BY EDMOND ODOK, ABUJA – Former President Goodluck Jonathan has laughed off the allegations by a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, Alhaji Sule Lamido, daring the ex-Jigawa State governor to make public any evidence linking him to the controversial Malabu Oil scam.
Jonathan’s reaction is coming against the backdrop of recent media report in which Alhaji Lamido alleged that Jonathan’s disinterestedness in the November 16 governorship race saw the PDP losing the Bayelsa poll to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).
Lashing out at the ex-governor, Jonathan labelled him as a man with little or no respect for truth and honour in the face of obvious facts.
A statement signed by his media adviser, Ikechukwu Eze, quoted the former President as saying: “It didn’t matter to him (Lamido) that, as a well respected member of the society, he shouldn’t make such weighty claims against a former President if he was only guessing, like he admitted.
“We really do not know why Mr. Lamido, chose to speak like he did, especially with such hostility, contempt and lies against former President Jonathan. However, one thing is clear: In his anger and apparent bile-filled disposition, Mr. Lamido, an otherwise astute and erudite politician, obviously dropped the ball by electing not to speak responsibly like a statesman.
“Apparently seized by some inexplicable resentment, Lamido held on to the lie currently being pushed by a few mischief-makers to the effect that former President Jonathan helped the APC to win the last gubernatorial election in Bayelsa State”
Jonathan further said; “Unfortunately, the former governor jumped into this convenient bandwagon of grovellers without first thinking of the burden of substantiating his claim. What to do? Orchestrate a raft of incongruent drivel of cheap lies to confuse the readers.
“This absurd claim definitely would have gained more traction in the public space if it really made any sense. But it didn’t. What, if we may ask Mr. Lamido, is the correlation between Jonathan supporting APC because he was angry with Governor Dickson and Jonathan supporting APC to avoid prosecution over Malabu?
“Where was Lamido and his ‘Malabu problem’ when Jonathan campaigned vigorously and helped PDP to win Bayelsa governorship election in 2015, under the same President Buhari? It is important to establish at this point that Mr. Lamido probably knows very little about the Malabu case, for which he was not supposed to have commented blindly.
“It bears repeating that the documents relating to the transactions and decisions of the Federal Government on the Malabo issue, during the Jonathan administration, are in the relevant Government offices, where they are accessible.
Insisting that the ex-President did nothing wrong and has no reason to be compromised, the statement said; “We would like to point out that all the actions taken by the Jonathan administration in relation to activities in the oil industry were legally conducted by relevant Nigerian government officials and were carried out in the best interest of the country
“We call on anyone, including Mr. Sule Lamido, who has any shred of evidence linking former President Jonathan to any wrongdoing in the case of the Malabu incident to waste no time in publishing such evidence or forever remain silent”.
The statement noted that the Malabu oil bloc, sealed during the military regime of late General Sani Abacha, remain a global concern, and not the exclusive preserve of the Nigerian government.
It said given the facts on ground concerning the case, Lamido should have been aware that “there are at least three other countries outside Africa that are investigating the matter. Assuming without conceding that the former President Jonathan is culpable as Lamido alleged, would a trade off deal with the Nigerian government also free him from blame in other countries like Italy, United Kingdom and the United States?
“Mr. Lamido’s awkward intervention in this matter was deliberately designed as a form of blackmail. Having tried many other ways to discredit the former President to no avail, Mr. Lamido is now scheming to project Malabo as Jonathan’s Achilles heel. Here again he has failed because the true story of Malabo is already very well known to Nigerians.
“Mr Lamido, we believe, is too smart not to realise that when the pot conveniently calls the kettle black, it is a grand design to confuse, deceive and cover up the truth.
“Lamido served as governor of Jigawa State for two terms under the platform of the PDP after which the ruling APC took over his state. Is he then telling Nigerians that he cut a deal with APC, helped the ruling party to procure victory at the polls and take over his state?
“The fact is that it is not only in Bayelsa State that the country had experienced such a situation where PDP or even APC had lost elections to another party. Holding Jonathan responsible for PDP’s loss in Bayelsa without first investigating the issues that determined the fate suffered by the party in the state is not only disingenuous but also detrimental to the image and aspirations of the party.”
According to the statement; “Rather than cast aspersions and throw shades because of pre-existing animosities and prejudices against the former president, what is expected of party leaders like Mr. Lamido is to seek to interrogate whatever went wrong in Bayelsa, to avert a repeat in another state.
“We believe that further interrogation of Lamido’s other weird claims is not necessary in this space, lest it gives the unfortunate interview more attention than it deserves.
“However, we feel that it is important to reiterate, as we have always done, that former President Jonathan did nothing wrong as far as the Malabu deal is concerned. He therefore doesn’t need to cut a deal with anybody within or outside Nigeria.”
Noting that no amount of negative insinuations and tantrums can dent the towering personality of Mr Jonathan, the statement further said; “The fact remains that as recent national events continue to vindicate former President Jonathan, and as the world continues to celebrate him, those who are insecure will feed such propaganda to their media agents to serve their narrow interests.
“We have always made it clear that beyond this wave of conjecture, former President Jonathan was not linked, indicted or charged for collecting any monies as kickbacks or bribes by any law enforcement body the world over”.
In a recent media interview, the former Jigawa State Chief Executive had accused Jonathan of sacrificing the PDP for personal gains of ensuring the President Muhammad Buhari-led government takes its eyes off from unearthing the dirty deals surrounding the controversial oil deal.
In the said interview with a national daily, Alhaji Lamido reportedly said; “The leadership of the APC and the government are blackmailing Jonathan and I think I can say it anywhere that he traded this for his own freedom.”
“Jonathan worked against his party because he was very, very angry with (Governor) Dickson. It was because he (Jonathan) sure knows his problem with Buhari and his government. And the issue of Malabu, I think, played a key role”, Lamido, a former Foreign Affairs Minister had claimed. in the report.