Former President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday said he was wrongly judged by some officials of the current administration who tagged him and some members of his former cabinet as corrupt. He, however, insisted that he does not hold any grudge against his detractors for their harsh criticisms.
It would be recalled that the ex-President was widely criticized, before the election in 2015, for his approach to alleged corruption in his administration, the perennial problem of insecurity, and the sacking of some top government functionaries within his administration including the former Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, ex-Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, among other.
Speaking in Abuja during the public presentation of a book ‘Dear President Goodluck Jonathan’ written in his honor by Bonaventure Melah, a former Managing Editor of Daily Times, Jonathan said he was judged unfavorably by political leaders who wanted to take power at all cost.
He said much of the criticisms he faced were because of his deep interest in education which was perceived by his political enemies as misplaced at the time.
“That is the problem myself and some members of my cabinet are still suffering since the beginning of this administration when we were all tagged corrupt people,” he said.
“But I thank God that people can come together to celebrate me today. It is God. Otherwise, I would have been completely buried (politically).”
“My interest was to change society through education. No matter what we do to elevate Nigeria without education, society would find it difficult to change. That was my personal view.
“That was also why I intervened in the Almajirai case. We needed to elevate them above that level, because of the many social problems they were causing,
“I strongly believe that if there must be a change in Nigeria, we must be competent scientifically and technologically, because technology rules the world today,” he explained.
On the controversial sack of some top functionaries in his administration, Jonathan said: “When a president or a governor sacks a person. Sometimes, what society thinks could be the reason for that decision may be very different from reality.
“There were insinuations that I sacked Ihejirika because of pressures from the North. Far from it! If somebody is doing the right thing, even if you want to split your head, I would not sack the person.
“When my close political allies, advised me to sacrifice Arunma Oteh so that I don’t have problems with the House of Representatives. I said I won’t sacrifice any Nigerian just for me to be in the good books of the lawmakers. Rather, I would sacrifice myself. I took that decision because I was convinced she was not corrupt. If I had sacked her undeservedly that may have been the end of her career with the World Bank.”
The former President further regretted that he and some members of his cabinet were wrongly tagged as corrupt at the dawn of the current administration. He, however, noted that such perceptions about him were gradually changing for the better.