The controversy generated by the new book launched by former President Goodluck Jonathan continued yesterday with more Nigerians berating him over some of his claims in the book.
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) last night berated the former president over his claim that many individuals and groups conspired against his re-election in 2015.
The group described Jonathan as the architect of his failure for refusing to honour the arrangement of his party which zoned the presidential slot to the North.
Jonathan on Tuesday in Abuja launched the book titled ‘My Transition Hours’ with eminent personalities within and outside the country in attendance.
The book contains his views on various issues till he left office on May 29, 2015.
The former president, among other issues, had indicated that corruption is worse under the present government than it was during his tenure and that the Chibok school girls’ abduction was a product of conspiracy by the then opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in connivance with the Borno State Government.
He also accused the Borno government and then President Barack Obama’s administration in the United States of undermining the efforts made to rescue the Chibok girls in 2014.
In a swift reaction, Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, described the work as an elementary book of fiction which “fell short of the courage required of him to publish findings by his own panel in Chapter Four of his book.”
Explaining while the North withdrew its support from Jonathan, the ACF National Publicity Secretary, Muhammad Ibrahim Biu, said even though he had not read the book, “it is on record that Jonathan contested the 2011 and 2015 elections against the zoning arrangement of his party, which zoned the presidential slot to the North.
“Therefore, his assertions that Northern leaders and socio-political groups in the North worked against his presidency is rather odd, considering the circumstances at that time.
“Yet he won the presidency in 2011 and the ruling party also secured 25 per cent in some states of the North in the 2015 presidential elections.
”It may interest you to know that his party has since admitted the oversight in the party’s 2015 winning game plan.
“This clearly means that leaders should always honour their words with deeds if they want to earn the respect of their followers.”
In the same vein, former Kaduna State PDP chairman and Northern Elders Forum member, Alhaji Yaro Makama Rigachikun, said two factors were responsible for Northern elites dumping the former president during the 2015 elections.
Rigachikun, who had defected to the APC prior to the 2015 general elections, disclosed that the first reason the North rose against Jonathan in 2015 was the fact that the former President had taken oath of office twice.
According to him, “he was sworn in when the late Umaru Yar’Adua died. He was again sworn in in 2011 when he won that year’s presidential election.
“To the Northern establishment, he was sworn in twice, which was in tandem with the constitution.
”So, to allow the former leader to be sworn in for the third time was against the spirit of the constitution, and the Northern establishment would not take that.”
According to the Northern elder, the second reason was the issue of suspicion and distrust because the Northern establishment believed that the former leader had a hand in Boko Haram.
“However, event later proved that the former leader was not behind the insurgency. As a former member of APC, we came to realize that Jonathan’s hand was never in Boko Haram.”
The National Chairman of the United Progressive Party (UPP), Chief Chekwas Okorie, flayed the ex-president for saying that corruption is worse under the present regime than it was under his administration.
In a telephone chat with The Nation, Okorie said: “I heard him say that corruption is worse now than when he was in office. Many of us don’t think so.
“We know that millions of dollars were recovered from some of the people that served under him in raw cash.
“He even boasted that 200 aircraft were flying about in Nigeria. Where are those aircrafts now?
“Those people just ran away, knowing that they can’t account for those aircraft.
“He should know better what the foreign reserve was when he left office and what it is now.
“He has written his book based on his own perspective, according to his own experience and interpretation of things that happened around him as the president of Nigeria towards the end of his tenure.
“People are free to criticize the book. If somebody feels so strongly about it, he can write his own too to enrich our literature and knowledge.
“It is for discerning mind to know which one is the truth and the one that is a lie.”
While calling for caution over the matter, the President of Ohanaeze Youth Council (OYC), Okechukwu Isiguzoro, aligned with the former president’s claim that some PDP governors worked against his re-election.
“Former President Goodluck Jonathan is the one wearing the shoe and he knows where it pinches.
“There is no lie in his claim that some PDP governors worked against his re-election. We are all living witnesses to what happened in the build up to that election.
“We saw how many governors and trusted allies of former Goodluck Jonathan betrayed him.
“We saw how people came up with all manner of propaganda to smear the image of GEJ.
“I personally believe in GEJ because he has proved to be a man of candour in all he does.
“He has moved from being a national hero to becoming an internationally respected figure. No amount of mudslinging can bring him down.
“Many of the reactions to the publication are mere afterthoughts.
“Be that as it may, I will urge everybody to put the past behind.
“Let us focus on the future by working together to tackle the humongous problems facing us as a people and as a nation.
“The brickbats over what happened before and post 2015 is needless, especially at this time that we are approaching the 2019 general elections.”
picked from The Nation