Former President Goodluck Jonathan in his new book, ‘My Transition Hours’, revealed how the former President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, displayed an unusual level of bias during the buildup of the 2015 elections.
Jonathan described Obama’s conduct and his video message to Nigerians as overbearing and condescending.
“The message was so condescending, it was as if Nigerians did not know what to do and needed an Obama to direct them,” the former president said.
According to Jonathan, Obama’s appeal to Nigerians was very obvious, saying that he practically told Nigerians who to vote in 2015.
“On March 23, 2015, President Obama himself took the unusual step of releasing a video message directly to Nigerians all but telling them how to vote,” Jonathan said in his new book.
“In that video, Obama urged Nigerians to open the ‘next chapter’ by their votes. Those who understood subliminal language deciphered that he was prodding the electorate to vote for the opposition to form a new government,” he added.
Mr. Jonathan in 2015 lost the Presidential Election to General Muhammadu Buhari, the incumbent president.
In 2015, the presidential election was postponed for six weeks due to security reasons. The decision however drew outrage from within the country as well as from the US and United Kingdom. Jonathan was accused of plotting to remain in power.
The former president however in his book revealed that the decision to postpone the election was unanimously agreed by former Nigerian leaders at the Council of State meeting.
He noted that the then US Secretary of State, John Kerry, was not interested in understanding the reasons behind the postponement despite all efforts to make him see that the reason was in the interest of Nigeria.
“How can the U.S. Secretary of State know what is more important for Nigeria than Nigeria’s own government? How could they have expected us to conduct elections when Boko Haram controlled part of the North East and were killing and maiming Nigerians?
“Not even the assurance of the sanctity of May 29, 2015 handover date could calm them down. In Nigeria, the Constitution is very clear: No President can extend his tenure by one day,” he said.
“The foreign pressure on the issue of election rescheduling was intense. They maintained the curious posture of one who had been deceived before and therefore had every reason to cede no credence to our position. But there was no reason for such posture.
“The United States and the United Kingdom were especially agitated. David Cameron, then the U.K. Prime Minister, called to express his concern about the election rescheduling, just as John Kerry came from the United States to express further worry. It was at best unusual and sobering.
“In fact, John Kerry did not accept our reasons for the rescheduling. It was unbelievable because at the back of our minds we knew why the agitation was beyond what meets the eyes.
“There were deeper political interests. In attendance at the meeting of the Council of State were the decision to reschedule the election was taken were almost all the living former Heads of State in this country. That should have convinced John Kerry of the good intentions of the government.
“He cannot claim to love and defend Nigeria more than all our former heads of state present at the meeting. I have stated earlier how Kerry’s visit was designed to humiliate a sitting Nigerian president and clearly take sides in the country’s election.
“Anyhow, the six weeks served us well. We received the military equipment we were expecting within that period and our Armed Forces commendable dealt a deserving blow on the terrorists and repossessed all territorial areas of Nigeria previously occupied by the terrorists. Boko Haram was deflated up to the point I handed over to my successor on May 29, 2015,” Jonathan said in his book.
Regarding how he lost the 2015 presidential election
Jonathan in his book revealed that former state governors in his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who defected to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), were blinded by their ambitions and Nigerians who were deceived by fake news.
He further revealed that northern leaders who wanted power to return to the north also sabotaged his reelection bid.
“This time around, there were governors who were rounding off their eight years tenure and were blinded by ambition,” he said.
“Some governors wanted to be Vice President whilst others strived to be the President. If I contested none could realise his ambition. This muffled implosion would fully manifest in the buildup to the 2015, which each ship-jumper calculating how much he or she would take from the PDP or the most opportune moment to cause maximum damage and based on that, plot their exit.
“As they jumped ship in preparation for the 2015 elections, only very few of this lots, if any at all, bothered about what the PDP did or did not do in terms of delivering our campaign promises. Their opposition to my re-election was principally driven by personal ambition. They therefore played up the issue of where I come from and the faith, I professed to fuel their burning ambition. My performance mattered quite little, if it mattered at all,” he noted.
Ex-President Jonathan also noted that other prominent members of the PDP who plotted against his reelection are now being victimized in the APC.
He added that these northern powers who ensured his removal from office in 2015 had tried to deny him his constitutional right to emerge as president following the death of his boss, President Umaru Yar’Adua, in 2010.
“In spite of the threats and provocations to make the country ‘ungovernable’ for me, I had the overwhelming support of Nigerians in the run-up to the presidential election in 2011. I was able to win the election to the grace of God and the love of Nigerians. The election was all but won even before the whistle was blown for some strong factors. To mention a few, the pressure to preclude me from contesting in 2011, met with solid indignation from majority of Nigerians.”
“Many reasons make the onslaught in this context very suspect especially as it was being managed by foreign experts mostly from the United States.
“Throughout my tenure in office as President, there was constant barrage of what Donald Trump has now termed ‘fake news’ coming from a well-oiled media propaganda machine. I can say as a matter of fact that were never any snipers in training or already trained. There were no lists of political enemies to be taken out.
“There was no missing $49.8 billion and more importantly I can say that even those who made these and other allegations knew that they were false. This probably explains why many of these allegations died a natural death even as the echoes of my retreating footsteps still resounded nationally and globally,” he wrote.
Mr. Jonathan noted that the insults he faced during his tenure and the tagging of his presidency as “clueless” despite all visible efforts and progress Nigeria recorded during his administration.
He said that his government recorded economic growth in 2013, making Nigeria the largest economy in Africa, adding that it was no ordinary diplomatic feat for Nigeria to be elected into the Security Council of the United Nations twice during his administration.