South Africa

Nigeria: El-Rufai's Allegation of Persecution Unfounded, Says Jonathan

Abuja — Former President Goodluck Jonathan has described the allegation of persecution made against his administration by Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, as a mere figment of his imagination and concocted to attract cheap attention and undeserving popularity.

Jonathan, in a statement by his spokesman, Mr. Reno Omokri, said the allegation by el-Rufai that he was to be arrested in furtherance of the second term bid of the former president was untrue.

He said: "Nigerians may recall that Mr. el-Rufai was on a self-imposed exile during the administration of the late great President Umar Musa Yar'Adua.

"Mr. el-Rufai only returned to Nigeria on May 5, 2010, the very same day that President Yar'Adua died. He returned because he believed that under then-President Jonathan the atmosphere was more conducive for him. This is borne out by a Wikileaks' cable, in which Mr. el-Rufai admitted that former President Jonathan is 'clean and honest.'

"Exactly six days after his return, Mr. el-Rufai visited then President Jonathan at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, on Tuesday, May 11, 2010, and then held a press conference outside the then president's office, where he made unsolicited comments asking Dr. Jonathan to contest the 2011 elections and said that he would support him.

"After the then President named Mr. Namadi Sambo as his vice president, two days later on May 13, 2010, Mr. el-Rufai became very bitter and made plans to leave the Peoples Democratic Party and began to undermine the Jonathan administration."

The statement said despite the governor's anti-government activities, Jonathan declined to move against el-Rufai.

He said in keeping with the Jonathan doctrine of having no enemy to fight, he refused to move against el-Rufai.

According to the statement, "Security reports received by the then president indicated that Mr. el-Rufai was engaged in provocative activities in order to instigate his own arrest, because he felt it would boost his popularity.

"As such, he made several false and provocative comments that were injurious to Nigeria's peace, unity and progress, as well as to our good relations with neighbouring nations, including that then-President Jonathan founded and funded Boko Haram to the tune of N50 billion to give Islam a bad name, which Mr. el-Rufai made on September 8, 2014.

"That then President Jonathan had gone to the Republic of Chad to plan Boko Haram attacks with the late President Deby, which he made on November 25, 2014. And that he el-Rufai, along with [now president] Buhari, and several other prominent Nigerians were on a hit list of people to be shot and killed by the Jonathan administration, which he made on January 5, 2014."

According to the statement, Jonathan resisted the urge to order el-Rufai's arrest and subsequent prosecution in order not to heighten political tension.

It said: "Mr. Nasir el-Rufai worked closely with then-President Olusegun Obasanjo, who has described him in his book, My Watch Volume 2, as follows: 'Nasir's penchant for reputation savaging is almost pathological. Why does he do it? I recognised his weaknesses; the worst being his inability to be loyal to anybody or any issue consistently for long, but only to Nasir el-Rufai.

"He barefacedly lied which he did to me against his colleagues and so-called friends. I have heard of how he ruthlessly savaged the reputation of his uncle, a man who was like, in the African setting, his foster father. I shuddered when I heard the story of what he did to his half-brother in the Air Force who is senior to him in age.'

"Malam el-Rufai was also exposed as a pathological liar on page 272 of 'Power, Politics and Death: A Front-row Account of Nigeria Under the late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua,' written by former THISDAY Editor and spokesman to President Yar'Adua, Mr. Segun Adeniyi.

"Finally, Mr. el-Rufai has been described as 'a liar' and fetish person by his former political patron, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who he credits with bringing him into the Obasanjo administration.

"With such testimonials about his character from people with initiate knowledge of his personality, Nigerians should not be surprised about Mr. el-Rufai's most recent assertions."

He urged Nigerians to ignore el-Rufai, but to pray for peace, progress and stability of the nation.

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