Former President Goodluck Jonathan has debunked allegations that he traded off the electoral fortunes of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the November 16 governorship election in Bayelsa State because he wanted to save his neck from a purported indictment in the $1.1 billion Malabu oil scandal. Jonathan, who was responding specifically to statements credited to a former Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido, yesterday, said it was wrong to hold him responsible for PDP’s loss in Bayelsa without first investigating the issues that determined the fate suffered by the party. According to him, the position taken by Lamido on the issue was not only disingenuous but also detrimental to the image and aspirations of the party.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) defeated PDP in the November 16 governorship election. APC’s David Lyon polled 352,552 votes to defeat Senator Duoye Diri who secured 143,172 votes. Since the return of democracy in 1999, PDP had been governing the oil-rich state from the late DSP Alamieyeseigha to Jonathan, Timipre Sylva, and Seriake Dickson, all of PDP.
The former President who spoke through his Media Adviser, Ikechukwu Eze, said that the fact that Jonathan is well loved and respected by his people did not mean that he would dictate to the people where to cast their ballot. Jonathan said that contrary to Lamido’s speculations, he did nothing wrong as far as the Malabu deal is concerned while in office and, therefore, doesn’t need to cut a deal with anybody within or outside Nigeria. “For the umpteenth time, we restate the following facts to proclaim Dr. Jonathan’s innocence: Former President Jonathan did not ask for or collect any bribes over the Malabu deal, neither has he been charged for asking or collecting bribes, neither will he ever be charged with asking for or collecting bribes, because such never happened.
“The fact remains that as recent national events continue to vindicate former President Jonathan, and as the world continues to celebrate him, those who are insecure will feed such propaganda to their media agents to serve their narrow interests.”We have always made it clear that beyond this wave of conjecture, former President Jonathan was not linked, indicted or charged for collecting any monies as kickbacks or bribes by any law enforcement body the world over. It bears repeating that the documents relating to the transactions and decisions of the Federal Government on the Malabu issue, during the Jonathan administration, are in the relevant government offices, where they are accessible.
“We would like to point out that all the actions taken by the Jonathan administration in relation to activities in the oil industry were legally conducted by relevant Nigerian government officials and were carried out in the best interest of the country. “We call on anyone, including Mr. Sule Lamido, who has any shred of evidence linking former President Jonathan to any wrongdoing in the case of the Malabu incident to waste no time in publishing such evidence or forever remain silent.” Jonathan also faulted Lamido on the allegations that he hobnobbed with the leaders of the APC and worked against the PDP in Bayelsa State during the last election. Jonathan argued that as an elder statesman and a father figure to all Nigerians, his door is open to all who wish to pay him courtesy visits or seek his counsel, adding that such courtesies did not mean that he automatically subscribes to the political agenda of his visitors.
“While he was president, former President Jonathan had the largeness of heart to receive then members of the APC at Aso Rock Presidential Villa, including Muhammadu Buhari, who he conferred an award on in 2014. “Ahead of the last governorship election, most of the gubernatorial aspirants and candidates from different political parties in Bayelsa State visited Jonathan as a father of the state and that is a role the former President will continue to play.
“We wish to state categorically that Dr. Jonathan remains a faithful member of the PDP and had no reason to have worked against his political party in the last election. That the PDP lost in the gubernatorial election to APC is unfortunate, but attributing the defeat to the former President is to be gratuitously obsessed with blackmail and red herring,” the statement read. Jonathan counselled Lamido and others in his shoes to look at issues first as citizens of Nigerians rather than interpreting every development from a partisan perspective.