Former President Goodluck Jonathan has met with some members of his cabinet in a bid to defend his integrity.
He was said to have told the former ministers that he was “not a thief in office as being portrayed”.He explained how he met President Muhammadu Buhari for 20 minutes on two issues.
*advising Buhari against subjecting his person and former cabinet members to “media trial” on alleged corruption and;
*.why the Election Petition Tribunals in Rivers and Akwa Ibom should be allowed to work unhindered.
He deplored what he called the involvement of the Department of State Security Service(DSS) on election-related matters in the two states. According to sources, the meeting was held at Jonathan’s Abuja home a few days ago. It was gathered that about 15 former ministers (including two who were recalled from London) and some former security chiefs attended.
One of the former media aides in the Presidency attended the “strictly private” session to put issues in the correct perspective at the right time.
But the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, who is central to the allegations against Jonathan, was absent. A source, who spoke in confidence, said the session was “a frank and fact-finding” against the backdrop of plans by the Buhari administration to probe Jonathan’s tenure.
The source said: “The ex-President confided in the meeting that he was worried that the gains of his administration were being washed away daily by the allegations of corruption being reeled out by the government. “He said he called the session to set the records straight and get facts because his administration was not enjoying any benefit of doubt among Nigerians, especially the media. “At a point, Jonathan, in an emotional manner told the meeting that ‘I am not a thief in office as being portrayed.
”Another source said the former President asked all the ex-ministers to “brace for the probe ahead and keep their records intact to reply Buhari’s administration on issues being raised. “The ex-ministers unanimously agreed that there were better sides of Jonathan’s administration than being painted as a tenure of graft. “The key ministries, such as Works, Finance, Health, Aviation, Education and even Petroleum Resources were mandated to produce lists of achievements.
“Some of the ex-ministers lamented that the Permanent Secretaries proving to Buhari as holier-than-thou were part of the Jonathan administration and they even made input into the handover notes.
”Responding to a question, the source said: “Jonathan and the ex-ministers admitted that the administration might have some issues to clear in the management of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources. “But they said the situation was not as bad in the oil sector as being alleged.
”A third source said: “I think we should expect some fireworks in the next few days. The meeting resolved to reach out to the public in the same equal weight the allegations of corruption will be released by the Buhari administration.
“But there was a word of caution that any response must not be abusive. The President personally appointed a former Minister of National Planning, Dr. Abubakar Suleiman, to sign any statement on cabinet issues.
It was learnt that some of the ex-Ministers asked Jonathan what he actually discussed with Buhari.“The President said he raised two issues with President Buhari within 20 minutes. This border on the need to avoid media trial on any allegation of corruption being looked into.
He said he told Buhari that his image and members of his cabinet were being dragged in the mud. He said even in law, an accused person is deemed innocent until proven guilty. “Jonathan also said he asked Buhari to leave the Election Petition Tribunals in Rivers and Akwa Ibom states to do their work instead of the hounding of some INEC officials and politicians by DSS.”