The Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, has described former President Goodluck Jonathan as a decent but clueless and unsophisticated politician.
Shettima stated this on Thursday, Nov. 30, in Abuja at the public presentation and launch of ‘On A Platter Of Gold: How Jonathan Won and Lost Nigeria’, a book written by Bolaji Abdullahi, the National Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
At the event, Shettima, who was the Father of the Day, disclosed that Jonathan wanted to remove him as governor and berated the immediate past president over his initial nonchalance during the early days of the abduction of Chibok school girls.
He said that the president was made to believe that he (Shettima) was the problem of his administration for allegedly kidnapping the Chibok girls.
According to the Governor, it took the intervention of a former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Bello Adoke and the former president’s Minister of Special Duties to convince Jonathan that no provisions in the Nigerian constitution backed him despite past precedents. Hear him:
“Sadly, Borno was the epicentre of the crisis that engulfed the Jonathan administration. This is the second book I am reading on the Jonathan saga. President Jonathan is essentially a decent person, an unsophisticated country politician caught up in the vortex of power politics in Nigeria. 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 story.
“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’… But we have to give it to him, that by conceding defeat, he saved the nation from the precipice.
“There was a time he wanted to remove me at all costs. In the Federal Executive Council, 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 other Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, 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.”
Shettima, who described Jonathan as an honest man, said it was the people the former president surrounded himself with that made his government fail.
“Comparing (former President Olusegun) Obasanjo and the people he worked with and those Jonathan worked with, you will understand why.
“If you look at Obasanjo, hate him or love him, you have to respect Obasanjo for not only believing in the Nigerian project, but for surrounding himself with men of quality.
“If you mention Obasanjo, the names that readily 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 have the capacity to add value to the system.
“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,” Shettima said.
The Governor also dismissed the clamour for restructuring, saying “To hell with restructuring.”
According to the governor, if jobs are provided and other sectors of the economy, especially the education sector is developed, “this madness”, referring to restructuring, “will stop.”
“People are talking about artificial intelligence, other nations are talking about nanotechnology or robotics engineering but unfortunately, the topical issue in Nigeria is restructuring. Restructuring my foot! To hell with restructuring.
“Let us improve on governance, let us work for the people, invest in education, create jobs for our people, this madness will stop,” the governor said.