November 22, 2018

Claims that Okonjo-Iweala, others urged me not to concede is twisted logic – Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan (middle); Vice President Namadi Sambo (left) and Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala during the opening of the Presidential Retreat on Maritime Security at the Banquet Hall, State House, Abuja, yesterday. Photo: Abayomi Adeshida.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has debunked insinuations by a newspaper that he was persuaded not to concede defeat by some of his ministers including former finance minister Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala describing it as twisted logic.

Responding to a story which indicated that those with him at the time he called President Muhammadu Buhari to concede thought otherwise, Jonathan noted that such interpretation was tantamount to stretching interpretative reporting beyond acceptable limits, stressing that the writer wilfully ignored the true account of what happened at that critical moment as clearly stated in the book, ” just to create mischief.”

Jonathan and Okonjo-Iweala

In a statement issued by Ikechukwu Eze, his media adviser, Jonathan further described the claim as a gross misrepresentation of what he write in his new book.

He said: “Our attention has been drawn to a circulating story titled ‘Jonathan: I was pressed to reject 2015 election result’ which erroneously claimed that some identified former aides and ministers of ex-President Jonathan advised him “not to accept defeat.”

The story which was said to have been written from President Jonathan’s new book ‘My Transition Hours’ mentioned the then Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Attorney-General of the Federation and Justice Minister Mohammed Bello Adoke; Aviation Minister Osita Chidoka, as those whose advice was rebuffed by Jonathan.

“This is obviously a gross misrepresentation of what was clearly stated in the book. .
“President Jonathan had maintained that he never consulted anybody over the decision to call and congratulate his opponent while the results of the 2015 Presidential election was still being tallied. Whereas the decision to concede defeat was one he took without any compelling, the former President is however grateful to those who were with him at that moment and many other Nigerians that shared in his conviction to put across the historic phone call.

“For the avoidance of doubt the former President in his narrative of his engagement with the mentioned key appointees at that critical time in the nation’s political history stated clearly that the we’re considering “sundry alternatives, but I was quiet in the midst of their discussion.” However, this was how The Nation chose to report the narrative: “Okonjo-Iweala, Adoke, Chidoka, Dudafa advised me not to accept defeat”.

“It therefore beggars belief that the phrase ‘sundry alternatives’ could be interpreted to mean that the former President was advised by the identified personalities ‘not to accept defeat.’
“We always say that the society will be better served if journalists keep their interpretative reporting within the limits of credible and constructive imagination.”