- Â Niger Delta group defends ex-presidentâ€™s position on 2015 elections
Â Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari wednesday denied an allegation by former President Jonathan that he was harassing the former presidentâ€™s family.
The former president had alleged in a new book, titled: â€˜Against The Run of Play,â€™ written by the Chairman of THISDAY Editorial Board, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, that the incumbent president was harrassing him.
The former president also reportedly disagreed with the style being used by the administration of Buhari in fighting corruption.
Buhari in a statement by his Special Adviser, Media, Mr. Femi Adesina, said he was not harassing anybody, stating metaphorically that if the former president had no skeleton in his cupboard, he had nothing to fear.
According to the statement, anyone who is aggrieved about the anti-graft war of the current administration can seek a redress in court, pointing out that the scale of fund recoveries made so far was enough an attestation that grave ills were perpetrated in the past.
â€œWe make bold to state unequivocally that President Buhari harasses nobody; he merely allows the law to take its course. For the umpteenth time, we say that anybody without skeleton in his or her cupboard, has nothing to fear about the bared fangs of the anti-corruption initiative. Fear belongs only to those who have abused trust while in office. Anybody who feels aggrieved is free to approach the courts to seek redress or justice. President Buhari believes in the rule of law and that is why his campaign against corruption is anchored on that plank.
â€œWith regard to President Buhariâ€™s anti-graft style, which the former president deprecates, given the scale of revelations and recoveries so far by the anti-corruption agencies, it is obvious that corruption had an uninhibited course during our recent past. In any case, time will give the verdict on whose style of fighting corruption ultimately yielded the most dividends. For now, President Buhari is resolute and single-minded in the fact that his crusade against graft is not targeted at any individual or group. He firmly believes that national interest must always be placed above personal interest, no matter who is involved,â€ the statement added.
Meanwhil, Jonathanâ€™s kinsmen under the aegis of Ogbia Political Forum in Bayelsa State rose to his defence yesterday following criticisms that greeted his interview inÂ Adeniyiâ€™s book.
In the book, Jonathan was said to have spoken about those who worked against him during the 2015 general election.
However, in a statement yesterday by the President of Ogbia Political Forum, Chief Azibaodusi Maclean Aduba, the group said they stood by what Jonathan said, stressing that many local and international forces took an unusual interest in the last elections to the ex-presidentâ€™s detriment.
Aduba also accused President Muhammadu Buhari of confirming Jonathanâ€™s explanation when he thanked the international community for their roles in the elections while receiving a European envoy in 2015.
The statement said: â€œOur attention has been drawn to excerpts from Adeniyiâ€™s new book entitled: â€˜Against the Run of Playâ€™ as published by some media agencies, especially with the widespread reactions and comments from a section of the public.
â€œWhile we do not have the full details of the interview with Jonathan which formed part of the book, we are at least delighted that the ex-president is finally coming out with the details of what transpired in the build up, during and immediately after the 2015 general election.
â€œWe are aware that some people are already dismissive of the
interview, pretending to be roiled by what they describe as an attempt by Jonathan to clean up his image. Such people would prefer that Jonathan remains silent while the forces of evil continue to heap odium on his image and public records, despite all he did to preserve our democratic institutions and ensure that peace reigns in our dear fatherland.
â€œWe however do not find anything new in what has come out so far from the book, as all that Jonathan was quoted to have said pertaining to national and international conspiracy against him during the 2015 elections, were well known to all and sundry then, and has continued to remain in the public domain.
â€œThis same group of people are now savagely criticising the former president for the mere mention of the fact that Americans and few other world powers took unusual interest in the 2015 elections, in the bid to frustrate his re-election bid. If anything, the former President had merely reaffirmed the obvious, as it is no secret that his signing of the anti-gay bill into law brought down the full weight of the Barack Obama administration on the Jonathan Government, with the intention of forcing a regime change.
â€œIt is instructive that President Buhari himself confirmed this when he openly thanked the United States, Britain and the
European Union for the roles they played in the outcome of the 2015 elections, while hosting the Italian envoy to Nigeria, Ambassador Fulvio Rustico, in 2015. The question is, if it was cool for Buhari to express gratitude to those that helped him during the last general election, why then will it be a sin for Jonathan to say the same thing from his own standpoint.
â€œThere is no doubt that there are so many people given to duplicity in this country, and it appears such hypocrites are always lying in wait to pounce on the former President whenever he speaks about his time in office.
â€œOur own position is that the former President had kept quiet for too long. He should no longer continue to sacrifice his God-given right to free speech, just because some people in certain quarters are still baying for his blood for reasons best known to them.
â€œIt was our great nationalist of blessed memory Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe who said that â€œIn all times, every allusion to falsehood must be promptly effectively discountenanced. Any failure to do so will create danger to society given the extremely vulnerable nature if its members.
â€œIt is our conviction that ex-President Jonathan needs to speak more forcefully and frequently in defence of his legacies, otherwise the loud voice of his enemies will constitute the false narrative that may go down in history in his name.