Former President Goodluck Jonathan has met with some members of his cabinet
in a bid to defend his integrity.
He was said to have told the former ministers that he was “not a thief in
office as being portrayed”.
He explained how he met President Muhammadu Buhari for 20 minutes on two
– advising Buhari against subjecting his person and former cabinet
members to “media trial” on alleged corruption and;
– why the Election Petition Tribunals in Rivers and Akwa Ibom should be
allowed to work unhindered.
He deplored what he called the involvement of the Department of State
Security Service(DSS) on election-related matters in the two states.
According to sources, the meeting was held at Jonathan’s Abuja home a few
It was gathered that about 15 former ministers (including two who were
recalled from London) and some former security chiefs attended.
One of the former media aides in the Presidency attended the “strictly
private” session to put issues in the correct perspective at the right time.
But the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, who
is central to the allegations against Jonathan, was absent.
A source, who spoke in confidence, said the session was “a frank and
fact-finding” against the backdrop of plans by the Buhari administration to
probe Jonathan’s tenure.
The source said: “The ex-President confided in the meeting that he was
worried that the gains of his administration were being washed away daily
by the allegations of corruption being reeled out by the government.
“He said he called the session to set the records straight and get facts
because his administration was not enjoying any benefit of doubt among
Nigerians, especially the media.
“At a point, Jonathan, in an emotional manner told the meeting that ‘I am
not a thief in office as being portrayed.”
Another source said the former President asked all the ex-ministers to
“brace for the probe ahead and keep their records intact to reply Buhari’s
administration on issues being raised.
“The ex-ministers unanimously agreed that there were better sides of
Jonathan’s administration than being painted as a tenure of graft.
“The key ministries, such as Works, Finance, Health, Aviation, Education
and even Petroleum Resources were mandated to produce lists of achievements.
“Some of the ex-ministers lamented that the Permanent Secretaries proving
to Buhari as holier-than-thou were part of the Jonathan administration and
they even made input into the handover notes.”
Responding to a question, the source said: “Jonathan and the ex-ministers
admitted that the administration might have some issues to clear in the
management of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
“But they said the situation was not as bad in the oil sector as being
A third source said: “I think we should expect some fireworks in the next
few days. The meeting resolved to reach out to the public in the same equal
weight the allegations of corruption will be released by the Buhari
“But there was a word of caution that any response must not be abusive. The
President personally appointed a former Minister of National Planning, Dr.
Abubakar Suleiman, to sign any statement on cabinet issues.
It was learnt that some of the ex-Ministers asked Jonathan what he actually
discussed with Buhari.
“The President said he raised two issues with President Buhari within 20
minutes. This border on the need to avoid media trial on any allegation of
corruption being looked into. He said he told Buhari that his image and
members of his cabinet were being dragged in the mud. He said even in law,
an accused person is deemed innocent until proven guilty.
“Jonathan also said he asked Buhari to leave the Election Petition
Tribunals in Rivers and Akwa Ibom states to do their work instead of the
hounding of some INEC officials and politicians by DSS.”