Nigeria’s immediate past president Goodluck Jonathan, has disclosed how former governors of his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who defected to the then opposition All Progressive Congress (APC) because they were “blinded by ambition” and a barrage of “fake news,” cost him his bid to be reelected for a second term in office.
Jonathan made the claim in a book about his tenure in office titled: “My Transition Hours” launched on Tuesday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
The former President, who lost the election to his challenger, Muhammadu Buhari of the APC, with just over 2.5 million votes, also blamed northern leaders who wanted power returned to their region for sabotaging his reelection bid.
“This time around, there were governors who were rounding off their eight years tenure and were blinded by ambition,” he wrote about his re-election bid in 2015 having been overwhelmingly voted for in the 2011 election.
“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,” he wrote.
In the book, Jonathan added that in a twist of fate, most of the governors and other prominent members of the former ruling party who plotted against him are now being victimised in the APC.
The PDP chieftain also said he faced a barrage of opposition from Northern leaders and the socio-political group who felt he was usurping power from the region, noting that these northern power blocs had tried to deny him of his constitutional right of replacing the late president Umaru Yar’Adua, who died in office, in 2010.
Jonathan said despite the threats and opposition he was able to win the 2011 election.
“In spite of the threats and provocations to make the country ‘ungovernable’ for me, I had the overwhelming support of Nigerians in the run-up to the presidential election in 2011. I was able to win the election to the grace of God and the love of Nigerians. The election was all but won even before the whistle was blown for some strong factors. To mention a few, the pressure to preclude me from contesting in 2011, met with solid indignation from majority of Nigerians.”
Jonathan said in 2015, some northern leaders continued to oppose his presidency and his bid to seek a second term in office, but a new element was added to the opposition: “constant fabrication of damaging stories”.
“Many reasons make the onslaught in this context very suspect especially as it was being managed by foreign experts mostly from the United States.
“Throughout my tenure in office as President, there was constant barrage of what Donald Trump has now termed ‘fake news’ coming from a well-oiled media propaganda machine. I can say as a matter of fact that were never any snipers in training or already trained. There were no lists of political enemies to be taken out.
“There was no missing $49.8 billion and more importantly I can say that even those who made these and other allegations knew that they were false. This probably explains why many of these allegations died a natural death even as the echoes of my retreating footsteps still resounded nationally and globally,” he wrote.
The former President said he faced unending insults during his tenure and one that was particularly bemusing to him was the tagging of his presidency as “clueless” despite a number of firsts the country recorded during his tenure.