- PMB to GEJ: Corruption had no restraint under you
The United States and President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday hit back at former President Goodluck Jonathan over his claims on the 2015 polls and anti-corruption fight.
Jonathan had claimed that he lost his re-election to local and international conspiracies, including U.S., during the 2015 presidential election.
He also accused Buhari of harassing his family with his anti-corruption fight. But both the U.S. and Buhari said there was no truth in Jonathan’s claims.
Jonathan, in a book titled, “Against The Run of Play”, written by Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, a former presidential spokesman, had expressed worries that Buhari’s government was hounding his family using the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). “I feel sad about the way my family is being hounded.
Society is like a building. You build it one block at a time. If every president decides to go in to dismantle what his predecessor did, society will never make progress. I expected President Buhari to correct whatever mistakes I may have made and then carry on from there.
“But a situation in which people go into exile for political reasons is not good for us,” Jonathan said in the book which is yet to be launched.
But in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, Buhari explained that neither he nor his government harasses any Nigerian, including Jonathan and his family.
Buhari advised Jonathan to approach the court and seek redress if he felt aggrieved with the style of the administration in going after those who looted the country’s treasury.
“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 skeleton 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,” the statement noted.
The president said he 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.”
Also, spokesman for the Public Affairs Section of the United States Consulate General, Lagos, Mr. Russell Brooks, said US government did not influence the election or pitch tent behind any candidate.
“Nigeria has a very vibrant and outspoken media. I think the media should verify information and substantiate allegations before any publication. For example, there was a news item today (yesterday) that United States government interfered in the 2015 general elections.
United States government did not interfere in Nigeria’s election. “US was never involved nor manipulate the 2015 elections in Nigeria. US never influenced the outcome of the election to suit any candidate because US had no preferred candidate.
Media must verify information and substantiate allegations before publishing any story,” he said. Brooks spoke yesterday during a courtesy visit to the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) at Editors’ House in Ikeja, Lagos yesterday, Brooks, who was accompanied to the Editors’ House by the Public Affairs Officer to the United States Consulate General, Lagos, Darcy Zotter and Information Specialist to the US Consulate General, Lagos, Temitayo Famutimi, said the US did not have any preferred candidate during the 2015 general elections, therefore there is no basis for the country to interfere in Nigeria’s election.
Jonathan, who ran on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) also blamed his loss at the poll on former United States President Barack Obama, ex-British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande for aiding the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari, who contested on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Speaking about media operation in Nigeria, Brooks commended Nigeria for upholding press freedom. “During my stay in Nigeria, I noticed that there is press freedom in Nigeria.
Press freedom is fundamental to United States and fundamental for building democratic norms,” he said. He commended Nigerian media for its robustness and resilience, noting that in spite of the challenges in Africa, Nigerian media have discharged their duty creditably.
Brooks also assured the NGE that he would foster exchange programmes between Nigeria and the United States journalists, especially in the area of capacity building.
In her response, the President of the NGE, Mrs. Funke Egbemode, assured Brooks that NGE is willing to partner with US Embassy in the area of capacity building and exchange programme to promote professionalism among members of the Guild and media practitioners in the country.
She said the NGE would also appreciate exchange programmes that will see Nigerian journalists train in the United States while US journalists will also visit Nigeria’s media houses to appreciate how Nigerian journalists cope even in the midst of challenges.