• He’s not in exile, says aide
By Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja
AMID rumour that former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has gone on self-exile, facts have emerged as to why he has been outside the country for about one month now.
This is coming at a time an aide to the former president laughed off the insinuation that his boss fled the country, describing the claim as strange and untenable. He said Jonathan has no reason to run away.
There has been rumour, which was capped with a report on the website of a Lagos-based national newspaper that the former president had gone into self-exile in Cote d’Ivoire, to escape arrest by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In recent times, EFCC detained and quizzed top aides of Jonathan. The most recent was last week’s arrest of Alhaji Hassan Tukur, who served Jonathan as Principal Private Secretary.
Daily Sun gathered that Jonathan has been outside the country partly for medical treatment and mobilization for the launch of his foundation, Jonathan Foundation.
Sources revealed that the former president first travelled to the United States for medical check up, owing to undisclosed health challenges. He was said to have stayed in the US for about two weeks.
Owing to his health challenge, sources revealed, Jonathan, even though was in the US, could not attend two ceremonies, where he was honoured for his role in maintaining peace in Nigeria and Africa.
The first event was the 25th annual Africa/Diaspora conference of the Cal State University’s Center for African Peace and Conflict Resolution, in Sacramento California last month, where Jonathan
was given an award for his role in promoting democracy and peace.
Also two cities of Antioch and Lathrop in the United States honoured Jonathan for promoting peace and democracy in Africa. At the award ceremony, the Mayor of the city of Antioch, Mayor Wade Harper, expressed his admiration for the former president and declared that the city of Antioch, California, was proud of his legacies, especially his act of overseeing free, fair and conclusive elections and leaving the scene when the ovation was loudest.
In the two events, Mr. Reno Omokri, his former adviser on social media, represented him.
From the United States, Jonathan travelled to United Kingdom, from where he also visited some African countries over the planned launch of his foundation, scheduled to hold before the end of the year.
Daily Sun gathered that Jonathan is scheduled to deliver a lecture at the London School of Economics, United Kingdom, after keeping an appointment with his doctor in the US, as follow-up to his earlier treatment.
The former president, sources revealed, will return to the country next week, depending on the result of his medical examination or after the lecture in London early next month.
Former President Jonathan, through a close aide said the report of his exile was not only baseless but downright mischievous.
The aide, who pleaded for anonymity, said the report was patently out of sync with the reality on the ground.
He said: “It is laughable that anyone would think President Jonathan would run off into exile. For what reason exactly? What offence has he committed that would compel him to abscond from this country.”
He said his former boss believed the whole story was targeted at smearing him, which smacks of desperation.