Nigeria’s immediate past president, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, has responded to the Federal Governments allegation that he acted corruptly and may have received bribes in the ever brewing Malabu Oil scandal, saying such claims are “recycled falsehood that is blatantly dishonest, cheap, and predictable.”
In the statement released by the former President’s aide, Ikechukwu Eze Saturday evening, Jonathan stated that although there is nothing new in the “fabricated bribery claim” which he had debunked in the past, he will continue to restate the facts.
“Former President Goodluck Jonathan did not ask for or collect any bribes, neither has he been charged for asking or collecting bribes, neither will he ever be charged with asking for or collecting bribes, because such never happened,” the statement read in part.
He argued that this particular dispute predated the Jonathan administration and survives it, adding that Mr Jonathan is a 61-year-old who, throughout his life, has never opened an account, nor owned property outside Nigeria.
“The fact remains that as recent national events continue to vindicate former President Jonathan, and as the world continues to celebrate him, those who are insecure will feed such propaganda to their media agents to feed their inferiority complex,” the statement said.
“In fact, we expected something like this ever since it was announced that former President Jonathan would lead the Election Observation Mission of the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa to South Africa’s national and provincial elections.
“We are well aware that this claim was intentioned to eclipse the goodwill and positive reports of former President Jonathan’s diligent engagement in South Africa’s national and provisional elections.
“The fact that most major media houses in the country refused to republish this falsehood bears out our conviction that Nigerians can no longer be deceived by hollow and diversionary claims of corruption, in the face of worsening state of affairs in the country.”
Mr Eze said that beyond the “wave of conjecture”, former President Jonathan was not linked, indicted or charged for collecting any monies as kickbacks or bribes from ENI by the Italian authorities or any other law enforcement body the world over.
Rather than reacting specifically to why Mr Jonathan authorised his ministers to sign the deal and transfer such funds to an ex-convict, Mr Etete, Mr Eze said: “It bears repeating that the documents relating to the transactions and decisions of the Federal Government on the Malabu issue, during the Jonathan administration, are in the relevant government offices, where they are accessible.
“We would like to point out that all the actions taken by the Jonathan administration in relation to activities in the oil industry were legally conducted by relevant Nigerian government officials and were carried out in the best interest of the country.
“Finally, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, we will like to point out that whether in office or out of office, former President Jonathan still does not own any bank account, business or real estate outside Nigeria. It, therefore, beggars belief that so much useful energy is channelled by dark forces into this futile bid to bring down a man whose political ambition was not and still is not worth the blood of any citizen.”
The controversial Malabu scandal involves the transfer of about $1.1 billion by oil multinationals, Shell and ENI, through the Nigerian government to accounts controlled by a former Nigerian oil minister, Dan Etete.
Prosecutors alleged that half the money ($520 million) went to the accounts of companies jointly controlled by Abubakar Aliyu, popularly known in Nigeria as the owner of AA oil, and Mr Etete. Anti-corruption investigators and activists suspect Mr Aliyu fronted for top officials of Mr Jonathan’s administration, as well of officials of Shell and ENI.
The transaction was authorised in 2011 by Mr Jonathan through some of his cabinet ministers, and the money was payment for the block, considered one of Nigeria’s most lucrative. Although Shell and ENI initially claimed they did not know the money would end up with Mr Etete and his cronies, evidence has shown that claim to be false.
Shell later admitted it did know the money would go to Mr Etete. Shell, Eni, Mr Etete, Mr Aliyu and several officials of the oil firms are being prosecuted in Italy for their roles in the scandal.
Jonathan is not under any probe on the matter.
Adeleke Wins As Court Strikes Out Ineligibility Suit
Justice Obiora Egwuatu of a Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday struck out a suit seeking nullification of submission of name of Ademola Jackson Nurudeen Adeleke as the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party in the recent July 16 election.
The judge struck down the suit on the ground that the plaintiff lacked locus standi to institute the case.
The plaintiff in the suit, Awoyemi Oluwatayo Lukman had dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission, PDP and Adeleke before the court seeking order to void and set aside the submission of Adeleke’s name to INEC on ground of alleged unlawful action.
The grouse of the plaintiff was that Adeleke’s name was hurriedly submitted by PDP on March 11 as against between March 14 to 18 as contained in the INEC guidelines.
Adeleke’s name having not been submitted within the period fixed by INEC, the plaintiff asked the court to declare the submission, illegal, unlawful, null and void and be set aside.
He claimed that INEC must be bound by its official guidelines and that anything done outside the guidelines is against the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022.
However, in his judgment, Justice Obiora Egwuatu struck out the suit on the ground that the said Awoyemi Oluwatayo Lukman lacked locus standi to have instituted the case.
Falconets Beat Canada 3-1, Set to Meet Holland in Quarter Final
Nigeria’s U-20 girls, Falconets, set a World Cup group stage perfect record for themselves after beating Canada 3-1 in Alajuela on Thursday morning to finish with a perfect nine points out of nine in Group C.
Head Coach, Chris Musa, said before the encounter that his girls would seek to win even as a quarter-final ticket was already in the bag, in order to sustain their winning mentality following hard-fought victories over France and Korea Republic.
That was exactly what the Falconets did.
Africa’s best team conceded their first goal of the competition in an accidental manner, following goalkeeper Omini Oyono’s poor management of a backpass from Jumoke Alani that granted Kala Novak a fortuitous goal in less than two minutes.
“It was great for us to come back from that setback, and also conceding first in the tournament. We showed character and spirit, and that would be huge for us going forward in the competition,” Musa said after the match.
Midfield impresario Esther Onyenezide, whose vicious curling shot earned all three points against Korea Republic to send the Falconets into the last eight on Monday morning, scored from the penalty spot in the 24th minute to pull the Falconets level. Defender Mia Pante had handled the ball from a Blessing Okpe shot in the box.
The Falconets looked composed and surefooted in the middle with the return of Deborah Abiodun, who sat out the encounter with the Koreans, and Chiamaka Okwuchukwu also played an inspired game after starting for the first time in the tournament. Her firm header from a Blessing Okpe cross in the 15th minute missed narrowly.
Onyenezide shot Nigeria ahead, also from the spot, in the 32nd minute minute, after Simi Awujo’s dangerous play against Mercy Idoko, as the latter went for a header from Rofiat Imuran’s inswinger, was penalised.
In the added time of first period, Idoko came close to scoring her first goal of the tournament, but her touch from another Imuran inswinger kissed the upright.
In the second half, the Falconets added pace and brilliant use of space to their game, and it was no surprise when Imuran, again with a visionary cross, set up substitute Chioma Olise for Nigeria’s third goal.
Their imperial campaign in the group stage earns the Falconets a quarter-final date with the Netherlands in Alajuela as from 1am on Monday (Nigeria time).
Supporters Throng Obasanjo’s Residence As Tinubu Visits Former President
Scores of supporters of the All Progressives Congress in Ogun State, Wednesday, stormed the residence of former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, in Abeokuta as the presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Tinubu visited the former President.
Tinubu arrived at the Penthouse of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Oke- Mosan, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, in his chopper at about 1:09pm in company of some party leaders.
He was received by Governor Dapo Abiodun, former Governor Gbenga Daniel, his predecessor, Segun Osoba, and other Ogun State government functionaries.
They have all gone into a meeting with the president.
The meeting was believed to be in connection with ambition of Tinubu in the coming elections.
Our correspondent reports that the duo had not been seen together since 2015 when he escorted the then APC candidate, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to Obasanjo’s residence.
He was also at the 78th birthday of the former President held at Abeokuta in March, 2015.
The two of them have since kept their distances as Obasanjo withdrew his support for Buhari and the APC, which he supported to power by tearing his card as a member of the Peoples Democratic Party.