Former President Goodluck Jonathan is clearly not enjoying the many barbs fired at him by his erstwhile political allies in the book ‘Against the Run of Play’, written by Olusegun Adeniyi, a former special adviser on media and publicity to the late President Umaru Yar’Adua.
He feels challenged by the development to give his own “true account of what transpired either in major interviews or books.”
And he wants others to do likewise.
Jonathan, in a sequence of tweets Saturday branded as distortions, the opinions of some of the respondents in the book about what caused his defeat in the elections.
He mentioned no names but the most stinging flak for him are from ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, former Senate President David Mark, National leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, former House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, former Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, former deputy Speaker of the House, Emeka Ihedioha, Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State and ex-Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State.
Some of them do not spare Jonathan’s wife, Patience, for her public utterances and conduct.
Jonathan said in the tweets that “I have just read Segun Adeniyi’s new book, ‘Against the Run of Play’ which has so far enjoyed tremendous reviews in the media.
“My take on it is that the book as presented contains many distorted claims on the 2015 Presidential election by many of the respondents.
“There will obviously be more books like that on this subject by concerned Nigerians.
“However, I believe that at the right time, the main characters in the elections including myself. I will come out with a true account of what transpired either in major interviews or books.
Jonathan himself in the book claims his defeat was caused in part by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), whose chairman at the time, Professor Attahiru Jega, he said failed to make adequate preparation for the polls.
Of Jega, he said: “I was disappointed by Jega because I still cannot understand what was propelling him to act the way he did in the weeks preceding the elections.
“As at the first week in February 2015 when about 40 per cent of Nigerians had not collected their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs), Jega said INEC was ready to go ahead with the election. How could INEC have been ready to conduct an election in which millions of people will be disenfranchised?”
He also accused the chairman of his party –Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the time of the election, Mallam Adamu Mu’azu of joining “in the conspiracy against me.”
“For reasons best known to him, he helped to sabotage the election in favour of the opposition.”
Jonathan said election results from much of the North were manipulated against him, while the former American President Barack Obama mobilized UK and France to cause his defeat by the opposition.
He accused his successor, President Muhammadu Buhari, of harassing his family, instead of correcting “whatever mistakes I may have made and then carry on from there.”
His former godfather, Chief Obasanjo said Jonathan “from day one was too small” for the office of president as he kept looking at otherwise national issues from only Ijaw prism.
He said the Jonathan government mishandled the kidnap of the Chibok school girls and turned the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency into an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) to enable his cronies have an unrestricted access to public funds.
Tambuwal who is now Governor of Sokoto State recalled a particular telephone conversation he had with Patience sometime in 2012.
It was in the thick of the faceoff between the Jonathan Presidency and the House of Reps led by Tambuwal.
The ex-First Lady allegedly started by ranting: “You this Hausa boy, you want to bring down the government of my husband; you want to disgrace him out of power? Una no fit! God no go allow you.”
For about five minutes, Mrs. Jonathan allegedly railed against Tambuwal, who was accused of harbouring a sinister agenda against the Federal Government and the President.
Tambuwal said he uttered no word and when she paused, he asked: “Are you done, Ma? Thank you very much.”
He dropped the call.
Tambuwal approached then Senate President David Mark to mediate.
Mark took him and Ihedioha, Tambuwal’s deputy to the President for a meeting where they gave assurances that they would cooperate and work with the government.
It never resolved the crisis as suspicion grew in the presidency that Tambuwal nursed a presidential ambition.
Mark said: “I guess she had the same fear about me even when she never said it to my face. She once accosted Senator Joy Emordi to say, ‘Joy, I hear you are the manager of David Mark Presidential Campaign Organization’, which was a baseless accusation. I had to meet the President to clarify issues with him. So, I would say it was President Jonathan and his wife who radicalized Tambuwal and turned him into a political foe.”
Mark said he drew attention to the imminent defeat of Jonathan but his voice was drowned by sycophants around Jonathan
“I saw it and at different times, I pointed out to him and the party that the projections being made by some people around the president about what the voting pattern in the north would be were wrong,” Mark said.
On his part Ihedioha said Jonathan did not “trust many people and he was suspicious of those who meant well for him. And perhaps for that reason, it was difficult to ascertain who was in charge during the election while team efforts were very weak. There was no coordinated campaign programme and he also unwittingly empowered his enemies.
“The people fighting Tambuwal and myself were PDP members who considered themselves to be foot soldiers of President Jonathan, even when Tambuwal and I discharged our duties patriotically. Besides, it was a wrong way to pay us back for the help we rendered him and the nation at a most defining moment.”
Amaechi who was governor of Patience’s home state of Rivers had a running battle with the former first couple because, according to him, “I could not surrender my mandate to a woman in Abuja, even if such a person was wife of the President.”
He added: “Also, I could not possibly grant questionable demands that would make me betray my oath of office. I won’t say more than that for now since I am also writing my memoir, but that basically was my sin with Dame Patience Jonathan.”
Governor of Niger State, Dr. Babangida Aliyu says the people of the North have not forgotten how the ex-First Lady kept insulting the North.
He recalled a statement by Patience at a political campaign where she said: “Our people no dey born children wey dem no dey count. Our men no dey born children thro-way for street; we no dey like the people from that side.”
And at a campaign in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, she said in pidgin: “Wetin him (Buhari) dey find again? Him dey drag with him pikin mate. Old man wey e no get brain, him brain don die patapata. What does Buhari want again? He is jostling for power with someone young enough to be his son. Old man whose brain is completely dead!”
‘Against the run of play’ chronicles the events leading to ,and surrounding the 2015 presidential election.
It contains interviews with key players in the elections including ex-Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Jonathan, former Senate President Mark, National leader of the ruling APC, Asiwaju Tinubu, former House of Representatives Speaker Tambuwal, former Governor of Rivers State, Amaechi, former deputy Speaker of the House, Ihedioha and Governor Shettima of Borno State.