Jonathan, Buhari Hold Closed-Door Meeting In Abuja

File Photo: Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan and President Muhammadu Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday received his predecessor, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, in his office at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The former president came into Aso Rock at about 4pm but it is  unclear what the duo discussed as Jonathan did not speak to journalists after the meeting.

READ ALSO: Buhari Should Change His Attitude Towards South-East, Says Senator Utazi

Currently, the presidency has yet to disclose the agenda of the meeting. The ex-President had been working as ECOWAS special envoy to Mali, a position that has brought him in more regular contact with President Buhari in recent times.

We Will Welcome New Members, But No Automatic Ticket – APC

Court Nullifies Zamfara APC Governorship Primary
A file photo of APC flags.

 

The All Progressives Congress (APC) says there will be no automatic ticket for persons – old and new members – aspiring to contest for any elective position in the country.

National Secretary of the APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), Senator James Akpanudoedehe, said this in a statement on Friday.

He made the remark in clarification of his comments on a waiver while reacting to the rumoured plans by former President Goodluck Jonathan to dump the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the APC.

“The waiver is definitely not specific to anyone as being misconstrued and misrepresented in some sections,” Akpanudoedehe stated.

“Coming into the party gives no one special status of being an automatic party candidate in any election. All aspirants must undergo the nomination processes outlined by the APC constitution.”

READ ALSO: Fani-Kayode Joins APC, Explains Role In Defection Of Three PDP Governors

Giving more explanation on his statement, the APC spokesman referred to the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) resolution of December 8, 2020.

According to him, the committee granted waivers to persons who recently joined the party and those desirous of joining the party in the nearest future to contest for positions in the APC and as party flag bearers in general elections.

“…New members will enjoy all the benefits and privileges accruable by virtue of their membership of the party. So, they will be able to contest for positions in the party.

“They will be able to contest elections without any requirement of being members for a number of years or period of time,” Akpanudoedehe quoted part of the resolution as saying.

“For the records, in my recent television interview reaction to the rumoured plans by former President Goodluck Jonathan to join the APC, my statement was that NEC resolution was a blanket waiver to all new APC entrants.”

According to the APC chieftain, new members – by the NEC resolution – will enjoy all the benefits and privileges accruable by virtue of their membership of the party.

How IBB Asked Jonathan To Sit On Yar’Adua’s Chair – Otedola

 

Billionaire businessman Femi Otedola has joined Nigerians in felicitating with former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, who marks his 80th birthday on Tuesday, August 17.

Wishing him more rewarding years, Otedola on Sunday thanked the Retired General who is fondly called IBB for the role he played during the political logjam caused by the prolonged sickness of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2010.

In his forthcoming book on business lessons – scheduled for release in November, Otedola revealed that General Babangida sent a message through him to the then-Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, to sit on the empty seat of President Yar’Adua in the next Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.

With Yar’Adua failing to formally transfer power to his VP when he was flown abroad for medical treatment, there was tension across the nation as a result of the power vacuum, which led to public protests.

“Worried by the tension and uncertainty, I decided to do something on my own,” he wrote.

“In the first week of February 2010, I went to Minna, Niger State, along with Hajia Bola Shagaya, to commiserate with General Ibrahim Babangida over the death of his wife, Maryam.

“At his Hilltop residence, we spoke on a wide range of issues, but I told him I needed to discuss an urgent and vital issue. He took me to his study, where the two of us were alone. I told him that the state of the nation had been agitating my mind.”

 

Otedola said he asked Babangida how the country could get out of the political logjam, emphasising that the political heat at the time was “too much”.

He said a “calm and resolute” IBB replied: ‘Femi, advise your friend that when he gets to the Council Chambers next week for the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, he should go and sit on the President’s chair.’

“I found that fascinating and assured him I would pass the message across,” Otedola wrote, adding, “I travelled back to Abuja by road in the evening and went straight to have dinner with Dr Jonathan. I did not waste time in delivering General Babangida’s message to him.

“He nodded and asked me, ‘What do you think?’

“I laughed and said, ‘Be a man, Your Excellency. Go and sit on that chair!’

“He looked at me for some time and responded that he would think about it.

“A week later, on Tuesday, February 9, the National Assembly adopted the famous ‘Doctrine of Necessity’ to make Dr Jonathan the Acting President pending the return of President Yar’Adua from his medical leave. Behind-the-scene moves by prominent Nigerians preceded this decision. The legislative resolution was unprecedented, but the nation had been tensed up. The fault lines were so stoked that an unusual solution was needed to address the unique situation.

“With Jonathan now legally empowered to act as President, there remained the critical optics: would he stand-in for the President confidently and authoritatively? Or would he try to maintain a subdued outlook? The following day was the FEC meeting. As Dr Jonathan entered the council chamber, he was made to sit on the chair of the Vice President—his usual seat.

“As the protocol officer pulled out the VP’s chair, Dr Jonathan marched towards the seat reserved for the President. And he sat on it! That was the moment Dr Goodluck Jonathan took control of power. By that act, he sent a strong signal to all Nigerians that he was now in charge. The same day, Jonathan even reshuffled the cabinet.”

Yar’Adua died on May 5, 2010, and Jonathan was sworn in as his replacement, going on to win the 2011 presidential elections and serving one term in office.

Writing on the need for entrepreneurs to engage with political authorities in one of the chapters of his book, Otedola maintained that such a relationship will benefit the country.

According to him, entrepreneurs’ outreach and dialogue with political leaders, among many positives, will ensure stability and social coherence, guaranteeing economic progress.

He wrote: “While many may see political engagement for entrepreneurs as one-sided—in the sense that only the entrepreneur benefits—the reality is that it could work both ways.

“I tapped into my political connections to contribute my little quota to resolving a power crisis that almost set the country on fire. This example is one of the several instances in which I used my access to the seat of power and political heavyweights to contribute to nation-building and national development. Entrepreneurs need to appreciate the fact that peace for the country is peace for their businesses, too. We need a stable and peaceful country first and foremost.”

Buhari, Jonathan Celebrate Abdulsalami At 79

A combination of file photos of General Abdulsalami Abubakar, President Muhammadu Buhari, and Dr Goodluck Jonathan.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari and former President Goodluck Jonathan have congratulated former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, on his 79th birthday.

In a statement on Sunday by his media aide, Garba Shehu, President Buhari joined family members and friends to celebrate with the leader.

He stated that his legacy of setting the country on the path of democracy and good governance, as well as his passionate pursuit of peace, has continued to yield results.

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The President congratulated General Abubakar for another age and appreciated his patriotism and visionary leadership style of always advocating unity, projecting maturity and wisdom on national discourse, and providing a rallying point for the future of the country.

He noted the goodwill that the former Head of State has attracted to the country, particularly sacrificing his time and resources to reach out to individuals and institutions on the need to work for the growth of Nigeria.

President Buhari prayed that God would increase his wisdom, strength, and give him long life to keep serving the country.

Former President Jonathan, in a goodwill message to General Abubakar, commended him for his efforts and contributions to the peace and unity of the country, as well as his role in promoting democracy and passion for service.

“I am pleased to join your family and friends to celebrate with you on the occasion of your 79th birthday,” he said, adding that the former Head of State “contributed to the peace and unity of Nigeria and many other African nations including Liberia, Niger, Chad, and Sudan.”

“Your role in promoting democracy is underscored by your relentless passion for service and sacrifice.

“Nigerians will continue to honour you for the role you played in our nation’s transition from military to civilian administration, which has flourished for over two decades and produced notable leaders,” the former President said.

Buhari Meets Jonathan Over Mali Crisis

President Muhammadu Buhari greets ex-President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on May 28, 2021.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday received ex-President Goodluck Jonathan over the political crisis in Mali.

Jonathan, who is Special Envoy and ECOWAS mediator to the West African country, briefed the President on the situation in Mali after meeting with the key political actors ahead of the meeting of ECOWAS leaders under the Chairmanship of President Nana Akufo-Addo of the Republic of Ghana.

The ex-President said the meeting of the regional leaders was necessary to urgently find an acceptable solution to the current impasse in the West African nation.

Also present during the briefing are the Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama; Chief of Staff, Professor, Ibrahim Gambari; the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (retired); the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Munguno (rtd).

On his part, President Buhari called on the actors in the political crisis in Mali to come together for the peace and unity of the country.

READ ALSO: Supreme Court Dismisses APC Forgery Suit Against Obaseki

He said, “A situation where most parts of the country are in the hands of insurgents calls for a consensus and restoration of peace, not a further escalation of the crisis.”

Earlier, Jonathan had briefed the President on the current situation in Mali after meeting with the key political actors ahead of the meeting of ECOWAS leaders under the Chairmanship of President Nana Akufo-Addo of the Republic of Ghana.

He added that the meeting of the regional leaders was necessary to urgently find an acceptable solution to the current impasse in the West African nation.

See photos below:

Jonathan Warns Against Taking Sides In Israel, Palestine Conflict

Former President Goodluck Jonathan (File).

 

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has warned the international community against taking sides in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine.

In total, 197 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, including at least 58 children, and more than 1,200 wounded since Israel launched its air campaign against Hamas, a terrorist organisation on May 10 after the group fired rockets. The heaviest exchange of fire in years was sparked by unrest in Jerusalem.

But taking to Twitter on Monday, the ex-President said the conflict can only be resolved when those living within the borders of Israel and Palestine take the time to understand each other until they come to a place where they can coexist, co-prosper, and eventually cooperate.

He also called for peace on both sides, adding that the international community should work towards ensuring a ceasefire.

“I sue for peace in both Israel and Palestine, and urge that every international support should be towards deescalating the conflict, rather than escalating it,” he said.

READ ALSO: ‘Becoming A Governor Made Me Even Poorer,’ Okorocha Denies Corruption Allegation

“The present conflict in that part of the world can never be resolved by nations and institutions taking sides. It can only be resolved by those living within the borders of Israel and Palestine taking time to understand each other until they come to a place where they can coexist, co-prosper and eventually cooperate.

“For that to happen, what is needed, in the immediate term, is a ceasefire, followed by massive confidence building on both sides. That is what the international community should aim for. Peace. It is achievable.”

 

Overnight Sunday to Monday, Israel launched dozens of strikes in the space of a few minutes across the crowded coastal Palestinian enclave controlled by Islamist group Hamas, according to AFP journalists and the army.

Flames lit up the sky as explosions shook Gaza city.

The strikes caused widespread power cuts and damaged hundreds of buildings, local authorities said. No casualties were immediately reported.

Fire and smoke rise above buildings in Gaza City as Israeli warplanes target the Palestinian enclave, early on May 17, 2021.  Anas BABA / AFP

 

West Gaza resident Mad Abed Rabbo, 39, expressed “horror and fear” at the intensity of the onslaught.

“There have never been strikes of this magnitude,” he said.

Israel’s army said in a statement that it hit the homes of nine “high-ranking” Hamas commanders, without providing details on casualties.

The overnight bombardment also included the third round of strikes on what the army calls the “Metro,” its term for a Hamas underground tunnel network.

Fifty-four fighter jets pounded 15 kilometers (nine miles) of tunnels, which the army has previously acknowledged runs in part through civilian areas.

Gazan Mani Qazaat said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “should realise we’re civilians, not fighters”, adding “I felt like I was dying”.

‘Legitimate’

The renewed strikes come a day after 42 Palestinians in Gaza — including at least eight children and two doctors, according to the health ministry — were killed in the worst daily death toll in the enclave since the bombardments began.

In Israel, 10 people, including one child, have been killed and 294 wounded by rocket fire launched by armed groups in Gaza.

Israeli soldiers gather at their position along the border with the Palestinian Gaza Strip on May 16, 2021. JACK GUEZ / AFP

 

Israel’s army said about 3,100 rockets had been fired since last Monday from Gaza — the highest rate ever recorded — but added its Iron Dome anti-missile system had intercepted over 1,000.

Netanyahu said in a televised address Sunday that Israel’s “campaign against the terrorist organisations is continuing with full force” and would “take time” to finish.

The Israeli army said it had targeted the infrastructure of Hamas and armed group Islamic Jihad, weapons factories and storage sites.

Israeli airstrikes also hit the home of Yahya Sinwar, head of Hamas’s political wing in Gaza, the army said, releasing footage of plumes of smoke and intense damage, but without saying if he was killed.

On Saturday, Israel gave journalists from Al Jazeera and AP news agency an hour to evacuate their offices before launching airstrikes, turning their tower block into piles of smoking rubble.

Netanyahu on Sunday said the building also hosted a Palestinian “terrorist” intelligence office.

“It is a perfectly legitimate target,” he said.

Inter-communal clashes

The violence between Hamas and Israel is the worst since 2014 when Israel launched a military operation on the Gaza Strip with the stated aim of ending rocket fire and destroying tunnels used for smuggling.

The war left 2,251 dead on the Palestinian side, mostly civilians, and 74 on the Israeli side, mostly soldiers.

An Israeli army F-15 figher jet flies above the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon after conducting an air strike on the Gaza Strip on May 12, 2021.  JACK GUEZ / AFP

 

Opening the first session of the UN Security Council on the renewed violence on Sunday, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the fighting “utterly appalling”.

“It must stop immediately,” he said.

But the UN talks, already delayed by Israel’s ally the United States, resulted in little action, with Washington opposing a resolution.

President Joe Biden’s administration says it is working behind the scenes, and that a Security Council statement could backfire.

Israel is also trying to contain inter-communal violence between Jews and Arab-Israelis, as well as deadly clashes in the occupied West Bank, where 19 Palestinians have been killed since May 10, according to a toll from Palestinian authorities.

Major clashes broke out at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound — one of Islam’s holiest sites — on May 7 following a crackdown against protests over planned expulsions of Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

Sheikh Jarrah has been at the heart of the flareup, seeing weeks of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces.

On Sunday, a car-ramming attack in Sheikh Jarrah wounded seven police officers, police said, adding that the attacker had been killed.

Police also said “a number of suspects” had been arrested during clashes in another east Jerusalem neighbourhood overnight Sunday to Monday.

Guterres warned the fighting could have far-reaching consequences if not stopped immediately.

“It has the potential to unleash an uncontainable security and humanitarian crisis and to further foster extremism, not only in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel but in the region as a whole.”

‘Ballot Not Courts Should Decide Election Winners’, Jonathan Pushes For Reforms

 

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has advocated the need for legislation that will prevent the courts from declaring a winner in an election.

Speaking with journalists on Monday in Abuja, Jonathan insisted that the situation where the judiciary is allowed to declare winners in an election, because of electoral fraud should not be abhorred, as it is undemocratic.

He explained that the ballot papers should be the only means of choosing political leaders, adding that when a politician or the electoral system is found wanting, the courts should only be made to order for a re-run and not to declare a winner.

“Ballot papers should be the basis of selecting political officeholders. If it is the judiciary that should select them then we are not yet there,” Jonathan said.

“I am not saying the judiciary is not doing well but our laws should suppress the idea of our judiciary returning candidates. The ballots should decide who occupies the councillorship seat up to the presidency; that is democracy.”

A photo combination of former President Goodluck Jonathan and a ballot box.

 

While lamenting a situation whereby politicians use gifts to sway voters during the electoral process, the ex-President called for punitive measures against those who indulged in the unwholesome act.

READ ALSO: Criminals Are Feeling Heat Of NIN-SIM Verification Exercise – Pantami

He noted that in Nigeria where politicians induced voters with money and foodstuff on election day, such action is a criminal offence in other African countries.

“The problem we have in Nigeria is the use of money to induce some voters. Compared to other African countries, we spend too much money here. Probably, we need to review our laws because I have observed a number of elections in African countries.

“Here, if somebody is contesting elections, you buy bags of rice, wrappers, and all manner of items to induce the electorates. Ordinarily, our electoral laws are supposed to frown on such practices.

“If you do that, you are supposed to be disqualified from contesting in the election. So these are the things that make our elections expensive. I think if the young people are willing, things should begin to change.

“For instance in Tanzania, a candidate does not need to print his name on matchbox or any items to woo voters. If you do that, they say that you are inducing the electorates. It is against their laws,” he added.

People Deserted Me After Election Loss, Says Jonathan

Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan speaks during the commissioning of a 6.2km road project in Bauchi State on April 6.

 

Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan has lamented how people deserted him soon after his election loss to President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.

Speaking during the commissioning of a 6.2km road project in Bauchi, Jonathan said people who were always by his side gave the impression that they couldn’t even eat without seeing him were quick to abandon him.

“At least I have been in government for a reasonable time and I have served at quite a number of levels starting from deputy governor and most of my experience is that after leaving office some of the people you think that when they don’t see u they will not eat will just forget that you even exist. But Senator Bala, the governor of Bauchi State is a good brother,” he said.

READ ALSO: APC Governors Visit Zamfara, Donate N50m To Market Fire Victims

The ex-President also commended some few people for remembering and staying in touch, including Governor Mohammed.

He added, “I am very pleased that he invited me to commission the first major project he has completed, that’s a big honour. And not only inviting me, he immortalised me by naming the road after me as Goodluck Jonathan road.”

The former President also thanked the people of Bauchi for the warm reception.

Jonathan was also was conferred a traditional title of the ‘Jigon Bauchi’, which means “The Backbone of Bauchi” by the Bauchi Emirate Council.

It is his first visit to Bauchi since he lost election in 2019.

PDP Leaders Meet With Goodluck Jonathan In Abuja

A file photo of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

 

Members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Reconciliation Committee, led by former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Tuesday, met with former President Goodluck Jonathan at his residence in Maitama Abuja.

Former governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim Dankwambo, former Secretary to the Federal Government, Senator Pius Ayim, former governor of Cross River, Senator Liyel Imoke, former House leader Mulukat Adeola-Akande and former governor of Katsina State, Ibrahim Shema were all in attendance.

Held behind closed doors, the meeting’s purpose was unknown as of Tuesday morning, but it may not be unconnected to the 2023 elections.

READ ALSO: Makinde Denies Dumping PDP

The Saraki-led Reconciliation Committee was inaugurated after the 2019 general election, to help the party reconcile aggrieved members, including those who left the party, and as well woo new members for the party.

The PDP recently lost a prominent member to the ruling party when the governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi defected to the APC.

Since then, there have been several claims by the ruling party that more governors from the PDP are on their way to join them, claims that the PDP National Working Committee has refuted.

US Crisis: Better To Lose Power Than Disrupt Peace, Says Jonathan

Former President, Goodluck Jonathan

 

Former President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday said leaders across the world should look out not just for their own interests, but also that of the society.

Jonathan’s comment comes as protesters, instigated by President Donald Trump, invaded the US Capitol in an attempt to block the transfer of power to Democrat Joe Biden.

Famous for conceding a bitterly-contested election in 2014, Jonathan said the purpose of leadership was to bring people together, not divide them.

READ ALSO: Facebook And Twitter Block Trump’s Account For Breaking Rules

“I have repeatedly said nobody’s political ambition is worth the blood of any citizen, in any part of the world,” he said. “Absolutely nobody.”

He added: “Again, I reiterate that it is better to lose power at the cost of gaining peace, than to gain power at the price of losing the peace.

“As a leader, one must not just look unto one’s own interest, but the interest and the good of society.

“It is never too late to reject the venom and inject the serum of peace. It is necessary to state that the highest purpose of leadership is to bring people together, even those that do not share in your philosophy.

“And you do not need an office to do that. All you need to achieve that height of leadership is conscience. Let us be men of conscience at this hour.”

At Christmas, The World Needs Love – Goodluck Jonathan

A file photo of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

 

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has highlighted the importance of love as the world battles to overcome the coronavirus pandemic.

In his Christmas message on Friday, he appealed to the people to imbibe the spirit of the yuletide season to heal all that is broken in various countries across the world.

Jonathan noted that December 25, in the calendar of Christianity, signified the day to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

According to him, it is a celebration that connects the world to love, selflessness, sacrifice, and solidarity – the virtues that Christ clearly propagated.

The former president believes Jesus Christ’s message of salvation speaks to the essence of both spiritual deliverance and earthly redemption.

He described it as a constant reminder that humanity would have a more peaceful existence if people of the world should rededicate themselves to friendship, kindness, and compassion.

Jonathan stated that people have been through a lot in 2020, especially navigating the traps of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

He wished Nigerians and others across the world merry Christmas.

Read the full text of the former president’s Christmas message below:

COMPLIMENTS OF THE SEASON

Christmas is the day, in the calendar of Christendom, that marks the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

It is a commemoration that connects the world to love, selflessness, sacrifice, and solidarity; which are the virtues that Christ unambiguously propagated.

Jesus’ message of salvation speaks to the essence of both spiritual deliverance and earthly redemption.

It is a constant reminder that humanity will have a more peaceful existence if people of the world rededicate themselves to friendship, kindness, and compassion.

People have been through so much in 2020, including navigating the snares of the deadly novel Covid19 pandemic.

At Christmas the world needs love. This is the spirit we have to imbibe to heal all that is broken in our world.

Merry Christmas to all our compatriots and the rest of humanity.

– GEJ

I Was Never Under Pressure To Sack Ex-Army Chief, Ihejirika – Jonathan

Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan speaks during a book launch in Abuja on December 15, 2020.

 

Former President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday said he was not under any pressure to sack the former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Azubuike Ihejirika from office.

Speaking during a book launch in his honour in Abuja, Jonathan said some people thought he sacked the general due to some pressure from the north.

“He mentioned my removing the Chief of Army Staff, General Ihejirika and said that because there was so much pressure on me from the north, it was not pressured,” Jonathan said.

“If somebody is doing what is right, even if you want to hit my head. And split my head, I will not (sack the person).”

READ ALSO: FG Approves Five-Year Plan To Reduce Hunger

Also speaking during the launch, a former lawmaker representing Kogi-West senatorial district in the National Assembly, Senator Dino Melaye tendered a public apology to Jonathan for campaigning against him in the run-up to the 2015 general elections.

To the ex-lawmaker, his apology is borne out of what he described as the state of the Nigerian nation, coupled with what the ex-President achieved while in office.

“Having seen what he did as President and the sorry state of our country today, I want to publicly say ‘once I was blind, now I can see.’ On behalf of all of us who shot blindly, we are sorry, very very sorry,” he said.

On his part, Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, commended the ex-President for conceding defeat in the 2015 general elections.

He also hailed Jonathan for his administration’s efforts in the Almajiri system of education in the north.