Former president Goodluck Jonathan has revealed the sordid role played by then American president, Barack Obama, fake news peddlers and former governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who defected to the then opposition All Progressive Congress (APC) that cost him his reelection bid in 2015.
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He claimed Obama meddled in the poll when he sent his secretary of state, John Kerry, and made a video broadcast to Nigerians in ways designed to influence the outcome of the election against him.
Jonathan, who was trailing by over two million ballots conceded defeat to President Muhammadu Buhari while the final results were yet to be announced.
In his book, ‘My Transition Hours’ launched, yesterday, in Abuja, Jonathan wrote: “This time around, there were governors who were rounding off their eight years tenure and were blinded by ambition.
“Some governors wanted to be vice president whilst others strived to be the president. If I contested none could realise his ambition. This muffled implosion would fully manifest in the buildup to the 2015, which each ship-jumper calculating how much he or she would take from the PDP or the most opportune moment to cause maximum damage and based on that, plot their exit.
“As they jumped ship in preparation for the 2015 elections, only very few of this lots, if any at all, bothered about what the PDP did or did not do in terms of delivering our campaign promises. Their opposition to my re-election was principally driven by personal ambition. They therefore played up the issue of where I come from and the faith I professed to fuel their burning ambition. My performance mattered quite little, if it mattered at all.”
According to the former governor of Bayelsa, most of the governors and other prominent members of the former ruling party who plotted against him are now being victimised in the APC.
He also said he faced a barraged of opposition from Northern leaders and socio-political group who felt he was usurping power from the region. He said these northern power blocs had tried to deny him of his constitutional right of replacing the late president, Umaru Yar’Adua, who died in office, in 2010.
“In spite of the threats and provocations to make the country ‘ungovernable’ for me, I had the overwhelming support of Nigerians in the run-up to the presidential election in 2011. I was able to win the election to the grace of God and the love of Nigerians. The election was all but won even before the whistle was blown for some strong factors. To mention a few, the pressure to preclude me from contesting in 2011, met with solid indignation from majority of Nigerians.”
He said in 2015, some northern leaders continued to oppose his presidency and his bid to seek a second term in office, but a new element was added to the opposition: “constant fabrication of damaging stories.”
“Many reasons make the onslaught in this context very suspect especially as it was being managed by foreign experts mostly from the United States.
“Throughout my tenure in office as President, there was constant barrage of what Donald Trump has now termed ‘fake news’ coming from a well-oiled media propaganda machine. I can say as a matter of fact that were never any snipers in training or already trained. There were no lists of political enemies to be taken out.
“There was no missing $49.8 billion and more importantly I can say that even those who made these and other allegations knew that they were false. This probably explains why many of these allegations died a natural death even as the echoes of my retreating footsteps still resounded nationally and globally.”
He said he faced unending insults during his tenure and one that was particularly surprising to him was the tagging of his presidency as “clueless” despite a number of firsts the country recorded during his tenure.
He said his tenure heralded “phenomenon economic growth” for the country, the most prominent of which was the 2013 declaration of Nigeria as the largest economy in Africa.
He said it was no ordinary diplomatic feat for the country to be elected into the Security Council of the United Nations twice during his tenure.
He described the actions of Obama as “humiliating”.
“I can recall that President Obama sent his Secretary of State to Nigeria, a sovereign nation, to protest the rescheduling of the election. John Kerry arrived in Nigeria on Sunday January 25, 2015 and said, ‘it’s imperative that these elections happen on time as scheduled’.
“How can the US Secretary of State know what is more important for Nigeria than Nigeria’s own government? How could they have expected us to conduct elections when Boko Haram controlled part of the North East and were killing and maiming Nigerians? Not even the assurance of the sanctity of the May 29, 2015 handover date could calm them down.”