Cover of the new book by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Former President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, has released his book, ‘My Transition Hours’, in which he accused former President of the United States of America, Senator Barack Obama, of pushing for his defeat in the 2015 Presidential election.
President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) defeated Jonathan of the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which had been in power for 16 years.
Unveiling the book at his 61st birthday on Tuesday in Abuja, Jonathan said Obama took unusual step by “prodding the electorate to vote for the opposition” in the election.
“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,” Mr Jonathan wrote.
“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.”
Jonathan said that the message undermined Nigerians and smacked of hypocrisy.
“The message was so condescending, it was as if Nigerians did not know what to do and needed an Obama to direct them,” he said.
The former Nigerian leader added that although Obama, in his message, said “all Nigerians must be able to cast their votes without intimidation or fear,” his government was vehemently and publicly against the postponement of the elections to enable the military defeat Boko Haram and prevent them from intimidating voters.
“This was the height of hypocrisy!” Jonathan declared.
Jonathan’s grouse with Obama went beyond the video. He narrated in the book that the actions of the then U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, especially his visit to Nigeria after the elections were rescheduled from February 2015 to March belied a plot to humiliate him.
This, he explained, was because even though the decision to postpone the elections was taken by INEC after a meeting of the Council of State, Kerry refused to accept that it was in the interest of the country and the electorate.
“In fact, John Kerry did not accept our reasons for the rescheduling.
“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 was 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.”
Despite the criticism that followed the decision to reschedule the election, Jonathan insisted that the decision was the right one and it paid off.
“Anyhow, the six weeks served us well. We received the military equipment we were expecting within that period and our Armed Forces commendably 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.
“We conducted the elections peacefully, even if there were issues raised about its fairness. At least, the nation was relieved that the election held peacefully and that there was no post-election violence.”
“The decision and announcement to postpone the elections were eventually made by the only body which could do so under the Constitution. I should talk briefly about the INEC here because of the insinuations that my administration muscled INEC to make the pronouncement. Of course, nothing could be farther from the truth as people came to realise.
“Yes, the posture of INEC could appear edgy, but it knew it was not ready and that the election was too important to mess up.
“The PVC shortage was everywhere. The lopsided collection of PVC caused an uproar that grew into a national din. The suspected housing of PVCs in the custody of non-INEC personnel was an issue.
There were also issues with card readers. All of these happening despite years of preparation and substantial funds made available. It was all building up to a perfect storm, but those were INEC’s problems which we were willing to help resolve.