Jonathan: The Whole Truth About 2015 Poll Yet To Be Told

  •  Says existing narratives by key players distorted 
  • Northern CAN: those who stopped Muslim-Muslim ticket should be hailed, not castigated

Vincent Obia, Tobi Soniyi, and Gboyega Akinsanmi in Lagos, and John Shiklam in Kaduna

Former President Goodluck Jonathan said saturday that the true story of the 2015 presidential election was yet to be told. He said he will come out with his own account of what transpired in the election, which he had lost to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari and became the first sitting president in Nigeria to lose an election.

Jonathan was reacting to revelations in a new book, Against the Run of Play, written by the Chairman of THISDAY Editorial Board, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, which was launched on Friday in Lagos. The book catalogues events that led to Jonathan’s defeat at the poll, based on the personal accounts of key actors. Some of the former president’s allies interviewed in the book said he and his wife, Patience, were to blame for the unfavourable poll outcome.

But in a series of tweets yesterday, Jonathan said the book contained distorted claims about the 2015 electrions by the respondents.

In a related development, a member of the Northern Elders Forum, a group within the Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev. Bitrus Dangiwa, said yesterday that the ruling All Progressives Congress would have lost the 2015 presidential election if it presented a Muslim – Muslim ticket. Dangiwa, a former president of the youth wing of CAN, said this in response to a recent allegations by the APC national leader, Bola Tinubu, that he was prevented from becoming the running mate to Buhari in 2015 by Senate President Bukola Saraki and Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai. Buhari and Tinubu are Muslims. Dangiwa said their emergence as presidential and vice presidential candidates, respectively, of APC would have spelled doom for the party.

He said, “We thank the senate president, Senator Bukola Saraki, and others for deciding against Muslim-Muslim ticket presidency. The truth is that the Nigeria of today is not the Nigeria of yesterday where religious differences don’t matter much.

“I commend the senate president for being sensitive to the feelings of Christians in Nigeria.”

Though, Jonathan had conceded defeat in the 2015 election, he later became so distraught by the outcome that he began to blame his allies for his failure and accuse them of betrayal. He has also accused former U.S.  President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, former British Prime Minister David Cameron of masterminding his ouster.

Some of Jonathan’s allies who gave personal accounts of what transpired at the poll in Against the Run of Play saw it as an opportunity set the record straight.

But the former president tweeted yesterday, “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, will come out with a true account of what transpired either in major interviews or books.”

In his views as contained in the book, Jonathan blamed his defeat on a conspiracy by the security agents, especially in the North, and the then opposition APC to produce false results against him.

Jonathan was quoted as saying, “I felt really betrayed by the results coming from some northern states. Perhaps, for ethnic purposes, even security agents colluded with the opposition to come up with spurious results against me. You saw the way the Inspector-General, a man I appointed, suddenly turned himself into the ADC to President Muhammadu Buhari immediately after the election.”

Unlike the 2011 presidential election that he won convincingly, Jonathan said he “could not yet fathom what happened in some states in 2015. How could we have lost Ondo, Benue and Plateau States if our people were committed to the cause?

“If you examine the results, you will see a pattern: in places where ordinarily we were strong, our supporters did not show enough commitment to mobilise voters.”

Jonathan accused the former national chairman of his Peoples Democratic Party, Adamu Mu’azu, of being part of the conspiracy. “Take for instance, the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu. I believe he joined in the conspiracy against me. For reasons best known to him, he helped to sabotage the election in favour of the opposition.”

But responding in the book, Mu’azu said Jonathan was hurt by the mismanagement of the campaign by his own campaign managers. “In the build-up to the election, some people decided to introduce religion and ethnicity into the campaign in such a manner that not only hurt the PDP in the North but was actually helping to mobilise our opponents against us,” he stated. The former Bauchi State governor added, “the presidential campaign was mismanaged by those who thought that stigmatising others would win votes for an incumbent.”

Giving his own account of the events, however, the then Senate President David Mark blamed Jonathan for his defeat, saying he never approached the poll with the kind of dedication with which he fought the 2011 election.

“I was part of the 2011 presidential campaign. And to a large extent, I was also involved in the 2015 presidential election. From my reading of the situation, President Jonathan was a bit tentative, almost as if he was not certain about running,” Mark said in the book. “He did not seek the presidency with the kind of single-minded with which he pursued the ambition in 2011. It was almost as if President Jonathan could not make up his mind as to whether or not to run. So, it came as no surprise to me that he lost.”

Mark said he “could see the conspiracy and gang-up building up in the North against the aspiration of Jonathan, but my voice was drown out by those who took it for granted that a sitting president, and one from the PDP, could not lose.”

The former senate president said Jonathan’s vice, Namadi Sambo also saw the conspiracy against Jonathan by his fellow northerners, “but I do not know how much influence he had on the campaign. Why Jonathan could not see it until it was too late is what I find difficult to understand.”