Former President Goodluck Jonathan says Babangida Aliyu, ex-governor of Niger state, lied over his claim that northern Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors worked against him in the 2015 elections.
On Friday, Aliyu said PDP governors in northern states opposed Jonathan’s bid for a second term because he reneged on their agreement not to seek another tenure.
“Since this was against the grain of our earlier agreement in the party, and which we the governors in the north felt the North would have been shortchanged if Jonathan had succeeded, we rose stoutly to insist on the agreement we all had,” he had said.
Aliyu’s claim had since elicited reactions with Jonah Jang, former governor of Plateau refuting the claim and that he was not part of northern PDP governors that worked against Jonathan.
Speaking on the claim, Reno Omokri, a former aide to Jonathan, in a statement on behalf of his former principal sent to THISDAY, said there was no agreement whether oral or written between Jonathan and PDP northern governors that he will not contest for a second term.
According to the statement, Jonathan challenged the former Niger governor to name witnesses that witnessed the said agreement.
The former president said Aliyu gave a different claim when he was asked to give reasons why he worked against him in Segun Adeniyi’s book titled: “Against the Run of Play: How an Incumbent President was Defeated in Nigeria.”
“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,” the statement said.
“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.
“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.”