Former president Goodluck Jonathan has refuted the claim made by Babangida Aliyu, a former governor of Niger State, that he had an agreement with northern governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that he would only contest for a term.
Jonathan’s response was made known by Reno Omokri, a former media aide to Jonathan, in a statement on behalf of his former principal and published by ThisDay on Sunday.
Aliyu had last week said PDP governors in northern states opposed Jonathan’s bid for a second term in the 2015 presidential election because he reneged on their agreement not to seek another tenure.
Reacting, Jonathan insisted that he never made such an agreement and challenged the former Niger State governor to produce documentary evidence and witnesses of the said agreement.
The statement read: “Babangida Aliyu is a pathetic fellow. He has become a broken record and, sadly, he feels that is the only way to remain relevant. Let me break his claim down for you in a way that it will be so crystal clear that he is lying.
“There was no such agreement, whether written or oral. Since he says it was written, then let Mr. Babangida Aliyu produce it. If he changes his statement and says it was not written after all, but actually verbal, then I challenge him to name witnesses.
“Mr Aliyu says the agreement the northern governors had with former President Jonathan was for him to finish off President Yar’Adua’s first term between May 6, 2010 and May 29, 2011, and then contest for only one term between May 29, 2011 and May 29, 2015.
“If this is true, then how come former President Jonathan lost the votes of Niger State at the Peoples Democratic Party presidential primary of January 13, 2011?
“How come, also, that former President Jonathan lost the actual presidential election, which held on April 16, 2011 to the candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, Muhammadu Buhari, in Niger State?
“General Muhammadu polled 652,574 votes to then President Jonathan’s 321,429 in Niger State in 2011. He got more than twice the number of votes secured by former President Jonathan.
“So, even if we want to say for argument’s sake that there was such an agreement, of which there was no such agreement, wouldn’t Governor Babangida Aliyu have been expected to have kept to his side of the bargain?
“The truth is that not only was there no such agreement, but Babangida Aliyu is such a perfidious character that does not even know that his current disposition contradicts his earlier statements.
According to the statement, the former president said Aliyu gave a different claim when he was asked to give reasons why he worked against him in a book written by Segun Adeniyi, a former presidential spokesperson.
He described the former governor as an unpatriotic individual “who held meetings with a foreign government to undermine his own home government”.
The statement read: “For example, in Mr. Segun Adeniyi’s book, Against the Run of Play: How an Incumbent President Was Defeated in Nigeria, published in 2017, Mr. Aliyu gave a completely different reason for working against former President Jonathan.
“According to Mr. Aliyu, the Obama administration had invited 12 governors from northern Nigeria to sound them out on their commitment to the plot to unseat the then President of Nigeria. In that book, the former Niger State governor said, The Americans had resolved not to support Jonathan. They just wanted to size us up for the level of commitment to regime change.
“Mr. Aliyu revealed in that book that he was an unpatriotic individual, who held meetings with a foreign government to undermine his own home government. He basically admitted to treason. Now, how can such a fellow be taken seriously by people who believe in the unity of Nigeria?
“Witnesses at that meeting revealed that the statements made by then governors Aliyu and Murtala Nyako were so dangerous to Nigeria’s unity that it prompted a strong rebuttal from Gombe state governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, who was also present.”