Ex-US official gives details how northern governors conspired with US govt to remove Jonathan
A top intelligence analyst, who was part of the Obama administration, Mr. Matthew T. Page, has thrown light on the claim made by former Governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu, that the State Department invited 12 northern governors to Washington to seek their support on the need to achieve regime change in Nigeria during the 2015 Presidential election.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan, who lost the election to President Muhammadu Buhari, also alleged international conspiracy in the build up to the elections. The statements of both Aliyu and Jonathan were revealed in a new book, entitled ‘Against Run of Play’ by Segun Adeniyi.
However, Page, who provided the details of the meeting in an interview with Jonathan’s former aide, Reno Omokri, claimed that the northern governors came to the meeting with a prepared speech that read like a petition against the ex-President.
His assertion which is contained in Omokri’s new book, ‘Facts Versus Fiction: The True Story of the Jonathan Years: Chibok, 2015 and Other Conspiracies’ billed to be released in June 2017, provided details of the US meeting which was said to have begun at the State Department and ended in the White House.
Page, who was Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Africa with the US National Intelligence Council and U.S. State Department’s top intelligence analyst on Nigeria before he resigned in 2016, told Omokri that he was present at the meetings with the northern governors.
Cases against Jonathan
In the book, Page alleged that “at that meeting, Admiral Murtala Nyako read out a memo he had written itemizing the case against Jonathan. He was so openly and almost violently against the Jonathan administration in his speech that he had to be openly rebuked at the meeting by the then Nigerian ambassador to the US, Ambassador Adebowale Adefuye, of blessed memory.
“Admiral Nyako’s belligerence against the Jonathan administration was so venomous that it prompted a rebuttal from the Gombe State governor, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, who showed loyalty to the then Nigerian President. According to Mr. Page, this prompted most of the other Northern governors present to turn on him.”
On whether the Obama’s administration was against Jonathan’s second term bid, Mr. Page said: “My objective opinion is that it was not as if the administration was against Jonathan. There were a number of issues. The Obama administration was a bit disappointed (I know that sounds paternalistic) but there were some issues they had felt let down on.
“The human rights situation in the Northeast, which has still not changed under Buhari, and Diezani Alison-Madueke who they felt should have been removed. There were some issues with some clauses in the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill 2013”.
Continuing, Mr. Omokri noted that “another interesting connection is that these high level meetings arranged for Northern governors by the Obama administration took place in 2014, at the same time that Obama confidant and former White House Senior Advisor, David Axelrod’s firm, AKPD Message and Media, began to work as a paid consultant for the then Nigerian opposition party, All Progressives Congress.”
The book also claimed that “sublimal messages were communicated by President Obama” in the special broadcast he made to Nigerians on March 28, 2015, urging them come out and vote.
The ex-President’s spokesman, Ikechukwu Eze, who said he was yet to read Mr Omokri’s account was quick to point out that he was relying on the statement of his boss in reaction to Adeniyi’s book that a true account of what transpired could only come from the key actors in the election.
“At the right time, those people, including former President Jonathan, will present the complete picture,” he said.