A former President, Goodluck Jonathan, said on Sunday that some individuals are making frantic efforts to malign his personality, insisting that his democratic ideals remain strong as ever.
“It has been brought to my attention that while I am away promoting democracy in Sierra Leone, a campaign will be unleashed against me to falsely impugn my name using both faceless and identified persons,” Mr. Jonathan said in Facebook update shortly after 10:00 p.m.
The former president is gearing up to supervise the second-round of voting in the Sierra Leone presidential elections, after the first-round failed to produce a clear winner. Mr. Jonathan is the head of election observers in that West African country which was devastated by Ebola virus a few years ago.
It was not immediately clear why Mr. Jonathan decided to issue the disclaimer to his supporters. He had been under renewed media attention following reports that someone close to him had attempted to manipulate Nigeria’s 2015 elections with a $2 million slush payment to a foreign public relations firms.
The UK Guardian said the individual, whose identity remained unclear, met with Cambridge Analytica officials in Washington D.C. around December 2014, a few weeks before the contentious 2015 election that Mr. Jonathan ultimately lost to President Muhammadu Buhari.
At home, the former president has faced relentless attacks from Mr. Buhari and his vice, Yemi Osinbajo. Within the past week, the two had launched allegations against Mr. Jonathan.
First, Mr. Buhari said he had handled the kidnap of 110 Dapchi schoolgirls far better than Mr. Jonathan, accusing his predecessor of being “insensitive” to the plight of Chibok girls after they were kidnapped under his watch in 2014.
A few days later, Mr. Osinbajo criticised Mr. Jonathan for withdrawing humongous amount from public coffers days to the 2015 elections, money he said was never accounted for. He also accused the former president of squandering funds that should have gone into major infrastructure projects.
Mr. Jonathan has not responded to the Guardian article or the Buhari administration.
His statement tonight appeared more targeted at future attacks on his person than those he had endured in the past. It came hours after reports emerged that the Buhari administration had vowed never to stop reminding Nigerians of widespread mismanagement that allegedly characterised Mr. Jonathan’s government between 2010 to 2015.
But no matter the intensity of the campaign to malign him, Mr. Jonathan said he would remain civil in his conduct.
“When I was in power I said my ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian. Even out of power, I continue to hold that belief.
“What I will say however, is that no matter how far and fast falsehood has traveled, it must eventually be overtaken by truth,” the former president said.