Former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), was to be abducted during the 2015 presidential election by loyalists of former president, Goodluck Jonathan, a new book has revealed.
President Goodluck Jonathan and Prof Attahiru Jega
There was a plot to abduct the former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, in the thick of the announcement of the results of the 2015 presidential poll, a new book has revealed, according to Vanguard
The revelation was made in a book, ‘On a Platter of Gold: How Jonathan won and lost Nigeria,’ written by a former Minister of Sports, Mr. Bolaji Abdullahi, who is now the National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress(APC).
Jega was to be forced to resign or declare the election as inconclusive after the abduction by rabid loyalists of former president Goodluck Jonathan, the author claimed. Another dimension to the plot was a plan to bomb the International Conference Centre(ICC) where the results of the poll were collated.
Also, the idea of a military takeover was mooted by Jonathan’s men to scuttle the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari, but the two most senior military officers at the meeting said it was too late.
Worried by the failure to truncate Buhari’s victory, a former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal, Alex Badeh, was said to have sent a terse text message to a former Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Suleiman Abba, in which he accused the ex-IGP of treachery. But the book clarified that Jonathan was not aware of the multi-dimensional plots.
The book implicated some top military officers, a Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Sotonye Wakama (who is from Okrika like the former First Lady, Patience Jonathan), heads of security agencies and senior politicians from the South-South.
According to the book, a former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Godsday Orubebe, was to spearhead the plot to cause chaos in ICC while others, including policemen will withdraw and allow a mob to cause the commotion which will lead to the abduction of Jega.
But while Orubebe acted his script, the ex-IGP Abba chose to uphold the rule of law and instead of deploying policemen to the ICC to disrupt the collation of results, he reinforced security.
Abba overruled a Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Sotonye Wakama, who was allegedly part of the plot. The scuttling of the plot made Orubebe to carry the can alone because no one else joined him in the plot.
The book reads in part: “In the early hours of Tuesday, 31st April, an urgent meeting had just been concluded in a private house in the Maitama area of the nation’s capital. At the meeting were some top military and security chiefs believed to be loyal to President Jonathan and some senior politicians from his South-South region.
“The meeting had been convened to save what was turning out to be a disastrous situation for their ‘son’. Something had to be done and it had to be done quickly. The situation appeared desperate, truly, but all was not lost yet. As long as the final results had not been officially announced, there was still a chance to do something.
“The first option on the table reflected the desperation of the moment. If an explosion were to go off near the International Conference Centre (lCC) where the results were being collated, this would create the situation that could allow some agents to move in and remove or burn election materials.
“This option was, however, rejected. Not only was it considered extreme. It carried a high risk of unintended consequences, especially with the menace of Boko Haram running wild and loose in the country, it could also lead to loss of lives.
“If the goal was to render the election inconclusive and stop the announcement of the final results, there must be some other way of achieving this.
“The other way was to mobilize as many people as possible to invade the venue and disrupt the collation process. This was seen as a better option. It was low risk and had the added advantage of live television coverage to show the whole world the injustice that had happened in Nigeria and how the lNEC was part of the conspiracy.
“No matter what happened, President Jonathan could not he informed of these plans. Everyone agreed that they had to save the President, even against his own will. It was a moment of blind passion. But this was not all about Jonathan. Apart from the personal benefits that had turned many of them into millionaires overnight, they saw the Jonathan presidency as the culmination of the Niger-Delta struggle that had started many years earlier and cost so much in human lives.
“It was the ultimate recompense for so much bloodshed, which would, perhaps, require more blood to preserve. But they also knew that President Jonathan was no militant. To some of them, he wasn’t even ljaw enough.
Therefore, if he knew what was being planned, he would no doubt stop it. The only way to get him to act ‘more presidential was to keep everything away from him till the last minute, thereby forcing his hands.’ For the plan to succeed however, the inspector General of Police and the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS) had to withdraw their officers from the International Conference Centre.
While they did not envisage any problem with the DSS, the same could not be said of the police. This was why the Deputy inspector General, Sotonye Wakama, was invited to the meeting instead of the Inspector-General himself. Wakama was an ljaw man from Okirika in Rivers State, just like the First Lady. He could be trusted. The same could however not he said of his boss, Suleiman Abba, from Jigawa.
“About the decisions arising from the meeting he had been invited to, Abba declared in no uncertain terms that the police would not be party to such obnoxious plan. Instead of withdrawing his men, he decided to send in reinforcements. This was a major setback, but not enough to scuttle the entire plan.
“Text messages had already been sent out to some key people, inviting them to join the protest at the International Conference Centre. Even though only a few had acknowledged the text messages, they believed everyone would turn up. After all, those invited also had a lot to lose with President Jonathan out of power.
“Unknown to the plotters, a few of those that received the text messages planned to heed the call. Not having attended the meeting, they had little or no background information about the protest they were being invited to participate in.
“Many also wondered who the brains behind the plot were. The Jonathan campaign had been fractious and disjointed and it was often difficult knowing who was doing what.
“Those within the party hierarchy were particularly bitter at their perceived alienation from the presidential campaign. Therefore, they were not going to join a battle they were not considered important enough to be part of in the first place.
"A good number ignored the call to arms because they did not want to make a spectacle of themselves on live television transmitting to the whole world. And so it was that almost everyone stayed away. Except one man, Peter Godsday Orubebe.”
The book also revealed the botched plans to abduct the ex-INEC chairman, Prof. Jega.
It says: “The stoic calmness displayed by Jega during the stormy session soon attained the metaphorical status believed to have contributed in upending the plot hatched to truncate the electoral process,
“What the INEC chairman probably did not know at the time was that part of the plan was to abduct him under the smokescreen of the confusion that would ensure the moment the police began to fire tear gas canisters into the venue.
“Once abducted, he would either be forced to resign or to declare the election as inconclusive. However, with other actors not playing their part and the police not reacting as envisaged, all had gone awry within minutes.”
Having failed in all fronts, some loyalists of the ex-President came up with the idea of a military takeover to prevent Buhari from becoming the President.