Some ministers who served under former president Goodluck Jonathan have angrily reacted to some of the claims by him in his book, ‘My Transition Hours’, released on Tuesday.
Commenting on his acclaimed concession call to President Muhammadu Buhari while the final results of the 2015 presidential election were yet to be announced, Jonathan said he rebuffed advice from ministers and an aide not to concede.
Let him enjoy the euphoria of his book launch first, but those he has defamed will surely respond in due course,” the former minister said, adding that Jonathan, by his latest claims, may finally demystify himself over the concession speech “which had elevated his status internationally”.
Another former minster who spoke with the TheCable but also refused to be identified described Jonathan’s version of events as “most unfair and petty”.
“The impression the former president is trying to create is that the people came to tell him not to concede. In truth, Jonathan was being persuaded by a former south-south governor not to concede, so some ministers were quickly invited to come and counter the plot,” the former minister said.
“What would Okonjo-Iweala, Adoke and Chidoka be doing at the villa at that time if not that something was going wrong? Is Jonathan trying to say he was not involved in Elder Godsday Orubebe’s attempt to disrupt the announcement of the results? Is Jonathan trying to claim innocence of a plot to secure a court injunction to stop INEC from further announcing the results? Jonathan needs to be a man of honour.”
A usually sedate President Jonathan, who appeared like he did not care only a while ago, was now fuming. He ranted about how the election was rigged. How children were used to vote. How Jega had compromised and betrayed his trust. Okonjo-Iweala, whose words normally carried weight with the President, was pleading with him, but he was not listening.
“Abati returned with an updated draft of the speech, which he had started by having the president congratulate the winner, Muhammadu Buhari. But the president said, no, he was not going to congratulate Buhari because he wasn’t convinced that he had won the election fair and square. Chidoka turned to Jonathan and asked, ‘Sir, but are you still going to give the address?’
“President Jonathan said he was going to give the address, but he was not going to congratulate anyone. He would only appeal to Nigerians to remain calm and await the announcement of the final results. It was obvious that the ‘rejecters’ had made an impact and were having the upper hand. And, sensing that they were winning, they pressed their advantage.
They reminded President Jonathan of what Buhari was capable of doing to him,and argued that even if he was going to concede, the terms had to be negotiated.Vice President Sambo wanted Jonathan to wait until the full results were announced before he made a statement. Even then, he thought the statement should not be to congratulate Buhari but to say that the president had kept his promise to conduct the elections but the party would meet to review the results and then decide whether to accept the outcome or reject it. Some others argued that even if he must concede, the Peace Committee should be brought in to negotiate some kind of softlanding not only for him, but also his associates. No one gives away power so cheaply, they insisted..