Former President Goodluck Jonathan has challenged Sule Lamido, ex-governor of Jigawa state, to prove that he was involved in the Malabu oil deal.
In an interview with The Sun, Lamido had said Jonathan traded off the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last governorship election in Bayelsa state because he was trying to avoid being prosecuted by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari over the Malabu deal.
The deal involves the award of oil prospecting licence (OPL) 245 to Malabu Oil and Gas.
OPL 245 is an oilfield in the Niger Delta. It has about nine billion barrels of crude oil, estimated to worth half a trillion dollars. The sale of the block, which is considered as one of the most lucrative on the continent, has been replete with allegations and lawsuits.
Lamido had said the federal government used the Malabu case to blackmail Jonathan into supporting the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa.
“They are holding him by the balls because he (Jonathan) sure knows his problem with Buhari and with this government. And the issue of Malabu, I think, played a key role, I said so. So, the election were won and lost by PDP. PDP history, PDP tradition and Jonathan were behind him. That I can say anywhere because the issue of Malabu is an issue I know very well. I had cause to discuss it with him,” Lamido had said.
But reacting in a statement Ikechukwu Eze, his spokesman, issued on his behalf, Jonathan said the former governor of Jigawa was only peddling falsehood.
“Our attention has been drawn to a Sunday Sun publication of October 25, 2019 in which Alhaji Sule Lamido claimed that former President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan traded off the Bayelsa elections in order to escape being investigated over the controversial Malabu oil deal,” the statement read.
“We chose to make this clarification just to set the record straight, especially as a number of the former President’s close associates have been asking questions about the blatant statement credited to Mr. Lamido.
“We really do not know why Mr. Lamido, chose to speak like he did, especially with such hostility, contempt and lies against former President Jonathan. However, one thing is clear: In his anger and apparent bile-filled disposition, Mr. Lamido, an otherwise astute and erudite politician, obviously dropped the ball by electing not to speak responsibly like a statesman. He actually came off the interview sounding like a sulking skunk, to whom logic or reason meant nothing. It didn’t matter to him that, as a well respected member of the society, he shouldn’t make such weighty claims against a former President if he was only guessing, like he admitted. Hear him: “And the issue of Malabo, I think, played a key role.” So hugely pathetic!
“Apparently seized by some inexplicable resentment, Lamido held on to the lie currently being pushed by few mischief-makers to the effect that former President Jonathan helped the All Progressive Congress (APC) to win the last gubernatorial election in Bayelsa State. Unfortunately, the former Governor jumped into this convenient bandwagon of grovellers without first thinking of the burden of substantiating his claim. What to do? Orchestrate a raft of incongruent drivel of cheap lies to confuse the readers. In one breathe, Lamido alleged that Jonathan worked against his party “because he was very, very angry with (Governor) Dickson,” in another he claimed that it was “because he (Jonathan) sure knows his problem with Buhari and his government. And the issue of Malabu, I think, played a key role.”
“This absurd claim definitely would have gained more traction in the public space if it really made any sense. But it didn’t. What, if we may ask Mr. Lamido, is the correlation between Jonathan supporting APC because he was angry with Governor Dickson and Jonathan supporting APC to avoid prosecution over Malabu?
“Where was Lamido and his ‘Malabu problem’ when Jonathan campaigned vigorously and helped PDP to win Bayelsa governorship election in 2015, under the same President Buhari?