JONATHAN DIDN'T CONTEST AU CHAIRMANSHIP – PRESIDENCY
The Presidency has said contrary to media reports that President Yayi Boni of Benin Republic defeated President Goodluck Jonathan to emerge as African Union Chairman at the 18th AU summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the President did not contest.
In a statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, he said the report was false: 'And is only the latest in a series of sensational and fictional reporting in a bid to cast the administration of President Jonathan in bad light.'
Throwing more light on what actually happened, Abati said: 'It is not true that President Yayi Boni defeated President Goodluck Jonathan in an election; there was no contest in the first place and President Jonathan was not a candidate for the AU Chairmanship position.
'It is also not true that President John Atta Mills opposed President Jonathan at any time. Ghana and Nigeria enjoy excellent relations.
'It is true, that in the last week, some newspapers have been speculating that President Jonathan may be adopted by the ECOWAS Heads of States and Governments to be the next chairman of the African Union, since it was the turn of ECOWAS to produce the AU Chairman for 2012-2013. Mr. President was indeed approached by leaders within and outside the West African sub-region to take up the challenge of leading the AU for the next one year.
'While appreciating this kind gesture, President Jonathan resolved that he needed time to focus on domestic affairs in Nigeria, and that it would be practically difficult for him to combine the three positions of President of Nigeria, Chairman of ECOWAS and Chairman of African Union. He therefore rejected the offer.
'As it turned out, the President of the Republic of Benin had indicated interest in the position, which paved the way for his unanimous adoption by the ECOWAS Heads of State as the sub-region's candidate for the AU chair. Thus, it becomes obvious that President Jonathan rather than being defeated by President Yayi Boni of Benin actually facilitated his emergence as AU Chairman.'