Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe (left); former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon; Ghana ex-President, John Mahama; his counterparts, Goodluck Jonathan (Nigeria); Boni Yayi (Benin Republic) and Ernest Bai Koroma (Sierra Leone) at the presentation and formal launch of a book, My Transition Hours’by Jonathan in Abuja… PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA
Former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan has denied claims in a media report that he was pressed by then finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and other former appointees to reject the 2015 presidential election results.
According to the story published in The Nation, “Jonathan said he rebuffed the advice by the then Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Attorney-General of the Federation and Justice Minister Mohammed Bello Adoke; Aviation Minister Osita Chidoka, who was a compere at the book launch; and his Senior Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs, Warpamowei Dudafa.”
In the book, Jonathan wrote, “They were recommending sundry alternatives, but I was quiet in the midst of their discussions. I hugged my thought, figuring out how to do that which was best for the country. My personal interest was receding rapidly and the interest of Nigeria looming large. I excused myself and left the conference.”
He added, “I walked into my study. Even there, my mantra was a strong circle around me, supporting and comforting me. Let the country survive. Let democracy survive. My political ambition is not worth people being…”
However, the former president said his statement in the book was misinterpreted in the media report.
“Our attention has been drawn to a story in the Nation newspaper titled ‘Jonathan: I was pressed to reject 2015 election result’ which erroneously claimed that some identified former aides and ministers of ex-President Jonathan advised him “not to accept defeat,” president Jonathan’s media aide Ikechukwu Eze said in a statement.
“This is obviously a gross misrepresentation of what was stated in the book which one wouldn’t ordinarily expect to read in a credible paper like The Nation.”
Eze explained that “President Jonathan had maintained that he never consulted anybody over the decision to call and congratulate his opponent while the results of the 2015 Presidential election was still being tallied.”
He stated that “the decision to concede defeat was one he took without any compelling, the former President is however grateful to those who were with him at that moment and many other Nigerians that shared in his conviction to put across the historic phone call (to then president-elect Muhammadu Buhari).
The former president’s spokesman, however, urged journalists to “keep their interpretative reporting within the limits of credible and constructive imagination.”