Dr. Jonathan in response via a statement signed by his media aide, Ikechukwu Eze on Wednesday, questioned Oshiomhole’s state of mind even as he quoted the former Edo state governor for lauding his (Jonathan) democratic credentials when he won his reelection bid a few years ago on the platform of an opposition party.
“It may be that Mr. Oshiomhole’s false accusations against Dr. Jonathan stem from his own guilty conscience arising from the unenviable behaviour he exhibited during the September 2016 gubernatorial election in his state, when his bid to anoint his successor pushed him into desperate measures and a win-at-all-cost mentality that introduced flagrant vote merchandising in our polity, thereby making Edo state the clear starting point of that cankerworm. “We really do not know the real reason for this misleading falsehood, at this point in time.
However, we can only guess that Mr. Oshiomhole who is currently operating under tremendous stress in the bid to steady the already floundering ship of his administration as the new leader of his party, may have got himself entangled in a voyage of tactless desperation,” the statement read in part.
The statement added that “While in Office as President between 2010 and 2015, Jonathan conducted many elections including the 2011 and 2015 general elections, and many off-season gubernatorial and parliamentary elections in some states like Anambra, Ekiti, Ondo and Edo; and not for once did the issue of vote buying come up in the assessment of those elections. “It is instructive that in each case, the former President was given a clean bill, with both local and international observers commending him for having supervised a credible and transparent process.
“One of those who gave the former President a clean bill of health, was Mr. Oshiomhole who on July 16, 2012 said, ‘What the Edo election has confirmed is that when the President and Commander-in-Chief puts the country first and he conducts himself as a statesman not just as a party leader, credible elections are possible.’ ” That said, Jonathan said it is hardly surprising that the APC boss would turn the heat against him having earlier eulogised his conduct, stressing that only recently he praised his party men to high heavens only to tore them to shreds upon their defection to another party. The statement continued, “His recent flip-flops where he praised Governor Samuel Ortom and Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso one day only to denounce them the very next day, is enough evidence of his fragile psychological state.
“On the vexatious issue of ‘vote-buying’ which has unfortunately found its way into our election lexicon, this is what we know: It is obvious that the shameful development in our democratic experience became very glaring during the 2016 gubernatorial election in Edo State; an exercise that took place more than one year after President Jonathan had left office.” The former President counselled the Muhammadu Buhari administration to focus on delivering democratic dividends to the people, saying ,”A Government that continues to blame its predecessor rather than show its scorecard, less than one year to the end of its four-year tenure, is only giving the impression that it is already at its wit’s end.