Abuja - President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday described the open letter,
written to him by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, as "a threat to
national unity and an attempt to promote ethnic disunity."
Jonathan’s position is contained in his much awaited reply to
Obasanjo’s letter, which was made available to journalists in Abuja.
Jonathan said the letter, dated December 20 and titled "Re: Before it is too
late," was a deliberate and
calculated attempt to discredit him and his administration.
Jonathan said that he was compelled to reply the letter because of
some reasons, which included the weighty allegations the letter
"Your letter conveys to me the feeling that landmines have been laid
for me. Therefore, Nigerians need to have my response to the issues
raised before the mines explode.
"The purpose and direction of your letter is distinctly ominous, and
before it is too late, my clarifications on the issues need to be
placed on record.
"Your letter was designed to incite Nigerians from other
geopolitical zones against me and also calculated to promote ethnic
"Worse still, your letter was designed to instigate members of our party, the PDP, against me.
"One of the reasons why my reply is inevitable is that you have
written similar letters and made public comments in reference to all
former presidents and heads of government, starting from Alhaji Shehu
Shagari, and these have instigated different actions
Denying the allegations levelled against him in the letter, Jonathan
said that his administration had worked assiduously to curtail the wave
of insecurity in some parts of the country.
Jonathan also criticised Obasanjo for the way he handled security
challenges, arguing that his administration had done better in
addressing the security situation in the country, citing the military
invasion of Odi in Bayelsa during Obasanjo’s administration
as an illustration.
He also cited the failure of the former president to unravel the
mystery surrounding the "serial political killings during his
"I assure you that I am fully aware of the responsibility of
government in ensuring the security of the lives and property of the
"My administration is working assiduously to overcome the current
national security challenges, the seeds of which were sown under
"There have been some setbacks; but certainly there have also been
great successes in our efforts to overcome terrorism and insurgency.
"Those who continue to downplay our successes in this regard,
amongst whom you must now be numbered, appear to have conveniently
forgotten the depths to which security in our country had plunged before
now," he said.
Jonathan also refuted the allegation by Obasanjo that 1,000 Nigerians were under the watch-list of his administration.
He challenged the former president to make public the names of such persons on the list.
Besides, Jonathan similarly denied the allegation by Obasanjo that
his administration was training snipers for political killings
"The allegation of training snipers to assassinate political opponents is particularly incomprehensible to me.
"Since I started my political career as a deputy governor, I have never been associated with any form of political violence.
"I have been a president for over three years now, with a lot of challenges and opposition mainly from the high and mighty.
"There have certainly been cases of political assassination since
the advent of our Fourth Republic but as you well know, none of them
occurred under my leadership," he said.
Jonathan stressed that his administration had maintained
zero-tolerance to corruption, contrary to the position of Obasanjo in
"The seed of corruption in this country was planted a long time ago,
but we are doing all that we can to drastically reduce its debilitating
effects on national development and progress.
"I have been strengthening the institutions established to fight
corruption. I will not shield any government official or private
individual involved in corruption, but I must follow due process in all
that I do.
"And whenever clear cases of corruption or fraud have been
established, my administration has always taken prompt action in keeping
with the dictates of extant laws and procedures," he said.
Besides, the president exonerated himself from the crisis which engulfed the ruling PDP, blaming Obasanjo and others for it.
"It is indeed very unfortunate that the seeming crisis in the party
was instigated by a few senior members of the party, including you.
"It is very regrettable that in your letter, you seem to have placed
sole responsibility for the ongoing intrigues and tensions in the PDP
at my doorstep.
"Baba, let us all be truthful to ourselves, God and posterity.
"At the heart of all the current troubles in our party and the
larger polity is the unbridled jostling and positioning for personal or
group advantages, ahead of the 2015 general elections.
"The 'bitterness, anger, mistrust, fear and deep suspicion' you wrote about all flow from this singular factor."
Jonathan pledged that he would continue to do his best to unite the PDP and make it stronger.
He also denied Obasanjo’s allegation that he (Jonathan) sent some
African heads of state to him over his purported 2015 ambition.
"Your allegation that I asked half a dozen African presidents to
speak to you about my alleged ambition for 2015 is also untrue.
"I have never requested any African president to discuss with you on my behalf.
"In our discussion, I mentioned to you that four presidents told me
that they were concerned about the political situation in Nigeria and
intended to talk to you about it.
"So far, only three of them have confirmed to me that they have had
any discussion with you. If I made such a request, why would I deny
it?" he asked.
Jonathan reiterated that he would make his intention about the 2015 presidential elections known at the appropriate time.
He also refuted Obasanjo’s allegation that the proposed national
conference was self-serving and aimed at achieving his 2015 political
"Contrary to the insinuation in your letter, the proposed conference
is aimed at bringing Nigerians together to resolve contentious national
issues in a formal setting.
"This is a sure way of promoting greater national consensus and
unity, and not a recipe for `disunity, confusion and chaos’, as you
alleged in your letter,’’ he said.
Jonathan assured Nigerians that he would not engage in negative
political actions, adding that he would never, as President, oppress the
people of any state or deprive them of the much-needed public services
as a result of political disagreement.