Angry President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has dismissed as “most reckless” and “unjustifiable” a fiercely scathing letter he received from former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in which Mr. Obasanjo accused him of lying, condoning corruption, and leading Nigeria to the brink of collapse.
A statement by the president’s aide, Reuben Abati, said the allegations by the former president were “baseless and indecorous.”
The statement said Mr. Jonathan has directed his aides not to respond to the barrage of attacks and allegations from Mr. Obasanjo, listed in an 18-page letter first published by PREMIUM TIMES.
Mr. Jonathan will personally respond to the charges at the “appropriate time”, the statement said.
“While many patriotic, objective and well-meaning Nigerians have already condemned the leaked letter as self-serving, hypocritical, malicious, indecent, and very disrespectful of the highest office in the land, President Jonathan has directed that none of his aides or any government official should join issues with Chief Obasanjo over it,” Mr. Abati said.
“The president himself will, at the appropriate time, offer a full personal response to the most reckless, baseless, unjustifiable and indecorous charges levelled against him and his administration by the former Head of State.”
In the highly acerbic letter, Mr. Obasanjo laid out a series of allegations against Mr. Jonathan, accusing him of corruption and ineptitude.
Mr. Obasanjo lamented that Mr. Jonathan had become terribly divisive and clannish, destroying his own party, polarising the country along regional and religious lines and ridiculing Nigeria in the comity of nations.
He blamed Mr. Jonathan for the crises tearing the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, apart, and accused him of lacking in personal integrity by consistently lying about his ambition for a new term of office.
Mr. Obasanjo also tackled Mr. Jonathan for allegedly being clannish. “For you to allow yourself to be “possessed”, so to say, to the exclusion of most of the rest of Nigerians as an “Ijaw man” is a mistake that should never have been allowed to happen. Yes, you have to be born in one part of Nigeria to be Nigerian if not naturalised but the Nigerian President must be above ethnic factionalism. And those who prop you up as of, and for ‘Ijaw nation’ are not your friends genuinely, not friends of Nigeria nor friends of ‘Ijaw nation’ they tout about.
“To allow or tacitly encourage people of ‘Ijaw nation’ to throw insults on other Nigerians from other parts of the country and threaten fire and brimstone to protect your interest as an Ijaw man is myopic and your not openly quieting them is even more unfortunate.”
The former president also accused Mr. Jonathan of placing over 1000 Nigerians on political watch list and “training snipers and other armed personnel secretly and clandestinely acquiring weapons to match for political purposes like Abacha and training them where Abacha trained his killers”.
The former President also called on the National Assembly to rise up and take decisive action over the allegation that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation failed to remit billions of dollars in proceed of crude oil sales to the federation account.
“This allegation will not fly away by non-action, cover-up, denial or bribing possible investigators,” Mr. Obasanjo told the President. “Please deal with this allegation transparently and let the truth be known.”
The Senate on Wednesday ordered an investigation. The senate committee on finance is to probe the allegation and make its findings known in seven days.
The presidency did not respond to any of the issues specifically beyond dismissing them as “provocative and unjustifiable.”
Mr. Abati said President Jonathan will respond personally. But the statement criticised the leakage of the letter to the media.
“We however find it highly unbecoming, mischievous and provocative that a letter written by a former Head of State and respected elder statesman to President Jonathan has been deliberately leaked to the mass media in a deplorable effort to impugn the integrity of the president and denigrate his commitment to giving Nigeria the best possible leadership,” the statement said.
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