A retired Permanent Secretary and an associate of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Ambassador Godknows Igali, says the immediate past president may be the poorest former leader in Africa, adding that he is struggling to pay off debts incurred on the 2015 presidential election.
The diplomat told newsmen in Abuja on Sunday that the sitting room of the former president in his Maitama-Abuja residence can’t accommodate more than 10 persons, wondering which of his colleagues occupies such a modest apartment.
He pointed out that despite allegations of corruption levelled against some of the officials and associates of Jonathan during the last administration, he left office as a fulfilled man but insolvent vis-a-vis most of his retired predecessors.
Igali was categorical that Jonathan, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for the 2015 presidential poll, is Nigeria’s poorest ex-president and may also occupy same position in Africa.
According to him, “I am glad that some of you journalists are privileged to know where he (Jonathan) lives and where he has his private offices in this country.
“I do not think President Jonathan can be considered a very rich man. You must realize that none of those corruption allegations has been personally linked to him.
“Jonathan is not a rich man, take it from me. He may be comfortable but not rich. But l know that his pension as a former president is enough to take care of him.”
The associate described Jonathan as a “modest” man whose lifestyle and background were humble, adding that: “Indeed Jonathan is still struggling to pay some election liabilities from 2015 till today.
“Despite all the stories of flying billions, Jonathan borrowed money to prosecute some aspects of his election and he is struggling in different ways to meet up.
“There’s a lot of untruths that is being said about him, but l believe history will be very fair to him.
“He is a very simple man. His background and lifestyle are very simple.
“He is not jingoistic.
“Thank God some of you guys know where he has an office and where he lives in Maitama (Abuja).
“Which former president of Nigeria lives in that kind of place?
“President Jonathan’s parlour in his Maitama house cannot accommodate more than 10 persons.
“Look at his dinning table, it is like any other house in Maitama.
“The only way you will know that a former president of this country is living there is the presence of security men and which he is entitled to as a former president.”