Former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has challenged the governor of Borno State, Mr. Kashim Shettima to be honest enough to confess fully the role he (Shettima) played in the abduction of over 200 students of Government Girls’ Secondary School in Chibok.
At a book launch, ‘On a Platter of Gold—How How Jonathan won and lost Nigeria’, written by the former minister of youth and sports development, Mr. Bolaji Abdullahi, Shettima had described Jonathan as a “bad leader who made poor choices while in power.”
Speaking through his spokesman, Mr. Ikechukwu Eze, the former president said Shettima’s claims that his (Jonathan’s) administration was dogged by poor choices and bad governance were “parochial and jaundiced,” and highlighted what his key achievements, which he said were yet to be matched by any other leader.
He challenged the governor to come clean about the roles he allegedly played in the abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls, stressing that it went beyond the dismissive claim that “Jonathan thought I kidnapped Chibok girls.”
Jonathan also accused the governor of frustrating the war against Boko Haram.
“He (Shettima)] should be able to tell us if it was Jonathan’s poor choices that led the governor to expose the students of the Government Girls’ Secondary School in Chibok to an avoidable danger, in total disregard of a Federal Government’s directive to the governors in the three states most affected by Boko Haram to relocate their students writing the West African Senior School Certificate Examination to safe zones.
“The governor is now denying that he had no hand in the kidnap of the Chibok girls even before anybody accused him of culpability. However, we share the view of those who insist that the governor had other things up his sleeve when he promised the West African Examinations Council that he would secure the girls and ended up doing the very opposite, by deliberately abandoning them to their fate, without any security presence in their school,” said Jonathan in a press statement.
He also said it was instructive that while other governors in the zone heeded the security advice, Shettima was the only one who “flagrantly” flouted it.
“Should we also fail to point out that his decision to reward the principal of Chibok Secondary School, who was uncharacteristically absent on the night the terrorists stormed the school, with the post of a commissioner, did throw up more questions than answers?” he asked.
He also challenged the governor to explain to the people of Borno State and Nigerians what he did with the over N60 billion local governments fund, which he said were left by his predecessor, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff.
Jonathan who described Abdullahi’s book as “sour grapes — full of lies and gossip” also described as “unfortunate” Shettima’s claim at the presentation of the book that he (Jonathan) wasted the goodwill he commanded because of bad governance and poor choices in office.
“As a man who had never seen anything good in the administration of Jonathan on account of party and other differences, it has remained our consistent view that in a democracy, Governor Kashim Shettima and others like him are entitled to their opinion, no matter how jaundiced.
“However, it is a sad commentary on the character of some of our politicians that they go to any length to make spurious statements in pursuit of the sad narrative to remain politically correct.
“We cannot be deceived by his crocodile tears and patronising claim that ‘Jonathan is essentially a decent man,’ which is a ploy he deployed to justify his false allegation of a lost glory.
“The man who today speaks of squandered goodwill should be able to tell Nigerians what percentage of the votes Jonathan got in 2011 from Borno State at the height of that his envisaged glory, according to Shettima, and what it became in subsequent elections.
“What was obvious yesterday and has remained today is that Governor Shettima and those who think like him never liked Jonathan based on some parochial and paternalistic sentiments,” said the former president.