The Presidency has described as “false and irresponsible’’ reports that former President Goodluck Jonathan was blackmailed to support the governing party, APC, in recent Bayelsa State elections.
Recall that former Jigawa State Governor Sule Lamido had accused Mr Jonathan of trading off the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the November 16 governorship election in Bayelsa State allegedly to assuage Mr Buhari against going ahead with the controversial Malabu Oil scam investigation.
Rising to Mr Jonathan’s defence while speaking to newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday, the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, expressed shock that such a story could be considered believable to the point of being given space in some newspapers.
He said: “It just doesn’t make any sense,’’ he said. “Our media really must learn to verify whatever they publish. And people who make wild allegations during interviews should be made to produce the facts backing their claims by editors.
“A newspaper can be sued for granting space to people who belch false allegations against individuals with no proof.’’
Mr Shehu said the former president had been out of power for almost five years, without any previous allegations of government blackmail cropping up.
He also noted that there were more than enough reasons for Dr Jonathan to work against his party, PDP, in the just concluded Bayelsa elections, without interference by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Anyone who has been following the politics of Bayelsa State should be aware of the sour relationship between Dr Jonathan and the incumbent governor, Seriake Dickson.
“That’s more than enough reason for the former president to decide to work against his party, if indeed he did.
“We really must stop this habit of blaming President Buhari for everything, including issues that are not his business,’’ he added.