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President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, rebuffed claims of official harassment of family members of his predecessor, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, insisting that claims to the contrary were only being echoed by those with skeletons to hide.
Buhari’s assertion which was upon remarks attributed to Dr. Jonathan in the new book- “Against The Run of Play”, written by Mr. Segun Adeniyi, Chairman, Editorial Board of ThisDay Newspapers, came as kinsmen of the former president robustly defended his claim of an international and local conspiracy to thwart his re-election bid.
The kinsmen under the aegis of the Ogbia Political Forum, OPF, said the United States was particularly offended by President Jonathan’s opposition to the legalisation of homosexuality in the country and alleged that some interest groups were determined to keep the former president from talking, even in the face of the alleged injustice he suffered.
The United States Mission in Nigeria, nevertheless, dismissed the assertion of the former president, insisting that the U.S. only advocated a free and fair election in the country.
Noting that only those with something to fear should panic, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina in a statement said:
“The Presidency is constrained to respond to the banner headline story in a national newspaper of Wednesday, April 26, entitled: Buhari’s govt harassing my family, says Jonathan.
“The paper said former President Goodluck Jonathan made the allegation in a new book, “Against The Run of Play”, written by the Chairman of ThisDay Editorial Board, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi.
“The former president also reportedly disagreed with the style being used by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in fighting corruption.
“We make bold to state unequivocally that President Buhari harasses nobody; he merely allows the law to take its course. For the umpteenth time, we say that anybody without skeletons in his or her cupboard, has nothing to fear about the bared fangs of the anti-corruption initiative.
“Fear belongs only to those who have abused trust while in office. Anybody who feels aggrieved is free to approach the courts to seek redress or justice. President Buhari believes in the rule of law and that is why his campaign against corruption is anchored on that plank.
“With regard to President Buhari’s anti-graft style, which the former president deprecates, given the scale of revelations and recoveries so far by the anti-corruption agencies, it is obvious that corruption had an uninhibited course during our recent past.
“In any case, time will give the verdict on whose style of fighting corruption ultimately yielded the most dividends.
“For now, President Buhari is resolute and single-minded in the fact that his crusade against graft is not targeted at any individual or group.
“He firmly believes that national interest must always be placed above personal interest, no matter who is involved.”
2015 elections saga: Jonathan’s kinsmen rise to his defense
Meanwhile, kinsmen of former President Jonathan under the aegis of the Ogbia Political Forum, OPF while rising to his defence affirmed that Jonathan should not be denied the opportunity of ventilating his views in the face of alleged persecution.
The President of OPF, Chief Azibaodusi Maclean Aduba, in a statement, yesterday, said that the group stood by what Jonathan said, insisting that many local and international forces took unusual interests in the last elections to the ex-President’s detriment.
Noting that there was nothing strange in the claims of the former president, he said:
“This same group of people are now savagely criticising the former President for the mere mention of the fact that Americans and few other world powers took unusual interest in the 2015 elections, in the bid to frustrate his re-election bid. If anything, the former President had merely reaffirmed the obvious, as it is no secret that his signing of the anti-gay bill into law brought down the full weight of the Barack Obama administration on the Jonathan Government, with the intention of forcing a regime change.
“It is instructive that President Muhammadu Buhari himself confirmed this when he openly thanked the United States, Britain and the European Union for the roles they played in the outcome of the 2015 elections, while hosting the Italian envoy to Nigeria, Ambassador Fulvio Rustico, in 2015. The question is, if it was cool for Buhari to express gratitude to those that helped him during the last general elections, why then will it be a sin for Jonathan to say the same thing from his own standpoint.”
Meanwhile, the United States Embassy in Nigeria yesterday dismissed claims of bias on the part of the country in the approach to the Nigerian presidential election in 2015.
Russell Brooks, Information Officer at the embassy in a response to Vanguard’s enquires on the issue said yesterday:
“The U.S. advocated a free, fair, and transparent election in 2015. The outcome of the election was an expression of the will of the Nigerian people.”