Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that former President Goodluck Jonathan from his first days as President showed he was too small for the office. In a tone laden with regrets, Obasanjo pointed out that there were certain things Jonathan did that fell below his expectations as a former president.
“There were certain decisions taken by Jonathan very early in his administration that pointed to the fact that the office was bigger than him and one of them was the appointment of a petroleum minister,” he said.
According to Obasanjo, he cautioned Jonathan not to appoint Diezani Alison-Madueke to such a sensitive sector but the president ignored his counsel.
“Jonathan gave me the impression that he was not going to give her the portfolio but at the end he did and we can see the consequence. He, of course, knew what he was doing,” Obasanjo stated.
Obasanjo in the book, Against the Run of Play: How an Incumbent President was defeated in Nigeria, written by former presidential spokesman, Segun Adeniyi, also revealed that beside Jonathan deceiving him that he would not give Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke the petroleum portfolio in his cabinet, he (Jonathan) was also deceived into believing that he could use money to buy the 2015 presidential election.
Obasanjo explained that Jonathan and his handlers believed that they could buy the last election and that they were so arrogant about it that the PDP would print only one nomination form for him and him alone. He said: “If he was wise, he would have yielded the ticket to somebody else in the PDP.”
In the 204-page book, Obasanjo is quoted as saying that following Umaru Yar’Adua’s death in 2010, he endorsed Jonathan for the 2011 presidential election principally to solve the problems of minority agitation in Nigeria.
The former President said: “I saw the emergence of Jonathan as an opportunity to solve the problem of minority agitation. The three majority ethnic groups in Nigeria can always sort themselves out but not so for the minority.”
The former president also hinted at what riled him against Jonathan and why he parted ways with him in the run-up to the 2015 election, a development which has given the impression that he was actively working in support of Buhari’s candidature. But Obasanjo denied any direct support to Buhari.
He said: “I didn’t join them in supporting Buhari; I joined in opposing Jonathan so Buhari was just a beneficiary of my opposition to Jonathan since my position was AOBJ: meaning Any Option But Jonathan.”
On why Jonathan lost the election, former Senate President, David Mark, said that he saw the defeat coming and had pointed out the unrealistic voting projections made by the party about the North to the former president and the conspiracy against him but he was not taken seriously.
He said Jonathan should have seen the handwriting on the wall and done something about what was pointed out to him but no action was taken.
Mark lamented, “I saw it and at difference times, I pointed out to him and the party that the projections being made by some people around the president about what the voting pattern in the north would were wrong.
“I could see the conspiracy and the gang-up building up in the north against the aspiration of Jonathan but my voice was drowned out by those who took it for granted that a sitting president, and one from PDP, could not lose,” Mark said.
The former Senate President also mentioned that the former Vice President, Namadi Sambo, was also aware that Jonathan was not strong in the North but apparently had little to say in the campaign to re-elect Jonathan.
“Some people were deceiving the president with the kind of false scenarios they were painting for him. The VP could see the conspiracy but I don’t know how much influence he had on the campaign. Why Jonathan couldn’t see it until it was too late is what I find difficult to understand,” Mark pointed out.