ABUJA – Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has accused Barack Obama of pushing for his defeat in the 2015 Presidential election.
Mr. Jonathan who lost the election to President Muhammadu Buhari blasted the then United States President of taking an unusual step by “prodding the electorate to vote for the opposition” in the election.
The claim was part of several made by the former Nigerian leader in his new book, ‘My Transition Hours’, launched in Nigeria’s capital Abuja on Tuesday.
“On March 23, 2015, President Obama himself took the unusual step of releasing a video message directly to Nigerians all but telling them how to vote,” Mr Jonathan wrote.
“In that video, Obama urged Nigerians to open the “next chapter” by their votes. Those who understood subliminal language deciphered that he was prodding the electorate to vote for the opposition to form a new government.”
For Mr Jonathan, the message undermined Nigerians and smacked of hypocrisy.
“The message was so condescending, it was as if Nigerians did not know what to do and needed an Obama to direct them,” he said.
The former Nigerian leader added that although Obama, in his message, said “all Nigerians must be able to cast their votes without intimidation or fear,” his government was vehemently and publicly against the postponement of the elections to enable the military defeat Boko Haram and prevent them from intimidating voters.
“This was the height of hypocrisy!” Jonathan declared.
Jonathan’s grouse with Obama went beyond the video. He narrated in the book that the actions of the then U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, especially his visit to Nigeria after the elections were rescheduled from February 2015 to March belied a plot to humiliate him.
This, he explained, was because even though the decision to postpone the elections was taken by INEC after a meeting of the Council of State, Kerry refused to accept that it was in the interest of the country and the electorate.
“In fact, John Kerry did not accept our reasons for the rescheduling,” he said.
This did not sit well with Mr Jonathan and he stated as much in the book.
He wrote, “How can the U.S. Secretary of State know what is more important for Nigeria than Nigeria’s own government?
“How could they have expected us to conduct elections when Boko Haram controlled part of the North East and was killing and maiming Nigerians? Not even the assurance of the sanctity of May 29, 2015 handover date could calm them down. In Nigeria, the Constitution is very clear. No President can extend his tenure by one day.”
Despite the criticism that followed the decision to reschedule the election, Jonathan insisted that the decision was the right one and it paid off.
He said, “Anyhow, the six weeks served us well. We received the military equipment we were expecting within that period and our Armed Forces commendably dealt a deserving blow on the terrorists and repossessed all territorial areas of Nigeria previously occupied by the terrorists. Boko Haram was deflated up to the point I handed over to my successor on May 29, 2015.
“We conducted the elections peacefully, even if there were issues raised about its fairness. At least, the nation was relieved that the election held peacefully and that there was no post-election violence.”