“On a Platter of Gold: How Jonathan Won and Lost Nigeria,” a book written by All Progressive Congress (APC) spokesman, Mallam Bolaji Abdulahi is tissues of lies, former Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on New Media, Reno Omokri, has observed.
Picking holes in the book in a statement he issued on Thursday, he identified specific claims which he said are not tenable as they could not have happened the way the author presented them.
While noting that he had previously described the book as tissues of lies, he faulted the former minister of sports’ claim of relying on anonymous sources.
The former presidential aide said: “Two months ago when I got details of the contents of the book by the National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressive Congress, Bolaji Abdullahi, I described him as a liar and his book as a tissue of lies meant to defame former President Jonathan as the 2019 elections draw near and the yearning for a return to the years when the Peoples Democratic Party governed Nigeria reaches fever pitch.
“Now that the book is out, I can prove those claims and challenge Mr. Abdullahi to sue me in court for libel or defamation if I have lied.
“In Bolaji Abdullahi’s new book, ‘On a Platter of Gold: How Jonathan Won and Lost Nigeria’, he alleges that former President Jonathan, after calling to concede to then-candidate Muhammadu Buhari, reneged on his concession by calling a meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party elite at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, with the sole aim of getting the party to reject the results of the election he had conceded.
“In the book, Mr. Abdullahi revealed that he was basing this claim on the hearsay report of an unnamed SouthSouth Governor, and wrote, and I quote: ‘One South-South governor disclosed that this banquet hall meeting was not the president’s original idea. He said soon after the president made the telephone call to Buhari, some governors had gone to him to express their reservations about it. They felt he had conceded too cheaply. Their argument was that if the president and the party had rejected the outcome of the election, they would have gained a stronger platform to negotiate their exit.’
He quoted further quoted the book: ‘Present at the meeting were Vice President, Namadi Sambo; Senate President David Mark and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu; as well as Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, who had also just contested and lost the governorship election in Imo State and was challenging the results. Others included: the People’s Democratic Party Board of Trustees Chairman, Tony Anenih; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim; Governor of Cross River State, Liyel Imoke; Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, and former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi. All members of PDP National Working Committee (NWC) were also present, led by the party chairman, Adamu Mu’azu. The meeting was chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan.”
“In the book, Mr. Abdullahi revealed that this meeting held ‘four days’ after the election on a Tuesday Evening.
“Nigerians would remember that the 2015 Presidential elections held on March 28, 2015. It would further be recalled that former President Jonathan called then-candidate Buhari to concede the election at precisely 5: 15 PM on Tuesday, March 31, 2015. This timeline was also verified by the camp of the then-candidate Buhari in a statement to the BBC’s Mansur Ali.
“If, as Mr. Abdullahi claims, former President Jonathan called the so-called meeting to renege on his concession on Tuesday the 31st of March, 2015, it would mean that Jonathan called the meeting only 45 minutes after he conceded. Because he conceded at 5:15 p.m. on March 31st, 2015 and Mr. Abdullahi claimed the meeting held at 6:00 p.m. on March 31st, 2015.
“How would it have been possible to call each participant and summon governors, Senators, Representatives, members of the PDP BoT and “all members of PDP National Working Committee (NWC)” who were at different parts of the country and have all of them gather at the State House in just 45 minutes?
“Mind you, former President Jonathan conceded while the results were still being counted and long before they were even announced. It was not even public knowledge that President Jonathan had conceded.”
Picking more holes in the book, Omokri quoted Abdullahi further:
‘By 6:00 p.m., all the President’s men and party bigwigs began to gather at the banquet hall of the Presidential Villa. Many had rushed back to Abuja for the meeting, anxious to know the next line of action. They had all heard the audio of the phone call, but opinions were sharply divided on whether the president had thrown in the tow.’
He wondered: “But how could this be true when the audio of the call had not yet been leaked and published by the British Broadcasting Corporation? The audio was leaked (probably by the Buhari camp) and published on April 2, 2015, two clear days after the ‘meeting’ described by Mr. Abdullahi.
“Also, according to Mr. Abdullahi, present at the meeting was ‘Emeka Ihedioha, who had just contested and lost the governorship election in Imo State and was challenging the results.’
“How could this have been possible when the gubernatorial elections did not hold until April 11, 2015, 11 clear days AFTER this purported meeting?
“Can Mr. Abdullahi explain this? Did Emeka Ihedioha travel to the future in a time machine and return to the past with a prophecy?
“You see, no matter how far and fast falsehood has traveled, it must eventually be overtaken by the truth.
“The fact remains that it is doubtful that any SouthSouth Governor could have told Mr. Abdullahi such tales and even if he had been fed such fantastic stories, then the onus was on Mr. Abdullahi as a journalist to verify any hearsay or gossip he heard before rushing to the press to embarrass himself.
“In conclusion, Bolaji Abdullahi’s book is as Shakespeare described in Scene 5, Act 5 of his play ‘Macbeth’. It is “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”.
“Ironically, Macbeth is a play about the political ambition of those who seek power for its own sake. What a fitting description of Mr. Abdullahi and his puppet masters in the APC.”