- Former Ondo state governor, Olusegun Mimiko, allegedly wanted Goodluck Jonathan to prosecute and disqualify Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 presidential election
- He allegedly wanted the then candidate prosecuted for “certificate forgery”
- Mohammed Bello Adoke, former attorney general of the federation was said to have argued against such action
- Consequently, Adoke, was said to have been blamed for the loss of Jonathan by the former president's supporters and wife
Bolaji Abdullahi, a minister under Goodluck Jonathan from 2011-2014 alleged that former Ondo state governor, Olusegun Mimiko wanted presidential candidate Buhari prosecuted for “certificate forgery” and disqualified from contesting in the 2015 election.
He said Mimiko wanted then attorney general of the federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke to issue a fiat that would have given the power to a private citizen to prosecute Buhari for certificate forgery which could have led to his disqualification from the election, “or at the very least, disrupt the electoral process”.
But Adoke, despite the pressure, refused to initiate process for Buhari's disqualification, hence, he was blamed by supporters and even Patience Jonathan for the eventual loss of the former president.
Abdullahi made this allegation in his upcoming book: ‘On a Platter of Gold: How Jonathan Won and Lost Nigeria’.
The former minister, however, claimed that Adoke blocked the move by Mimiko and others after he argued that there was no legal basis to prosecute Buhari.
It should be recalled that Buhari had initially claimed that his secondary school certificate was with the military authorities, but they denied having it. He later got a replacement from his alma mater, Government College, Katsina.
The Cable reports that, in the advance copy of the book it sighted, Abdullahi described Jonathan as a man who had “a distinct aversion for taking any action that could be regarded as unlawful or illegal”.
And as a result of this, the attorney-general became central to most of the decisions the former president had to make.
It also reported that Patience Jonathan called Adoke a “useless man” for not helping to disqualify candidate Muhammadu Buhari.
Abdullahi wrote: “Two days after the election, Adoke had gone to see the president in respect of the appointment of a new chief judge for the FCT. While waiting in the outer room, the First Lady walked in. He rose to greet her. But she took one long look at him and hissed: ‘Useless man. You betrayed my husband. Now that he has lost the election, you are happy. It was the same Attorney General that Bayo Ojo used to disqualify Atiku for Obasanjo (in 2007). It was the same office that (Mike) Aondoakaa used to make dead man (Umaru Musa Yar’Adua) to rule Nigeria. But when it comes to my husband, you will be shouting, constitution, constitution."
Going further, he wrote: “There were a number of other issues that led many in the president’s immediate political circle to conclude that Adoke was the reason that President Jonathan failed to act with the required toughness on some issues,” Abdullahi wrote.
“When in May 2013 the president declared a state of emergency in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, some of the president’s men, led by Ijaw leader Edwin Clark, had asked him to sack the governors of those states as part of the emergency measures. Adoke, on the other hand, counselled the president against sacking the governors, insisting that such action had no constitutional backing. Clark fired back, asking the president to sack Adoke himself.
“Prominent lawyers and civil society groups promptly weighed in on the side of the minister, and commended him for being a ‘constitutional purist’. They noted that he could easily have allowed the president to act differently, if he were so minded, relying on the precedent set by President Obasanjo in the case of Plateau State and Governor Joshua Dariye in 2004 – a matter concerning which the Supreme Court had declined to make a definite ruling.”
Abdullahi said a similar situation arose after five governors left the PDP to join APC in November 2013.
“Some PDP governors had gone to the president and asked that their decamped (defected) colleagues be removed and be replaced by their deputies. Their argument was that those governors did not contest the elections by themselves but on behalf of the party. They pointed out that this had been determined in the case of Amaechi vs. INEC (in 2007), in which the Supreme Court ruled that it is the party that contests election and not an individual,” he wrote.
“The mandates held by those governors were therefore held in trust for the PDP and could not be transferred to another party. If a governor left the party, as the five governors had done, they ought to leave their mandate behind. Where their deputies did not follow them to APC, those deputies should be sworn in as governors without delay. Whereas, where the deputy governors had also decamped, a sole administrator should be appointed. Failure to take these steps would amount to robbing Peter to pay Paul.
“The president summoned the Attorney General and asked for his opinion. In line with his established character, Adoke told the president that the position being canvassed by the governors could not withstand the test of the law. The constitution did not grant the president such powers and had spelt out clearly how a governor could be removed from office. If Jonathan were to act as the governors were canvassing for, it would amount to an impeachable offence. And that was the end of the matter.”
The book will go on sale nationwide from November 30, 2017 after the launch.
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Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had earlier reported that former president, Goodluck Jonathan urged President Muhammadu Buhari and other persons that come after him to implement the recommendation of the 2014 Confab report.
The national conference during the administration of Jonathan and although he did not implement it, he said it was a pointer to how Nigeria can develop.
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