FORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo has said he warned ex-President Goodluck Jonathan against assigning the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, the former minister.
He said Jonathan ignored him and the nation could feel the consequences.
He also said he asked Jonathan not to seek a second term ticket in office in line with the agreement he had reached with prominent Northern leaders.
He said although Jonathan enlisted Pastor Enoch Adeboye and Bishop David Oyedepo on January 12, 2015 at the Hilltop residence in Abeokuta to beg him, he said he stood his ground that Jonathan must abide by the one term agreement.
Besides, he explained that poor handling of Boko Haram insurgency made him to oppose Jonathan’s return because a continuation of the administration could endanger the country.
He accused Jonathan of considering state matters within the prism of Ijaw politics.
Obasanjo made the disclosures in a new book, “Against The Run of Play”, written by the Chairman of ThisDay Editorial Board, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi.,
The ex-President said: “He (Jonathan) gave me the impression that he was not going to give her (Diezani) the portfolio but at the end he did and we can see the consequences. He of course knew what he was doing.”
For about two years, the ex-Petroleum Minister has been under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Besides the N23.29billion poll bribery scam, Mrs Alison-Madueke has been implicated in the $1.04billion Malabu Oil Block scandal, and the $15billion “missing” NLNG dividends, among others.
But the ex-Minister, who was arrested in London on October 2, 2015 by the National Crime Agency (NCA), has said that she has left all allegations against her to God.
In a statement, she said: “I have absolute regard for the law and believe that people who have breached the laws that govern societies should be made to face the wrath of the law. But in a civilised society, a responsible government owes its citizens absolute commitment to the principles of rule of law, equity, fairness and justice. I have been wrongfully and maliciously maligned and those behind this reckless action know it.
Obasanjo insisted that she ought not to be the Minister of Petroleum Resources.
He was not forthcoming in the book on why she opposed her being chosen for the portfolio.
The former President recalled how Jonathan became the Vice President in 2007 and how he stuck out his neck for him to be elected president in 2011 to solve minority agitation.
He said: “You know of course that Jonathan was not my first choice as running mate to your late boss (Yar’Adua), it was Dr. Peter Odili. But whether by fate or some conspiracy, Odili had hurdles that made it impossible for him to take the position. That was how I settled for Jonathan.
“I saw the emergence of Jonathan as an opportunity to solve the minority agitation. The three majority ethnic groups can always sort themselves out but not so for the minority.
“A good example is my state here in Ogun. Despite the best intentions, nobody from Ogun West has been able to become governor because of this minority issue and it will take a conscious effort to make it happen. “So, it was in that context that I had to plead with prominent people in the North to allow Jonathan run for a term.”
On Jonathan re-election bid in 2015, Obasanjo spoke of how the ex-President told him that he would not seek a second term in office.
He added: “I confronted him several times but he kept deceiving himself and when I could no longer put up with it, I had to register my opposition to the idea on record as I did in my letter to him.
“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 opposition was AOBJ: Any Option But Jonathan
“Jonathan and his handlers believed they could buy the election and they were so arrogant about it that the PDP would print only one nomination for him and him alone.
“If he was wise, he would have yielded the ticket to somebody else in the PDP.”
He said although Jonathan enlisted Pastor Enoch Adeboye and Bishop David Oyedepo to beg him at the Hilltop residence in Abeokuta, he said he stood his ground that Jonathan must abide by one term agreement.
He added: “It was only Pastor Adeboye that Jonathan told me was coming with him but Bishop Oyedepo is a man I also know very well so I had no problem with his presence at the meeting.
“I told him in the presence of his witnesses that I was not going to support him for a second term and I gave my reasons.
“Aside the issue of zoning on which he was reneging, his stewardship at that point had also shown very clearly that he was not up to the job.”
Obasanjo also explained that poor handling of the Boko Haram insurgency made him to oppose Jonathan’s return because a continuation of the administration could endanger the country.
He said: “Jonathan and his people turned Boko Haram into an industry for making money. Rather than seek for solution, Boko Haram became an ATM machine for taking money out of the treasury.
“Take the issue of Chibok tragedy. If he had acted within the first 48 hours, they would have found most of the girls. The CAN Chairman of the local chapter in Chibok was here to see me and he explained how they were helpless with no reaction from the authorities for several days.”
But Obasanjo clarified that he has no personal grudges against Jonathan except that it was based on certain principles he was not ready to compromise.
He said: “My decision was based on what would be for the good of Nigeria and since I didn’t consider Jonathan good enough, I told him to his face. What would I be afraid of?”
The ex-President accused Jonathan of seeing the world and attending to state matters within the prism of Ijaw politics or nationalism.
He said: “I once asked him (Jonathan), ‘What is this Ijaw thing all about? Can the Ijaw people make you President?’
“I remember when he granted pardon to Alamieyeseigha and it became an international embarrassment, I also asked him, ‘Why did you do it? He started by offering the lame excuse that it was a Council of State decision before I reminded him that Council of State was merely advisory and that the decision was his.
“After a while, he said if I was at the meeting, he probably could have acted differently because nobody opposed it. I then counseled him on what he could do to address the problem. But either because he didn’t have the courage to broach the issue with Alamieyeseigha or he didn’t think it was important, he did nothing afterwards.”
He admitted not knowing Jonathan well enough before taking a political bet on him.
Obasanjo added: “But then you really cannot know people until you give them power and responsibility. That is when you will gauge their capacity.”
Asked how much due diligence he did on the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, he said only sought “two clarifications out of which Yar’Adua gave him a medical report”.
He said: “One, the lingering doubts about his health, while the other was a very pervasive allegation that he had manipulative wife who had too much influence on him.
“Not being a medical practitioner, I gave the report to a friend and renowned professional in the medical field who reviewed it and told me that the person in the report was not on dialysis, which meant that he didn’t have kidney problem or that he had successfully undergone a kidney transplant. That was the report I had about his health.”
Jonathan has always insisted that he never signed any agreement to do one term.
He said his comments in Addis Ababa in February 2011 on tenure were grossly misinterpreted.
He added: “I had made a proposition for a single term of seven years. That was the context in which I spoke in Addis Ababa that if the idea was accepted, I would not run again. It was not the context of a second-term of four years.
“Of course, at that period, the issue of one term was brought up several times at different meetings and some people took it upon themselves to pledge on my behalf but I never said I was going to spend only one term…the question was always usually randomly asked and I never made any such commitment to anybody.
“In any case, you can make a political promise and change your mind, so long as it is within the law.”