What Jonathan Has Been Up To After Aso Rock – Report

What Jonathan Has Been Up To After Aso Rock – Report

By Daily Trust on August 16, 2015
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Goodluck Jonathan Youwin
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan smiles during a press conference at the South African Parliament in Cape Town, on May 7, 2013. | Credit: AFP/Rodger Bosch

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has maintained a low profile since he handed over Aso Rock Villa to President Muhammadu Buhari on May 29, 2015. But he is at present working hard on his memoir, which will be a tell-all book, a close confidant of the ex-president revealed to Daily Trust on Sunday last week.

“The former President, for those who know him closely, is not given to much talks,”  the former aide told our reporter.

“He’s kept himself from too much on publicity, but I can tell you that he’s busy writing a book, in which he will recount his experience over the years. He’s putting together the records of his administration, his personal files and notes in a research format, with details of how events took place and how decisions were taken. That’s why he’s been silent about diverse attacks since he left office. The book will tell his story, and I assure you, many Nigerians will be shocked by its content.”

The memoir, Daily Trust on Sunday learnt, will tell his grass-to-grace story, his political adventures, his experience as Vice-President and President, and the just-concluded election which he lost.

The former aide added that apart from writing a book on his experience, the former president is setting up a foundation, called Goodluck Jonathan Foundation, which will promote good governance,  democracy, and engage in humanitarian activities.

The foundation “is not targeting the Niger Delta region alone. Nigerians from all parts of the country will benefit from it. Already he has acquired an office in Abuja, and he’s working closely with local and international consultants on the principles, vision, mission and strategies of the foundation.”

Commenting on the ongoing probe of the petroleum sector under the former president, the close aide argued that nothing would come out of the exercise.

“The former president expected everything that is playing out now. There’s a lot of falsehood being peddled around, and he’s been under pressure to speak but his book will answer many of the questions. All the allegations about billions of dollar being stolen are the same old story, but I tell you, the ex-president doesn’t have a foreign bank account; he doesn’t own a house abroad. When he travelled abroad in June, he flew on a commercial flight, Air France from Port Harcourt. He doesn’t have a private jet. The money he spent during the elections was not his own. People donated to the project. The billions of dollar being talked about, where does one keep those sums? So far, no one has accused him directly, so there is no specific allegation for him to deny. Everything revolves around the old $20 billion. Nothing has been traced to anybody, unlike the Abacha loots which were traced to several foreign bank accounts.”

Though no specific mention has been made about stolen funds traced to the former president, Buhari, on a visit to the United States last month, claimed that some $150 billion had been stolen by some officials of former President Jonathan’s regime and that the trial of some suspects in this case would commence in no distant future.

RE-ENGINEERING THE PDP:
Apart from working on his tell-all book and setting up a foundation, Daily Trust on Sunday learnt that he’s involved in the process of re-engineering the PDP. Some of the party’s leaders have blamed the former president and his wife, Dame Patience, for the party’s loss of the presidency after ruling Nigeria for 16 years without a break. Therefore, he’s been involved in the efforts to revive the party. The first step he took was to hold series of meetings with leaders of the party in London shortly after he left office between June and July, 2015, our reporter learnt.

During that period, top officials of the party and some of his former aides converged on London, to discuss the loss of power to the APC and the future steps to be taken.

Though his former Special Adviser on Political Affairs, Professor Rufai Ahmed Alkali, described the London meeting as mere speculation, there were indications that the meeting held as even the former President’s spokesman, Dr Reuben Abati, confirmed it on the social media.

Dr Abati had said, “I get tons of positive messages with common questions like “Where are you? What are you doing, Dr. Reuben Abati?”

I’ve been participating in the Advanced Management and Leadership Programme of the Oxford University’s Said Business School since the 7th of June. I had a great time discussing Nigerian Politics with my boss and former President Jonathan in London over the weekend.”

Daily Trust on Sunday learnt that the former president planned “to retire from politics and devote his time to God and humanity,” but the leaders of the party insisted that if he quit politics, it would be near-impossible for the PDP to rise from its big fall.

“The party’s leaders told him that he’s the only unifying figure and factor in the party at the moment,” his aide told our reporter at the weekend.

“Former President Obasanjo had dumped the party. He should have been the rallying point. Therefore, the party needs former President Jonathan to survive, and that’s the role he’s playing at the moment.”

Therefore, those the former president hangs out with at the moment are mainly the chieftains of the party, especially the Board of Trustees members, like Chief Tony Anenih, Dr Bello Halliru Mohammed, Ambassador Bello Gwandu, Senator Bala Mohammed, Barrister Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, Prince Uche Secondus. They hold regular meetings at his private residence in Maitama, Abuja.

A chieftain of the party, Dr Umar Ardo, told our reporter that the former president is working hard to ensure that the PDP retained the governorship of Kogi and Bayelsa States, in the first instance, and to re-engineer the party for 2019.

Dr Ardo said, “The former president is a member of the BoT, the National  Executive Committee (NEC) and the National Caucus, which are central to the resolution of the crisis in the PDP. They were in Otueke to resolve the factional crisis there, ahead of the forthcoming December 5, 2015 governorship election. They have successfully resolved the crisis. At the party level the former president is overseeing the implementation of Senator Ike Ekweremadu’s committee report.

The committee went to all the states of the federation and the geopolitical zones to gather data on the problems facing the party. All the recommendations have been put together and being implemented in order to rebuild the party.

Along that line the NWC has started standardizing the party’s register in order to digitalise it so that from Abuja it’s possible to know who members of the party are in any ward  across Nigeria.  A lot is being done to revive the party, and the former president is leading the pack in the process, to ensure that the PDP rebounds in 2019.

For instance, he returned to Otueke last week to finally solidify the deal in the party, because there were indications that the PDP’s Governor Seriake Dickson could lose the governorship to the APC candidate Timipreye Sylva.”

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