News / Africa

Nigerian President Jonathan Takes Aim at Predecessor’s Criticisms

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan arrives for service for former South African President Nelson Mandela, First National Bank Stadium, Johannesburg, Dec. 10, 2013.Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan arrives for service for former South African President Nelson Mandela, First National Bank Stadium, Johannesburg, Dec. 10, 2013.
x
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan arrives for service for former South African President Nelson Mandela, First National Bank Stadium, Johannesburg, Dec. 10, 2013.
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan arrives for service for former South African President Nelson Mandela, First National Bank Stadium, Johannesburg, Dec. 10, 2013.
James Butty
A spokesman for Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said former President Olusegun Obasanjo should stop trying to ‘play God’ when it comes to Nigerian politics.

Reuben Abati said the former president crossed the line when he criticized Jonathan’s performance in office in a lengthy letter made public December 2nd

Abati said it is something the international community and friends of Obasanjo should be concerned about.

Jonathan Sunday sent a strongly worded response to Obasanjo in which he accused the former president of trying to incite ethnic disharmony, as well as instigate members of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to rise up against him. 

Abati said Jonathan also made clear that Obasanjo’s letter was a threat to national security “as it may deliberately, or inadvertently, set the stage for subversion.”

“If you were in Nigeria, you will see that, within the last one month or so, with the emergence of the APC (All Progressives Congress), which is a coalition of opposition groups, that particular group has been trying to undermine the president. In the past, any time former President Obasanjo wrote a letter against a sitting president there were consequences in the form of military intervention, or maybe the failure of the government,” he said.

In his December letter, Obasanjo raised concerns about the security situation in Nigeria. In his reply, Jonathan said, although the current national security challenges were sown under previous administrations, his government was working assiduously to overcome them.

“Those who continue to downplay the successes in this regard, amongst whom you must now be numbered, appear to have conveniently forgotten the depths to which security in our country had plunged before now,” Jonathan said.

Abati said Jonathan also took exception to Obasanjo’s allegation that Jonathan was training snipers to assassinate political opponents.

“In that particular section of the response to former President Obasanjo, President Jonathan said that, one, it is an offense and an insincere allegation. And, he made it very clear that if President Obasanjo feels [that way] about this, he should provide evidence,” Abati said.

Jonathan responded to Obasanjo’s allegation of “high corruption” by saying that the seed of corruption in Nigeria was planted a long time ago.

“That corruption is an issue in Nigeria is indisputable. It has been with us for many years. You [Mr. Obasanjo] will recall that that your kinsman, the renowned afro-beat maestro, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, famously sang about it during your first stint as head of state. Sonny Okousn also sang about corruption,” Jonathan said in his reply.

Jonathan described as untrue Obasanjo’s allegations that he (Jonathan) asked half a dozen African presidents to speak to Obasanjo about Jonathan’s ambition to seek re-election in 2015.

“I have never requested any African president to discuss [this] with you on my behalf. In our discussion, I mentioned to you that four presidents told me that they were concerned about the political situation in Nigeria and intended to talk to you about it,” Jonathan said in his letter to Obasanjo.

Abati said Obasanjo crossed the line when he tried to allocate to himself the power to determine who should run Nigeria.

“If you go back to former President Obasanjo’s letter, he says in that letter that he is the one who put President Jonathan there as president. Now, for a man to go public and boast publicly, internationally, that he installed the president, and that he did it also in 1979, I think the international community must be concerned about that, that one individual would allocate to himself the powers of God, the power to install a president in a country of over 170 million people,” Abati said.
Butty interview with Abati
Butty interview with Abatii
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fairi
X
Brian Padden
May 29, 2015 1:27 PM
With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs