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Jonathan Was Held Hostage While In Office – Soyinka

Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, has said former President Goodluck Jonathan was caged by some powerful forces while in power and therefore was not aware of some of things going on around him.

In a damning assessment of Mr. Jonathan’s tenure, Mr. Soyinka said the former president, who left office in May following his defeat by the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari, in the March 28 presidential poll, did not know that the nation had been compromised so badly under him until he (Soyinka) brought some issues to his notice.

Mr. Soyinka, a professor, spoke in an interview with the current edition Zero Tolerance magazine, a publication of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

“Correct,” he affirmed when asked if the former president was caged. “There were forces around Jonathan, which he himself did not understand and that is why I stressed that you’ve got to choose your circles of advisers very carefully, when you are in charge. He was caged; things were going on that he did not know about.”

Mr. Soyinka, who said he visited Mr. Jonathan twice just before he vacated office, said on one occasion he asked the former president what he was doing to curtail his wife, Patience, who during the presidential campaign was indulging in hate speech. He refused to disclose his (Jonathan) response.

According to him, “On a lighter note, I asked him, ‘what are you doing about madam’ because that one seems to be embarrassing the nation as usual because that seems to be her function as so called first lady. You go to a section of the country and tell your supporters to stone those who campaign for change and you insult another part of the nation by calling them those who produce children that they cannot look after. That woman should be charge for incitement chaos. It is incredible that she is allowed to run loose.”

Asked what Mr. Jonathan’s reply was, the Nobel Laureate said, “I am not going to tell his response (laughs….) But I am free to tell you what I said. It will be an abuse of privilege if I tell you his response.”

Buttressing his clam that Mr. Jonathan was oblivious of some happenings around him while in office, Mr. Soyinka recalled the telephone saga with the king of Morocco, stating that he was the one that told the president about it when they met.

He said, “I will tell you one interesting aspect of what we discussed. I will reveal to you that Jonathan did not know that the nation had been compromised so badly in this telephone thing with the King of Morocco. I was the one who told him when we met over an issue and I said to him, ‘by the way, how is the king of Morocco? Jonathan didn’t know what I was talking about.

“When I mentioned the telephone issue, he thought I was talking about is campaign for AfDB managing director for which he was lobbying other heads of states. He said ‘I haven’t spoken to him in a long time’, and I said, ‘no, you spoke to him a few days ago.’ He said, ‘no, I intend to speak with him. I even asked my foreign ministry to link me up with him because I am campaigning for a candidate but I haven’t spoken to the king of Morocco.’ Then I said to him, ‘you better go and read the newspapers of last week.’ And I can tell you he did not know.”
Continuing, Mr. Soyinka lamented, “So you can imagine that the president did not know that a scandal had developed that involved a withdrawal of an ambassador!

“And again, I am revealing this to you since this interview won’t be published till after the elections because I wouldn’t want to be seen as campaigning for or against any one side. It shows how in deep trouble governance can be; governance can dig itself into a huge hole and not even know it’s in there. The statement that was issued was issued the night when I met him.”

Mr. Soyinka came down hard on Mr. Jonathan when asked about the criticisms that trailed his administration that it was not fighting corruption.

“This is what we are talking about. How can a public figure, an intelligent person like that come out to tell the public that corruption is not stealing,” Mr. Soyinka said. As president, you’ve got to show some example …Why should a president involve himself in what is already structurally established and dedicated to that purpose?”

Mr. Soyinka also said he maintained a cordial relationship with Mr. Jonathan during his tenure despite some attacks he felt compelled to launch on the former Nigerian leader and his wife.

According to him, at some point, Mr. Jonathan who ruled the country between 2010 and 2015 was tending towards fascism.“No. It was never anything personal,” when asked why he withdrew his support from the former president. “We marched in order to protect the constitution, not the person of Jonathan. We retained a cordial relationship during his tenure. However despite some attacks I felt compelled to launch on him – and his wife.

Jonathan committed some truly alarming errors of governance. He was propelling himself towards outright fascism.”
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