ThisDay has gathered that former President Goodluck Jonathan may not succumb to pressure to speak on the N13.3 billion recovered from the Ikoyi apartment, despite mounting calls from some quarters for the ex-president to comment on the shocking discovery which is now being investigated by the panel led by Osinbajo.
The president’s associate who claimed to have met with Jonathan, who according to him, has just returned from an international engagement, maintained that the standard thing to do was to request concerned intelligence chiefs to offer professional clarifications when necessary.
Prodded to comment on whether Jonathan approved the money, which is now being claimed by the NIA, the source maintained that the ex-president made legitimate approvals for the nation’s security and intelligence agencies in his capacity as president, adding that the ongoing investigations would prove that Jonathan did the right thing.
He further rejected suggestions that the recovered money may have been kept for election purposes by the former administration, stressing that it would be unreasonable for anybody to insinuate that NIA bosses would still be keeping money for Jonathan, two years after the former president left office.
He said: “Nigerians should be careful not to let their emotions get the better of them in order not to destroy the integrity of the nation’s respected institutions, especially the Office of the President.
“It is worrying the way the media is sensationalising the issue of the funds recovered in a Lagos flat, with reference to the immediate past president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
“From a section of the media we have seen a baseless desperation to link the former president with the money, generate negative headlines and swing public opinion, in line with preconceived objectives.
“From that quarter also is a strident and dramatised call for ex-President Jonathan to openly discuss details of security approvals and operations, even when a presidential panel is already investigating the matter.
“There is nowhere in the world where former or serving presidents are challenged daily to speak on covert activities of elite intelligence agencies, especially where concerned intelligence chiefs are on hand to offer professional clarifications.”
He added that while investigations are ongoing, “those sold on spinning imaginary tales have been vainly striving to sell to the public an orchestrated narrative that the fund which we are told belong to the NIA, was set aside for 2015 general election”.
“Obviously, this unsubstantiated calculation holds no water because it does not make sense to claim that the NIA chiefs who are now under a new boss would still be warehousing money for 2015 polls long after the elections, and two years after the former president has handed over to his successor.
“We should not forget that former President Jonathan stayed on as president for two months after the 2015 presidential election before handing over power to his successor, President Muhammadu Buhari, on May 29, 2015.
“Have the authors of this false narrative wondered why Jonathan did not use the opportunity of those last days in office to help himself to the recovered money, if indeed it was stashed on his orders, as is now being strangely claimed in some quarters?
“As Nigerians who wish the best for our dear country, it behoves all of us to remain truly committed to the efforts towards rebuilding the nation.
“Those who pour all their energies into spreading falsehood and promoting unhelpful lynch plots are only hurting the process,” Jonathan’s associate said.
When contacted, Jonathan’s spokesman, Mr. Ikechukwu Eze, confirmed that the ex-president has just returned from a foreign trip.
Eze, however, refused to make any comments on the story, stressing that he was yet to meet and discuss with his boss since his return.