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Jonathan reveals why lost election in 2015 in new book


Jonathan (left) and Governor Seriake Dickson at the book launch in Abuja yesterday

Erstwhile President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, has revealed how western and local powers cost him his re-election bid for a second term in office. He noted that the former U.S. president Barack Obama and former governors of his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) collaborated to make sure he did not return to power in 2015.

In his book My Transition Hour, Jonathan said the former governors, because they were “blinded by ambition and a barrage of fake news,’ contributed to his defeat.

According to him, the conduct of Obama was overbearing and condescending in his message to Nigerians ahead of the 2015 general 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. 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.”

Recall that a few weeks leading to the 2015 election were crucial for both Jonathan and his cabinet officials, when the election was postponed to March 28 from its initial date in February. The six-week postponement drew outrage from within and outside the country, and Jonathan’s opponents accused him of plots to perpetuate himself in office.

But the former president said he was not the only one responsible for the polls’ shift, saying other former leaders were all part of the decision, which was informed by the security exigencies at the time.

Jonathan in the new book said the message in Obama’s video message “was so condescending, it was as if Nigerians did not know what to do and needed an Obama to direct them.”

Jonathan also took a swipe at former U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, saying the top diplomat was nonchalant in his attitude towards his government despite all efforts to make him understand that the decision to postpone election was in the overall interest of Nigeria.

“How can the U.S. Secretary of State know what is more important for Nigeria than Nigeria’s own government?” he asks. “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.”

Jonathan also faulted northern leaders who wanted power returned to their region for sabotaging his re-election bid.

“This time around, there were governors who were rounding off their eight years tenure and were blinded by ambition,” he writes, having been overwhelmingly voted for in the 2011 election.

Continuing, he writes, “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.”

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