book was published, that only the key actors in his Government and in the 2015 Presidential elections could give an exact account of what transpired, not speculations and conjectures by third party spectators. That time will come someday.

PDP chairmanship: Jonathan, Wike fall apart over Secondus

Ahead of the make or break convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on December 9, former President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State are at daggers drawn over Prince Uche Secondus’ bid to become the party’s national chairman.

Jonathan, our correspondent gathered, is mobilising serious opposition against Secondus, a frontline chairmanship aspirant in the party who hails from the Ijaw-speaking part of Rivers State.

The former President is said to be determined to scuttle the ambition of Secondus, who enjoys the support of Wike and other South-South governors.

Wike is a key supporter of Secondus, a former acting Chairman of the PDP National Working Committee (NWC).

He was said to be angry that instead of closing ranks with him and other South-South governors to ensure that his fellow Ijaw brother becomes the next chairman, the former President was busy working against Secondus.

It was gathered that Jonathan’s moves against Secondus were borne out of his cold war with Wike and another South-South governor, following his belief that the duo frustrated an initial plot by his key loyalists to return him as PDP’s Presidential candidate in 2019.

Credible party sources said there was a failed grand plan by Jonathan’s loyalists, especially former ministers and other key aides who served under him, to hijack the party’s structure and pave the way for him to return as its standard bearer.

A stalwart of the PDP, who spoke in confidence, said: “Jonathan has continued to blame the failure of the plan on Wike and the other South-South governor. He believes that the duo frustrated his ambition to return as the party’s presidential candidate.

“His next move is to stop any aspirant for the position of national chairman who has links with Wike.

“He does not want Secondus, knowing that Wike is the one behind his ambition.

“Unknown to many people, Jonathan and Wike have fallen apart and Jonathan’s wife is no longer close to the governor of Rivers State.

“If Secondus is out of the way, Jonathan and his wife, Patience, will go for the structures of the PDP, especially in Bayelsa and Rivers states, to enable them to play key roles in the 2019 elections.”

It was gathered that Jonathan was aligning with the PDP elements in the north against Secondus.

The former President reportedly held various meetings with PDP stakeholders in the north, which has significant number of the delegates for the convention, to extract commitment from them that they would not cast their votes for Secondus.

The party source added: “Jonathan is serious with his anti-Secondus campaign in the north. The north has many of the delegates and presidential aspirants, and Jonathan is reaching out to all of them.

“While he is openly backing a former minister, Nenadi Usman, to become the national secretary of the PDP, Jonathan wants any chairmanship aspirant other than Secondus to emerge victorious at the party’s national convention.

“His actions are creating divisions in the party ahead of the convention. The Ijaw stakeholders in the party and the South-South are not happy with the former President for not supporting their own.

“But like he failed in his previous plots, he will definitely fail again, because Secondus is unstoppable.”

A group, the South-South Coalition for Good Governance, yesterday confirmed that Jonathan’s clandestine moves against Secondus was real, and condemned the actions of the former President.

ýThe group, in a statement signed by its Co-ordinator, Mr. John Boma-Harrison, said theý grand plot was being hatched by Jonathan, using some of his northern allies.

The group said that the former president was mobilising northern delegates against the candidacy of Secondus, despite Secondus being a southerner and a proud son of the Niger Delta.

While condemning the former President’s “divisive attitude”, they wondered why he would move against his own Ijaw brother who enjoyed the overwhelming support of majority of PDP supporters across the country.

They observed that Secondus was tipped as the possible winner because of his popularity and his rich profile in party politics, adding that nothing would stop him.

They advised the former president to desist from his anti-Secondus campaign, especially his attempt to mobilise northern delegates to vote against the candidacy of Secondus.

They also called on the former president to concentrate on playing the role of a statesman rather than engage in “subterfuge and unbridled politickingý” that would further dent his image.

They said: “We have uncovered a plot by former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to scuttle the chances of the most accepted candidate for the position of national chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondusý.

“We have it on good authority that the former president is using northern delegates to mobilise against Secondus who hails from the south, and an Ijaw man like him.

“We are disappointed in him, but we want to use this medium to advise him to retrace his steps.

“He is a statesman, and he should play that role.”

2015: How plot to abduct Jega failed

Unknown to many Nigerians, there was a plot to abduct a former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, in the thick of the announcement of the results of the 2015 presidential poll.

Jega was to be forced to resign or declare the election as inconclusive.

Another dimension to the plot was botched plans to bomb the International Conference Centre(ICC) where the results of the poll were collated.

Also, the idea of a military takeover was mooted by Jonathan’s men to scuttle the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari, but the two most senior military officers at the meeting said it was too late.

Worried by the failure to truncate Buhari’s victory, a former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal, Alex Badeh, was said to have sent a terse text message to a former Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Suleiman Abba, in which he accused the ex-IGP of treachery.

But the book clarified that Jonathan was not aware of the multi-dimensional plots.

These facts were contained in a book, ‘On a Platter of Gold: How Jonathan won and lost Nigeria,’ written by a former Minister of Sports, Mr. Bolaji Abdullahi, who is now the National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress(APC).

The book implicated some top military officers, a Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Sotonye Wakama (who is from Okrika like the former First Lady, Patience Jonathan), heads of security agencies and senior politicians from the South-South.

According to the book, a former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Godsday Orubebe, was to spearhead the plot to cause chaos in ICC while others, including policemen will withdraw and allow a mob to cause the commotion which will lead to the abduction of Jega.

But while Orubebe acted his script, the ex-IGP Abba chose to uphold the rule of law and instead of deploying policemen to the ICC to disrupt the collation of results, he reinforced security.
Abba overruled a Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Sotonye Wakama, who was allegedly part of the plot.

The scuttling of the plot made Orubebe to carry the can alone because no one else joined him in the plot.

The book reads in part: “In the early hours of Tuesday, 31st April, an urgent meeting had just been concluded in a private house in the Maitama area of the nation’s capital. At the meeting were some top military and security chiefs believed to be loyal to President Jonathan and some senior politicians from his South-South region.

“The meeting had been convened to save what was turning out to be a disastrous situation for their ‘son’. Something had to be done and it had to be done quickly. The situation appeared desperate, truly, but all was not lost yet. As long as the final results had not been officially announced, there was still a chance to do something.

“The first option on the table reflected the desperation of the moment. If an explosion were to go off near the International Conference Centre (lCC) where the results were being collated, this would create the situation that could allow some agents to move in and remove or burn election materials.

“This option was, however, rejected. Not only was it considered extreme. It carried a high risk of unintended consequences, especially with the menace of Boko Haram running wild and loose in the country, it could also lead to loss of lives.

“If the goal was to render the election inconclusive and stop the announcement of the final results, there must be some other way of achieving this.

“The other way was to mobilize as many people as possible to invade the venue and disrupt the collation process. This was seen as a better option. It was low risk and had the added advantage of live television coverage to show the whole world the injustice that had happened in Nigeria and how the lNEC was part of the conspiracy.

“No matter what happened, President Jonathan could not he informed of these plans. Everyone agreed that they had to save the President, even against his own will. It was a moment of blind passion. But this was not all about Jonathan. Apart from the personal benefits that had turned many of them into millionaires overnight, they saw the Jonathan presidency as the culmination of the Niger-Delta struggle that had started many years earlier and cost so much in human lives.

“It was the ultimate recompense for so much bloodshed, which would, perhaps, require more blood to preserve. But they also knew that President Jonathan was no militant. To some of them, he wasn’t even ljaw enough.

Therefore, if he knew what was being planned, he would no doubt stop it. The only way to get him to act ‘more presidential was to keep everything away from him till the last minute, thereby forcing his hands.’ For the plan to succeed however, the inspector General of Police and the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS) had to withdraw their officers from the International Conference Centre. While they did not envisage any problem with the DSS, the same could not be said of the police. This was why the Deputy inspector General, Sotonye Wakama, was invited to the meeting instead of the Inspector-General himself. Wakama was an ljaw man from Okirika in Rivers State, just like the First Lady. He could be trusted. The same could however not he said of his boss, Suleiman Abba, from Jigawa.

“About the decisions arising from the meeting he had been invited to, Abba declared in no uncertain terms that the police would not be party to such obnoxious plan. Instead of withdrawing his men, he decided to send in reinforcements. This was a major setback, but not enough to scuttle the entire plan.

“Text messages had already been sent out to some key people, inviting them to join the protest at the International Conference Centre. Even though only a few had acknowledged the text messages, they believed everyone would turn up. After all, those invited also had a lot to lose with President Jonathan out of power.

“Unknown to the plotters, a few of those that received the text messages planned to heed the call. Not having attended the meeting, they had little or no background information about the protest they were being invited to participate in.

“Many also wondered who the brains behind the plot were. The Jonathan campaign had been fractious and disjointed and it was often difficult knowing who was doing what.

“Those within the party hierarchy were particularly bitter at their perceived alienation from the presidential campaign. Therefore, they were not going to join a battle they were not considered important enough to be part of in the first place. A good number ignored the call to am because they did not want to make a spectacle of themselves live television transmitting to the whole world. And so it was that almost everyone stayed away. Except one man, Peter Godsday Orubebe.”

The book also revealed the botched plans to abduct the ex-INEC chairman, Prof. Jega.

It says: “The stoic calmness displayed by Jega during the stormy session soon attained the metaphorical status believed to have contributed in upending the plot hatched to truncate the electoral process,

“What the INEC chairman probably did not know at the time was that part of the plan was to abduct him under the smokescreen of the confusion that would ensure the moment the police began to fire tear gas canisters into the venue.

“Once abducted, he would either be forced to resign or to declare the election as inconclusive. However, with other actors not playing their part and the police not reacting as envisaged, all had gone awry within minutes.”

Having failed in all fronts, some loyalists of the ex-President came up with the idea of a military takeover to prevent Buhari from becoming the President.

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Jonathan described subsidy scam as ‘oily business’ – Saraki

The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, said former President Goodluck Jonathan was never desperate for power, but got there by providence.

He stated this on Thursday in Abuja at the unveiling of a book titled, “On a Platter of Gold: How Jonathan won and lost Nigeria,“ written by the National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, Mallam Bolaji Abudullahi.

Saraki, who was the chief host on the occasion, said “a country produces the kind of leadership it gets.’’

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

He added that Jonathan was not someone that was prepared for leadership but became the President of the country either by “misfortune or fortune.“

Saraki added that it was unfortunate that Nigerians knew the right things to do, but would not do it but would keep playing the blame game.

Saraki, who expressed optimism that the book would be cherished by Nigerians going by its quality, used the occasion to share two experiences he had with Jonathan.

The Senate President said, “I like to share one or two things that will probably summarise the former President Jonathan. I remember when I was then a PDP senator and I came across this issue of fuel subsidy and the way the country was losing close to about N1.3tn.

“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 that I wanted to present on the floor of the Senate. But 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 can be taken so that I can step down the motion.

He added, “I booked an appointment to see Mr. President and I went with my paper.

“I started with the background of how people brought in petroleum products. I said Mr. President, in the past, people use to get award letters from the NNPC to bring in PMS, DPK, and make 10, 20 per cent profit. I said sir, they’ve taken it to another level, now, and they get an order to bring in products and they don’t want to make 10 or 20 per cent any more.

“They will get an offer to bring in a cargo of 20,000 litres they will bring in 5,000 litres but stamped it for 20,000 litres and instead of making 10 per cent; they make ten times the amount. I was telling the President thinking the President will get very agitated, but he only said, ‘Senator Saraki, you know this oil business is very oily.”’

The Senate President said he was stunned.

Saraki, however, conceded that that was the kind of person the then President was.

While recalling the second encounter, Saraki said, “The second encounter I will recollect was the day I decided I am going to contest to be President. I felt that I didn’t want Jonathan to hear it as news.

“I booked an appointment to see him. I went to the Villa and 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 may be I would not have left the Villa but that again sums up Goodluck Jonathan.”

The Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, who was the chairman on the occasion, said Jonathan squandered the unprecedented goodwill he enjoyed at the beginning of his Presidency to the calibre of persons he surrounded himself with as well as a series of terrible choices he made.

Abdullahi challenged those who had a different perspective to write their own accounts.

Beg Obasanjo and get PDP ticket, Jonathan tells Atiku

 

Former President Goodluck  Jonathan has said that ex- vice president, Atiku Abubakar must beg or apolgize to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo to get the 2019 presidential ticket of the People Democratic Party (PDP) on a platter of gold.

Although Obasanjo has quit partisan politics, Jonathan was of the opinion that “he is still a strong factor in shaping the future of the nation in 2019 because he is a force among the revered kingmakers.”

Former President Jonathan had in early November told the publisher of Ovation magazine in an interview that “If Atiku gets our party ticket, he would compete well. But he would have to reach out to our boss, Baba OBJ, the boss of all bosses. We’ve all learnt at different times that you ignore OBJ at your peril. OBJ has the magic wand. He is respected at home and abroad.”

It was however unclear if Atiku has either accepted the condition or opted to go it alone in seeking the presidential mandate of the PDP.

But some presidential aspirants in PDP were said not to be ready to step down for Atiku, whom Jonathan is working to the answer for.

The aspirants said they prefer to slug it out with Atiku during the presidential primaries.

The affected aspirants are ex-Governor Sule Lamido, ex-Minister Ibrahim Shekarau, Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo and a former governor (now a Senator), who is expected to defect from APC to PDP.

The fate of the Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of PDP, Sen. Ahmed Makarfi on the party’s 2019 ticket was hanging in the balance as at press time.

 

Findings by our correspondent revealed that the secret deal, which made Atiku to resign from the All Progressives Congress (APC), was comprehensive and targeted at the ex-VP securing the PDP presidential slot.

It was gathered that the package also borders on hijacking the party structure at the National Convention on December 9 to make Atiku’s choice as the PDP presidential candidate a reality.

Following lobbying by Jonathan, some founding fathers of PDP (including a few retired military officers), have been part of the latest course in PDP.

Investigation revealed that most governors of the PDP were said to have bought into the Atiku project in deference to Jonathan.

A top source, who was privy to the deal, said: “The unfolding script on Atiku’s return to PDP has the blessing of some founding fathers of PDP who are out to salvage the party. A major component is a likely waiver for the ex-VP to contest the party’s presidential primaries.

“So far, Atiku is complying with the secret accord for his return to PDP. A formal declaration in Yola is being expected either on Wednesday or December 6 as indicated in a tentative timetable.

“But in one of the negotiation shuttles with Atiku, ex-President Jonathan added a caveat that the former Vice President can comfortably secure PDP ticket and win the 2019 poll if he begs ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo.

“We were all shocked by this condition because Obasanjo is no longer in partisan politics. But Jonathan said Obasanjo is an institution whose action or inaction could make or mar the electoral fortunes of Atiku.

“The former President also believes that Obasanjo may persuade any of the presidential aspirants to withdraw for Atiku after weighing all the indices. He said if Obasanjo could reconcile with him, he can also forgive Atiku.

“As a matter of fact, Jonathan cited cases of chairmanship aspirants in PDP travelling to Abeokuta to seek his blessing.

“We are expecting Atiku to comply with this proviso because we want to begin the media war (based on facts and figures) in earnest.

“Jonathan’s position on Obasanjo has been endorsed by some founding fathers of PDP, especially the military class which contrived the existence of the party.”

Meanwhile, there were indications yesterday that some presidential aspirants in the PDP may not step down for Atiku.

These include Lamido, Shekarau, Dankwambo and a former governor (now a Senator), who is expected to defect from APC to PDP.

It was not clear if the Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of PDP, Sen. Ahmed Makarfi will seek the party’s 2019 ticket.

A governor, who played a significant role in the pact with Atiku, said: “As part of the deal, we have been trying to prevail on some of these aspirants to step down but they have chosen to contest the primaries with the ex-Vice President.

“Some of them queried why a politician will cross from the opposition party and just be given PDP presidential ticket.

“One of the aspirants said since 1999, he has never defected to any party. He said loyalty to the party and competence should be compensated by PDP.

“Well, we have looked into PDP Constitution, it is immaterial when you join, you can enjoy the rights and privileges which a Methuselah member enjoys. Go and look at sections 8 and 18 of our constitution.”

While Section 8(a) and (b) of the PDP Constitution deals with the procedure for rejoining PDP, Section 18 is on the Status of Returnee Members.

Section 8 reads: “A person who desires to rejoin the party after leaving it shall: (a) apply to his Ward Secretary for readmission; and (b) unless given waiver by the National Working Committee(NWC), be placed on probation for a period of not less than one year.

“Subject to the provision of Section 8(b), a member on probation shall have the right to attend all meetings of the party but shall not be entitled to vote at such meetings, nor shall he be eligible to contest for elective office on the platform of the party.

Section 18 says: “A person who has earlier decamped from the party but later decides to return to the party shall lose the seniority and privileges conferred on him by his previous status.”

But the PDP top shot said: “As the opposition party, we are looking at the larger picture of the return of Atiku, we will give him all waivers required to ensure his readmission.

“Some of our leaders, who were initially opposed to the return of the ex-VP, had shown enough understanding in the past few months.”

Meanwhile, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Alhaji Kehinde Olaosebikan yesterday said the exit of Atiku would not have any significant effect on the fortunes of the party in the 2019 general elections.

He said no serving governor, no presiding officer of the National Assembly or key national executive officer of the party was in sync with Atiku’s defection.

Olaosebikan who spoke with journalists in Abuja yesterday said in spite of the defection, President Muhammadu Buhari would win hands down and that the party would perform better in 2019.

He added: “Going through the resignation letter, I found out that the Turaki did not exercise enough fortitude. He allowed politics and ambition to take control of him. He should have stayed with his avowed position in 2013 that the All Progressives Congress was his last bus stop politically, and leave the rest in the hands of Allah.”

“What the President needs from us, particularly the big political players is love, understanding, support and prayers as already being exhibited by the National Executive of the party and our National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who at different fora recently gave us hope and assurances of a better tomorrow.”

When asked of the declaration of Asiwaju Tinubu that the party would not give automatic ticket to President Buhari for a second term, Olaosebikan told journalists that the position of Tinubu was in the best interest of the President, APC and the country as a whole.

“Asiwaju, with the declaration of no automatic ticket was merely portraying the President as a genuine democrat who believes in due process. What Asiwaju Tinubu said was in support of strengthening our democracy and our political institution which we need to do with all seriousness.

“You would recall too, that he stated that all the organs of the party would support him through the processes. In a nutshell, he is in full support of his second term and you know with him, all the APC governors and the presiding officers in the National Assembly, the ticket is already in the pocket of the President.

“And when it comes to the general election, it is a platitude that you cannot compare the popularity and acceptability of President Muhammadu Buhari with that of any person in the country today. He will win in the North and in the South convincingly. Buhari is not loved for money or any material thing; he is passionately loved for his strong character and piousness.”

 

The Nation

‘Look, Akpabio, I’m not a bastard’ — how Mu’azu opposed plan to reject Buhari’s victory

 

Ahmed Adamu Mu’azu, chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the historic 2015 presidential poll, furiously reacted to suggestions that he should reject Muhammadu Buhari’s victory after President Goodluck Jonathan had openly conceded.

Jonathan, after congratulating Buhari in an unprecedented telephone call while the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was yet to officially announce the winner, told party members that although he had conceded to Buhari in his personal capacity, PDP was free to reject the result.

Before Jonathan conceded, however, Mu’azu had threatened to do so on behalf of the party.

He even stopped picking Jonathan’s calls at some point.

All these are snippets of the intrigues that followed Jonathan’s defeat — as narrated by Bolaji Abdullahi in a new book, ‘On a Platter of Gold: How Jonathan Won and Lost Nigeria’, which will go on sale nationwide from November 30, 2017 after launch.

In the advance copy made available to ONLY TheCable, the author said many of Jonathan’s supporters believed he was too hasty in congratulating Buhari and were looking at ways to undo the gesture.

It was then suggested that the PDP could still challenge the election in spite of the concession statement by Jonathan — but they had to move quickly. A meeting was scheduled for 6pm of Tuesday, March 31, three days after the election.

VOLTE-FACE

“By 6:00pm, all the President’s men and party bigwigs began to gather at the banquet hall of the Presidential Villa. Many had rushed back to Abuja for the meeting, anxious to know the next line of action. They had all heard the audio of the phone call, but opinions were sharply divided on whether the president had thrown in the towel too soon,” Abdullahi wrote.

“One South-South governor disclosed that this banquet hall meeting was not the president’s original idea. He said soon after the president made the telephone call to Buhari, some governors had gone to him to express their reservations about it. They felt he had conceded too cheaply. Their argument was that if the president and the party had rejected the outcome of the election, they would have gained a stronger platform to negotiate their exit.

“If the case had gone to court, probably going all the way to the Supreme Court, the Buhari government would have remained tentative until the matter was decided and this would have also bought Jonathan more time, or even more security out of office. They all agreed that all these were now merely academic. It was at this point that they decided to call a meeting and see if anything could still be done to salvage something from what at the time had effectively become a lost cause.

“Present at the meeting were Vice President, Namadi Sambo; Senate President David Mark and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu; as well as Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, who had also just contested and lost the governorship election in Imo State and was challenging the results. Others included: the People’s Democratic Party Board of Trustees Chairman, Tony Anenih; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim; Governor of Cross River State, Liyel Imoke; Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, and former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi. All members of PDP National Working Committee (NWC) were also present, led by the party chairman, Adamu Mu’azu. The meeting was chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan.

“The back-slapping, generous banter and raucous laughter that usually preceded such meetings were missing on this day. The banquet hall of the Presidential Villa held several memories of more exciting days for most dignitaries. But what was about to happen was anything but a banquet. There would be no feasting. In the last four days, a funereal gloom had descended on the entire Villa, and the few people that could still be sighted went about with faces turned to the ground. The mood this Tuesday afternoon was not any different. Some made courageous attempts at humour, but these fell flat like a joke made at a burial ground.”

ANENIH’S INTERVENTION

Abdullahi narrated what transpired at the meeting, beginning with the opening speech of Jonathan.

“Gentlemen, about an hour ago, I called General Buhari to congratulate him,” President Jonathan began. He explained that he did not make the call because he believed that the PDP lost the election, but rather, following advice from many people, he decided to concede in order to restore calm to the nation and avoid chaos. He added that, based on information at his disposal, he believed the election had been massively rigged and INEC was complicit in the fraud.

“While I have done my bit as a statesman, I believe the party should issue a strong statement to reject the results and say that PDP will challenge it in court,” he said, and suggested that the National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, should issue the statement.

“At first, many did not know what to make of this. How was it possible to concede defeat and not accept the results? Was the president asking the party to overrule or disown him? And if they went along with his suggestion, would the end result not be the same chaos that he said he was trying to avert by making the phone call?

“Anenih had the answers. He said the precedent for this had been set a few months earlier by the opposition party itself. When Ayo Fayose was declared winner of the governorship election in Ekiti State, the incumbent, Kayode Fayemi, promptly accepted defeat and congratulated his opponent. Even though Fayemi believed the election to be flawed, he said he conceded in order to save the state from chaos. However, this did not stop the APC from challenging the results in court. Anenih expressed the view that the National Chairman, Adamu Mu’azu, should issue the statement.”

‘STOLEN PRESIDENCY’

An agreement was reached on the way forward, Abdullahi narrated, and all seemed set for the change of tune by the party that had been in power for 16 years.

“Conscious that some others in the room also had their own battles to fight and were not primarily interested in Jonathan’s predicament, Anenih further stated that discussions on other elections and candidates should wait until the ‘stolen presidency’ was reclaimed. Anenih’s position was adopted and a team was put together, chaired by Metuh, to draft a statement for the party chairman. Others in the team were the party’s National Secretary, Adewale Oladipo; the National Legal Adviser, Victor Kwon; Pius Anyim and Liyel Imoke. They went to work immediately and by the following morning, the statement was ready. However, the unexpected was about to happen,” Abdullahi wrote.

“When the draft statement was presented to Adamu Mu’azu, he declared that he would not release it. He said he had reflected on the idea of issuing a statement and was convinced it was not the way to go. Words soon got the Villa that the party chairman had backed out of the plan. Another round of panic began. The President himself called Mu’azu’s mobile number several times, but the party chairman did not answer the phone.

“Many around the president had suspected all along that Mu’azu was not altogether committed to the Jonathan project. They started grumbling openly that his appointment, as Chairman, was another mistake by Jonathan because Mu’azu himself wanted to be president. When the Chairman failed to show up for some campaign events, the public saw this as evidence that things had finally fallen apart. The party had to move quickly to deny that there was any crack in the PDP ranks.

“Therefore, for those who had questioned Muazu’s loyalty, here finally was the clear evidence. If he had any objections to the decision taken at the previous day’s meeting, why didn’t he say so? they wondered. How could he have turned around to sabotage a plan that he was technically part and parcel of? But this was not the time for retribution. That could wait a few more days. The party chairman was still critical to their plans. An emissary was immediately dispatched to persuade him to have a rethink.

“Godswill Akpabio marshaled all the arguments he could muster, but Mu’azu would not budge. It was also an opportunity for the party chairman to vent some of his grievances. ‘Look, Akpabio,’ he said, ‘I am not a bastard. I have honour to protect. The man who contested the election had conceded defeat. I should now be the one to say that the party would not accept defeat? When the candidate was picking his phone to congratulate the winner, did he consult with the party?’

“And in case anyone was thinking of blaming him for the president’s defeat, such person should think again. After all, didn’t he warn against the use of religion and ethnicity by the President’s wife and some of his other supporters like Ayo Fayose and Fani-Kayode? Didn’t he also warn that the personal attacks on Buhari would backfire, especially in the North? If no one listened to him then and allowed things to go pear-shaped, how could they now turn around and ask him to fall on his sword for sins committed by others?

“He insisted that asking him to issue a statement that would most likely throw the country into turmoil was tantamount to asking him to commit suicide – if not literally, then certainly politically. If Akpabio liked, he could sign the statement himself. After all, he was the Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum. A few days after this encounter, Adamu Mu’azu left the country for Singapore. Some said on medical grounds. Some said for security reasons. Others said both.”

 

The Cable

Nigeria’s best rating in anti-graft war was under Jonathan, Omokri replies Tinubu

Reno Omokri, former media aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, has hit back at Bola Tinubu for alleging that there was grand corruption in the administration of his then principal.

Omokri said contrary to Tinubu’s claim that there was unprecedented graft during Jonathan’s time in office, the country got its best rating in anti-graft war under the former president.

While speaking in Abuja on Thursday, Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state, had said: “The prior government used the public treasury as a private hedge fund or a charity that limited its giving only to themselves.

“So much money grew feet and ran away faster than Usain Bolt ever could. That which could have been spent on national development was squandered in ways that would cause the devil to blush.”

But Omokri described the allegations as baseless and lacking in facts.

In a statement, he said Nigeria moved from 144 to 136 in Transparency International‘s annual Corruption Perception Index In 2014 under the Jonathan administration.

“Transparency International observed the Jonathan administration’s fight against the corruption in Nigeria’s fertilizer procurement regime, the use of technology to remove 50,000 federal ghost workers and the speed at which the then President fired ministers accused of corruption or conflict of interests,” he said.

“From that time till today, Nigeria has not made any improvements and has remained at 136 where Jonathan left us because Transparency International deals with facts, not opinions or media trial.”

Omokri added that while there have been no convictions of financial misappropriation stemming from the Jonathan era other than media sensationalism, “we do know that it is a fact that the allegedly corrupt pension thief, Abdulrasheed Maina, was dismissed and declared wanted by the Jonathan administration.”

He also said: “We also now know that it is a fact that the present attorney general of the federation, Abubakar Malami, met with Maina in Dubai. We know that Maina’s family revealed in a press conference that Maina was invited back to Nigeria by the present government. It is also a fact that Maina was recalled, reinstated and given double promotion by the current administration.

“Moreover, we know from the head of service’s leaked memo that President Muhammadu Buhari was aware of this entire saga.

“Perhaps Asiwaju Bola Tinubu mistook the Usain Bolt speed at which Maina was smuggled back into the country and reinstated for the unproven claims of corruption under Jonathan.”

Omokri also said contrary to Tinubu’s claim that the Boko Haram insurgency would have worsened if Jonathan were to still be in power, the situation has deteriorated under the present administration.

He added: “It is a fact that between 2013 and 2014, Nigeria under President Jonathan was unfortunately listed as the fourth most terrorized nation in the world.

“However, in the latest Global Terrorism Index released yesterday (November 15, 2017) by the Institute for Economics and Peace, Nigeria has deteriorated from where Jonathan left it and is now the third most terrorized nation.”