- Governor Kashim Shettima said former President Goodluck Jonathan almost got him removed from office because of the controversy that surrounded the abduction of some Chibok girls
- Shettima said he was saved from Jonathan's alleged wrath by Mohammed Adoke, then attorney-general
- He also claimed the fuel subsidy controversy was one of the reasons Jonathan was defeated by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015
Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno state had the opportunity on Thursday, November 30, to relive the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan and what caused its downfall.
Shettima spoke in Abuja at the public presentation of On a ‘Platter of Gold: How Jonathan Won and Lost Nigeria’ authored by former sports minister, Bolaji Abdullahi.
Abdullahi is the current national publicity secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Shettima, who chaired the event, said the three factors that led to Jonathan’s downfall included the fuel subsidy scandal, the Boko Haram insurgency, and the general feeling of insecurity particularly with the abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls.
He said it was unfortunate that those around Jonathan at that period made him believe the abduction of the school children was a ruse.
He said when the issue became a national embarrassment with the international community coming into it, Jonathan was made to believe that he (Governor Shettima) masterminded kidnapping to embarrass the federal government.
“When the Chibok girls saga started, they made the president to believe that there was no abduction; that the Chibok girls were kidnapped by the governor of Borno state ostensibly to embarrass the Jonathan administration and he believed that line of the story.
“I was in Chibok, my wife was in Chibok and there was a global outcry on the issue but Jonathan was in a world of his own created by the clowns and also the misfits around him.
“I wasn’t invited to Abuja until nearly three weeks later and even when I was invited to Abuja, I was quite thrilled that at last, I was getting the attention of my leader.
“I was asked to come along with commissioner of police, the divisional police officer in Chibok, the commissioner of education, the military commander in Chibok and the director of DSS in Borno.
“We were all ushered into the Villa. Sadly, when the president came in, he was still in that mood. He started threatening the school principal that she should tell them where the girls were. ‘Principal, you must tell me where the girls are. Commissioner of police, you have to tell me’.
“He immediately ordered for the arrest of the principal, the DPO, commissioner of police and the director of DSS, that they must produce the girls.
“In this very unfortunate saga, Mohammed Abubakar, the then IGP arrested them, took them to the force headquarters and informed them; ‘Lady and gentlemen, I cannot hurt you because I am a man of conscience. I will let you go based on self-recognition’.
“And they were released to go back to their duty posts but I was shocked, I was quite taken aback because I thought solutions were going to be found to a very serious national challenge, instead, the president was still of the mindset that those girls were not abducted and that goes to show the quality of leadership in this country.
“Incidentally, the brigade commander in Chibok, was an Ijaw man, one Captaain God knows. And because they know the president is such a very unsophisticated simpleton, he is such an honest man, they knew that if they had brought in the man, they would have gotten him confused. So, they deliberately refused to bring the brigade commander in Chibok and that made the president to lose a true perspective on the issues.
“But we have to give it to him, that by conceding defeat, he saved the nation from the precipice,” Shettima said as reported by the Nigerian Tribune.
On how Jonathan allegedly plotted to remove him as governor, Shettima said the former president was only convinced to drop the move following legal opinions of former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mohammed Adoke, as well as the former special duties minister, Taminu Turaki.
“There was a time he wanted to remove me at all costs. In the Federal Executive Council (FEC), they were all speaking in the same tone that this Borno governor must be removed for embarrassing the government; that I was the problem. Two Nigerians stood out.
“He sought the opinion of Mohammed Adoke Bello, the then attorney general. Adoke told him that ‘Mr President, you have no power to remove even an elected councilor’.
“Then he sought the opinion of another other Senior Advocate of Nigeria in his team, the minister of special duties, Tanimu Turaki. And Turaki also told him that ‘Mr President, you have no power to remove a sitting governor’. And that was how the matter died.
“If you look at Obasanjo, hate him or love him, you have to respect Obasanjo for not only believing in the Nigerian project but by surrounding himself with men of quality.
“If you mention Obasanjo, the names that literally come to mind are those of Oby Ezekwesili, Aliko Dangote, Femi Otedola, Jim Ovia, Tony Elumelu, Nasiru el-Rufai, Nuhu Ribadu, Bukola Saraki and other quality Nigerians who had the capacity to add value to the system.
“And Obasanjo, take it or leave it, among those people, the only Yoruba person among them was Femi Otedola and he was not even deep in the power circuit.
“But when you think of President Jonathan with all due respect, he surrounded himself with an assorted crop of religious bigots, tribal kindred and all sorts of reactionary elements. Ateke Tom, Government Tompolo, late Oronto Douglas, Asari Dokubo, Edwin Clark, Ayo Oritsejafor and others.
“And because he is such an honest man, recently, he confided in Senator Ben Bruce that his major undoing was his poor relationship with the Borno governor. That is GEJ for you.
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“We are wishing him the best of luck in his retirement years. He can redeem himself by serving God and humanity, by serving Africa. We are wishing him all the best,” he added.
NAIJ.com earlier reported that Bolaji Abdullahi narrated how an unnamed cleric advised former president, Goodluck Jonathan, to pull down the “altar of Baal” in his government.
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