Reactions have continued to trail the claim by former Niger state Governor Babangida Aliyu that all the northern governors worked against President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) because he wasn’t respecting the agreement on 2015 elections.
The latest of such reactions came from President Jonathan, Sunday, challenged the former governor to come up with witnesses as well as documents on such agreement binding on all parties ahead of the elections.
Jonathan lost at the poll and in the spirit of sportsmanship reached out to congratulate Major General Muhammadu Buhari, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) well ahead of the final declaration of results.
But in a media report last week, former Governor Aliyu said the northern governors worked against Jonathan’s interest because he reneged on the agreement to use only one additional term after completing the tenure of late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua on 5 May, 2010.
Aliyu had said: “Since this was against the grain of our earlier agreement in the party, and which we the governors in the North felt the North would have been shortchanged if Jonathan had succeeded, we rose stoutly to insist on the agreement we all had.”
Countering Aliyu, however, the then Plateau state governor, Jonah Jang said he was not part of the ‘gang up’ and asked his former colleague to show proof.
And speaking on the matter, former President Jonathan said ex-governor Aliyu came up with the position to seek relevance, insisting there was never a time such an agreement was arrived at.
Speaking through his former aide, Mr Reno Omokri, in a statement Sunday, a copy of which was obtained by Blueprint, Jonathan said there was no agreement whether oral or written between Jonathan and PDP northern governors that he won’t contest for a second term.
The ex-president tasked the former Niger governor to name those that witnessed the said agreement.
Jonathan said Aliyu made a different claim when asked to give reasons he worked against him in Segun Adeniyi’s book titled: “Against the Run of Play: How an Incumbent President was Defeated in Nigeria.”
He said: “Babangida Aliyu is a pathetic fellow. He has become a broken record and, sadly, he feels that is the only way to remain relevant. Let me break his claim down for you in a way that it will be so crystal clear that he is lying.”
The former president further stated: “There was no such agreement, whether written or oral. Since he says it was written, then let Mr. Babangida Aliyu produce it. If he changes his statement and says it was not written after all, but actually verbal, then I challenge him to name witnesses.
“Mr Aliyu says the agreement the northern governors had with former President Jonathan was for him to finish off President Yar’Adua’s first term between May 6, 2010 and May 29, 2011, and then contest for only one term between May 29, 2011 and May 29, 2015.
“If this is true, then how come former President Jonathan lost the votes of Niger State at the Peoples Democratic Party presidential primary of January 13, 2011?
“How come, also, that former President Jonathan lost the actual presidential election, which held on April 16, 2011 to the candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, Muhammadu Buhari, in Niger State?
“General Muhammadu polled 652,574 votes to then President Jonathan’s 321,429 in Niger State in 2011. He got more than twice the number of votes secured by former President Jonathan.
“So, even if we want to say for argument’s sake that there was such an agreement, of which there was no such agreement, wouldn’t Governor Babangida Aliyu have been expected to have kept to his side of the bargain?
“The truth is that not only was there no such agreement, but Babangida Aliyu is such a perfidious character that does not even know that his current disposition contradicts his earlier statements.
“For example, in Mr. Segun Adeniyi’s book, Against the Run of Play: How an Incumbent President Was Defeated in Nigeria, published in 2017, Mr. Aliyu gave a completely different reason for working against former President Jonathan.
“According to Mr. Aliyu, the Obama administration had invited 12 governors from northern Nigeria to sound them out on their commitment to the plot to unseat the then President of Nigeria. In that book, the former Niger State governor said, the Americans had resolved not to support Jonathan. They just wanted to size us up for the level of commitment to regime change.
“Mr. Aliyu revealed in that book that he was an unpatriotic individual, who held meetings with a foreign government to undermine his own home government. He basically admitted to treason. Now, how can such a fellow be taken seriously by people who believe in the unity of Nigeria?
“Witnesses at that meeting revealed that the statements made by then governors Aliyu and Murtala Nyako were so dangerous to Nigeria’s unity that it prompted a strong rebuttal from Gombe state governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, who was also present.”