Former president, Goodluck Jonathan, has accused former United States president, Barack Obama, of frustrating his administration’s efforts to rescue schoolgirls kidnapped by terrorist group, Boko Haram, in Chibok, Borno State over four years ago.
While Jonathan was president, terrorists invaded the premises of Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok, Borno State, and kidnapped 276 female students from the school hostel.
Jonathan’s initial lukewarm reaction to the abduction was widely-criticised and this worsened after the situation gained global attention that led to foreign governments, including the U.S., offering to help in the rescue of the girls.
In his new book, titled ‘My Transition Hours’, the former president said even though Obama‘s administration lent its security services towards rescuing the girls, he also tactically set his administration up for failure in the pursuit of the girls’ freedom.
He said Obamaa’s administration refused to sell military hardware to Nigeria’s Armed Forces and frustrated efforts of his administration to get the weapons from Israel.
He said, “As an aside, while thanking the men and women of the US security services who were deployed to Nigeria and toiled day and night in the Northeast in search of the Chibok Girls, my surprise at the role played by the then U.S. President BarackObama still calls to doubt his genuine intentions for Nigeria.
“For some strange reasons, the Obama administration had tactically pencilled Nigeria and my administration for failure. Amongst many manoeuvres, was the refusal to provide any real military backing to Nigeria’s Armed Forces.
“President Obama and his security adviser, Susan Rice, bluntly refused to sell any military hardware including jet fighters and attack helicopters to Nigeria.
“Obama cited the Leahy Law as the reason his regime prevented the American Government from supporting Nigeria in providing weapons to fight Boko Haram.
“Even when the State of Israel expressed the willingness to sell attack helicopters to Nigeria, the gesture was frustrated by the Obama administration that kept waving the same Leahy Law like a banner.
“My administration, including a team of international partners with their respective governments, devoted considerable amount of resources in the search and rescue of the girls.”
Over four years after the high profile abduction,
112 of the girls remain in captivity » as many of them escaped from the terrorists or were released to the government after negotiations.
In another chapter of the book, Jonathan also disclosed that he felt humiliated by Obama’s interference in Nigeria’s 2015 elections which he lost to current president, Muhammadu Buhari .
The 61-year-old said Obama‘s decision to send then-US Secretary of State, John Kerry, to press on the government after the elections were postponed by a few weeks was meddlesome.
Jonathan further noted that Obama’s ‘unusual’ video message where he spoke directly to the Nigerian people about the elections was a subtle attempt to influence the votes in favour of the opposition at the time to oust him from office.
He wrote, “On March 23, 2015, President Obama himself took the unusual step of releasing a video message directly to Nigerians all but telling them how to vote.
“In that video, Obama urged Nigerians to open the ‘next chapter’ by their votes. Those who understood subliminal language deciphered that he was prodding the electorate to vote for the opposition to form a new government.
“The message was so condescending, it was as if Nigerians did not know what to do and needed an Obama to direct them.
“In his message, he said, ‘All Nigerians must be able to cast their votes without intimidation or fear,’ yet his government was vehemently and publicly against the postponement of the elections to enable our military defeat Boko Haram and prevent them from intimidating voters. This was the height of hypocrisy!”
Jonathan said Obama’s actions as well as that of other foreign powers like the United Kingdom’s then-Prime Minister, David Cameron , were fueled by “deeper political interests”.
He ended up losing the election to Buhari by more than 2.5 million votes, the first time an incumbent lost a presidential election to an opposition candidate in Nigeria.
He conceded defeat to Buhari in a phone call before the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officially announced the former military Head of State the winner of the election.