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Jonathan's My transition hours an elementary book of fiction: Borno gov

By The Rainbow
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Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, on Wednesday dismissed the book former President Goodluck Jonathan launched on Tuesday as an “elementary book of fictions,” that lacks courage.

He said the book, 'My Transition Hours,' by the former president was a clever attempt to sweep incontrovertible facts on the abduction of Chibok schoolgirls under the carpet.

He also tongue-lashed the former president, who in the book among other allegations, says Shettima and the rest of the All Progressives Congress conspired in the kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls.

Shettima said it was clear to him after reading the former president's book, that “he still lives with poor understanding of issues under his presidency.”

Shettima, who said he read through the book Tuesday's night, argued that Jonathan's claim on page 31 that Boko Haram wanted a Muslim president was laughable because the insurgents actually began their deadliest attacks in Borno under the regime of the late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, a Muslim from northern Nigeria.

He said the former president deliberately omitted in chapter four of his book, an investigative report submitted to him in June 2014 by the presidential facts-finding committee he constituted in May 2014, which was mandated to gather evidence-based facts and circumstances on the abduction.

Shettima, also in his reaction to the book, contained in a statement by his spokesman, Mallam Isa Gusau, criticised the allegations contained in chapter four titled 'The Chibok Schoolgirls Affair”, adding that Jonathan was wrong to have indicated that the schoolgirls' abduction was a product of conspiracy by the then opposition All Progressives Congress and the Borno State Government.

He said that contrary to the claim by the former President that the Borno State Government and a former United States President Barack Obama undermined efforts to rescue the Chibok girls in 2014, the truth is that Jonathan never believed there was ever an abduction until rescue efforts were late.

“The former President's elementary book of tales fell short of the courage required of him to publish findings by his own panel in chapter four of his book.

“The whole of Tuesday night, I took the pains of reading His Excellency, former President Goodluck Jonathan's book, 'My Transition Hours,' from the first to the 177th page. I took particular interest in chapter four (the Chibok schoolgirls affair) which has 42 paragraphs written from pages 27 to 36. I was amused that despite admitting in paragraph 15 that he had (in May 2014) constituted a Presidential Fact-Finding Committee under Brigadier-General Ibrahim Sabo and many others “to investigate” the Chibok abduction, former President Jonathan refused to mention any part or whole of the findings by that panel which had submitted a highly investigative report to him on Friday, June 20, 2014, after the panel held investigative meetings with the then Chiefs of Defence Staff; Army Staff; Air Staff; the Director-General, Department of State Services and Inspector General of Police, met all security heads in Borno, visited Chibok, met with parents of abducted schoolgirls, met surviving students, interrogated officials of the school and the supervising ministry of education, interrogated officials of West African Examinations Council and analysed all correspondences.

“What has become very clear is that the former President decided to sit on facts in his custody while he published, in an elementary standard, a book of fictions designed to pass guilty verdicts to anyone but himself, with respect to the open failures of his administration to rescue our daughters and in tackling the Boko Haram challenges,” Shettima was quoted by his spokesman.

The governor declared that by refusing to publish any part of his own panel's findings on the Chibok abduction, Jonathan's book was nothing short of a presidential tale by midday.”

Shettima said, “For the records, on Tuesday, the 6th of May, 2014, President Jonathan had inaugurated multi-agency/stakeholder fact-finding panel under the chairmanship of Brig.-General Ibrahim Sabo (retd), a one-time director of military intelligence and also appointed a secretary from the Niger Delta. President Jonathan single-handedly selected all members of that committee which included his trustees amongst serving and retired security officers from the army, DSS and police; representatives of the United Nations and Economic Community of West African states, representatives of the Chibok community, local and international civil rights organisations, representatives of the National Council on Women Societies, the Nigeria Union of Journalists, among other persons he trusted.

“For almost two months, the probe panel undertook forensic assessment of all documents on the entire issues, held investigative meetings with parents of the schoolgirls during a visit to Chibok. The panel held separate one-on-one investigative meetings with myself, the then Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chiefs of Air and Naval Staff, met the then Director General of the DSS and the Inspector General of Police, all of whom were appointees of President Jonathan.

“The panel interrogated officials of Borno State Government including the Commissioner of Education and the school principal. The panel also held investigative meetings with heads of all security agencies in Borno State including security formations in charge of Chibok. At the end, the panel submitted its report directly to President Jonathan on Friday, the 20th of June, 2014 in Abuja. President Jonathan has refused to make public the findings submitted to him. I was expecting the findings in his book but he has deliberately swept that report under the carpet.

“However, I remember that on June 24, 2014, the ThisDay Newspaper claimed to have obtained a copy of the panel's report and published as its lead, that painstaking findings by the presidential panel had indicted the military under Jonathan's watch and completely absolved the Borno State Government of any blame regarding the Chibok abduction. The newspaper went further to say that panel actually commended efforts of the Borno State Government in its commitment to the fight against Boko Haram as testified by heads of security establishments.”

Shettima added, “We know for a fact that as vicious cycle of evil, Boko Haram fighters do not care about the religion of their targeted victims. They attack mosques and churches; they are lunatics who regard anyone who doesn't share their ideology as an infidel. So, I wonder how the former President didn't take time to understand the biggest challenge under his presidency.”

The governor advised Jonathan to write a second book on account of his presidency which should contain the facts as have been presented to him, regarding the Chibok abduction rather than the fiction he made public on Tuesday.

No regrets working against Jonathan, say ACF,  NEF

The Arewa Consultative Forum and the Northern Elders' Forum on Wednesday defended their opposition to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan when he contested the 2011 and the 2015 presidential elections.

The groups, in separate interviews with The PUNCH, indicated that they had no regrets for their position in the two elections.

On its part, the ACF while justifying its position, said leaders should learn to honour their words.

The spokesman for NEF, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, told one of  our correspondents on the telephone that the North worked against the former President because he and his party jettisoned the power shift (zoning) policy.

He  said the forum never hid the reason for working against Jonathan, as according to him, “We told him(Jonathan)why we worked against him,” he stated.

He added that the forum expected the former President to respect the zoning formula shortly after the death of the late President Umaru Yar'Adua but regrettably, Jonathan and his party reneged on the zoning agreement.

The former Ahmadu Bello University vice-chancellor, stated, “Yes, it is true that Northern Elders' Forum worked against Jonathan and we told him why.

“They themselves (PDP) admitted that they made a mistake in reneging on the power shift and why what happened happened,” the spokesman said.

On its part, the ACF adduced the same reason for working against the former President and his party, saying Jonathan contested in 2011 and 2015 against the arrangement of his party that zoned the presidency to the North.

The National Publicity Secretary of the ACF, Alhaji Muhammad Ibrahim-Biu, told one of our correspondents that the former President's assertion that the North worked against him was odd, considering the “circumstances at that time.” The spokesman admonished Nigerian leaders to always honour agreements they entered into.

He said, “It is on record that Jonathan contested the 2011 and 2015 polls against the zoning arrangement of his party that zoned the presidential slot to the North.

“Therefore, his assertions that Northern leaders and socio-political groups in the North worked against his presidency is rather odd, considering the circumstances at that time.

“Yet the ruling party secured 25 per cent  in most states of the North. It may interest you to know that his party has since admitted the oversight in the party winning game plan.”

He added, “This clearly means that leaders should always honour their words with deeds if they want to earn the respect of their followers.”

The former President, in his new book, 'My Transition Hour' had said that he battled opposition from Northern leaders and socio-political groups, which  felt he was usurping power from the region.

Jonathan said the northern power blocs had tried to deny him his constitutional right of contesting the 2010 presidential election after the death of   President Umaru Yar'Adua in 2010.

According to him, despite the threats and opposition, he was able to win the 2011 election.

I defected in 2015 in response to people's wishes – Tambuwal

In a related development, the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, has defended his defection from the PDP before the 2015 General Elections, saying it was not triggered by a “blind ambition.”

Tambuwal, who spoke through his Director-General, Media and Publicity, Abubakar Shekara, was reacting to Jonathan's claim in his new book.

The governor denied that blind ambition led him to defect from the PDP to the All Progressive Congress, ahead of the 2015 general election.

In an interview with The PUNCH, Shekara said the circumstances that led Tambuwal and others to defect were clear to all.

He said, “Tambuwal and others who defected from the PDP to the APC were just responding to the wishes of the people.

“If he had blind ambition, he would have retained the number four position he had at hand. He rather jettisoned his comfort position to run for governorship.”

Jonathan in his new book says some PDP governors worked against his re-election in 2015.

He also stated that Tambuwal, who was a PDP member and Speaker of the House of Representatives in 2015, chose to hobnob with the opposition.

The ex-President stated, “The House of Representatives whose Speaker, then Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, was hobnobbing with the opposition (he eventually defected to the opposition) did not help matters.”

PUNCH