A former media to Gooddluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri, has said the former President has not fled the country.
There were reports in a daily newspaper on Monday that Jonathan had gone into self-exile in Cote d’ Ivoire in order to escape arrest by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
But in a series of tweets Monday evening, Omokri faulted the media report that Jonathan has fled the country, on his official Twitter handle.
He said: “I’m in touch with former President and I have spoken to Nduka Obaigbena. The story on GEJ exile is false
“Jonathan has absolutely no reason to even contemplate exile. He is proud of his meritoriously service to Nigeria.
“Furthermore, Jonathan is a man of peace whose future isn’t worth the blood of any Nigerian. He has no link to violence.
“Jonathan assures Nigerians that he’s been on a multi city speaking tour and will return to Nigeria afterward as planned”, he said.
Also, a close ally of the former President, Senator Nimi Bariagha Amange said that contrary to the allegation; he had only travelled out of the country on a personal matter and would return to the country soon.
He described the story of his purported departure into exile as ‘laughable’
“It is laughable that anyone would think President Jonathan would run off into exile. For what reason exactly? What offence has he committed that would compel him to abscond from this country,” the source asked.
He said the whole story was aimed at tarnishing the image of the former leader by individuals working hand in glove with the present government. He said the latest move by the former president’s detractors, smacked of desperation.
“They have repeatedly tried to rubbish him and failed; they arrested his close aides including even his cousin and have tried to coerce them into implicating him but have also not being successful. Now, they have hit upon another strategy and this will clearly fail.
“Nigerians are wiser today than they were one year ago; they have seen the difference between President Jonathan’s time and what obtains now. We just came out of a nationwide strike arising from Labour and people’s disenchant with this government. They know they Nigerians are not happy with them and are looking for scapegoats but they won’t find one in President Jonathan because his hands are clean”, the source said.
He said the Buhari government is clutching at straws and that the attempt by the faceless individuals who sponsored the exile story to link Jonathan with the bombings of oil facilities in the Niger Delta was not only laughable but will not score with Nigerian people.
“It is a despicable attempt at trying to give a dog a bad name into order to snuff life out of it. It is common knowledge that President Jonathan was one of the principal actors behind the end of militancy in the Niger Delta first as Vice President under late President Umar Yar’Adua and then later as President himself. So, how can he suddenly turn around to instigate them to cause violence and disruption of the nation’s economic wellbeing through blowing up of pipelines and other oil facilities?”
He said it was a well-known fact even attested to by foreigners that President Jonathan is a peace loving individual who during his Presidency put the needs and welfare of Nigerians and the state itself above personal considerations.
“Here was a man who was in power and did not take any step to consolidate on his power. He said it from Day One that his ambition was not worth the blood of any Nigerian. Many did not believe him but when push came to shove, he lived up to his word by handing over when he lost the 2015b election. As President he could have resisted and used the nation’s security apparatus to consolidate his hold on power but he chose to be law abiding. How then can any right thinking individual accuse him of instigation militants to take up arms against Nigeria”, he queried.