Monday, August 10, 2015

Jonathan holds secret meeting with Buhari

buhari and jonathan
Former President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday night paid a secret visit to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

At the meeting held inside the President’s official residence, no third person was admitted and no photograph of the night visit by Jonathan was allowed.

The visit was Jonathan’s first time at the Presidential Villa since he left in the morning of May 29 for the Eagles Square, where Buhari took his oath of office and allegiance as his (Jonathan’s) successor.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, confirmed Jonathan’s visit and meeting with Buhari to our correspondent on Sunday.

Adesina however said he was not privy to the subject of the discussion at the meeting.

A top Presidency official also confided in our correspondent that the meeting was strictly between Buhari and Jonathan and that no photographs were taken.

“Nobody was with them. I am sure they don’t want the visit to be an item in the media. That probably explains why the former President visited at night and went straight to the residence. They met for a few minutes in the President’s residence,” the official said.

The following day, however, Buhari also played host to former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

But unlike Jonathan’s visit, one of the photographers attached to the President was able to capture the two leaders.

It was not clear as of press time whether the two visits were in any way connected.

But The PUNCH learnt that Obasanjo, during his meeting with Buhari, told the President to ensure that all funds stolen under the Jonathan administration were recovered in order to strengthen the President’s anti-corruption image in the international community.

A Presidency source, who confided in our correspondent, said that Obasanjo did not raise the issue of appointments with Buhari.

“He (Obasanjo) argued that the anti-graft war will further raise the reputation of the Buhari administration at the international community. The former President also said stolen funds should be recovered,” the source said.

The Buhari administration has been investigating some activities of Jonathan’s administration with government officials claiming that the past administration was characterised by impunity and large-scale corruption.

Apart from probing the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the present administration is also beaming its searchlight on the management of the Excess Crude Account under Jonathan.

Some former aides of the ex-President, including the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.); Jonathan’s Chief Security Officer, Mr. Gordon Obuah; and the former Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr. Patrick Akpobolokemi, had either been arrested, detained or investigated.

On the eve of his departure from office, Jonathan had on May 27 advised Buhari not to single out his administration for any probe.

He said all those advising Buhari to probe his administration must also advise him to extend his probe beyond his regime, lest the probe be seen as a witch-hunt.

Jonathan said, “Some people are even calling for the probe of this government. I agree that in Nigeria, there are a number of things that we will probe, very many things.

“Even debts owed by states and this nation from 1960 up to this time, they are saying it is Jonathan’s administration that owes all the debts.

“I believe that anybody calling for probe must ensure that these probes are extended beyond the Jonathan administration, otherwise to me, it will be a witch-hunt.

“If you are very sincere, then it is not just the Jonathan’s administration that should be probed. A number of things have gone wrong and we have done our best to fix them. The Attorney-General is aware of massive judgments debts, if we aggregate all of them, it is about $1bn.

“How did we come to this kind of huge judgment debts? These issues should be probed.

“How do you allocate our oil wells, oil fields, marginal wells and others? Do we follow our laws? All these should be probed. I believe all these and many more areas should be looked into.”

Jonathan’ ascendancy to the Presidency was believed to have been made possible by Obasanjo’s support but the two have since parted ways with Obasanjo constantly attacking Jonathan’s government as corrupt.

Also, Jonathan, at a point during the electioneering, reportedly referred to Obasanjo as a “motor park tout.”

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