Saraki: What Jonathan did when I told him my intention to contest for his seat


President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has noted that former president, Goodluck Jonathan, is not desperate for power, adding that he was not ready for the presidency job when fate bestowed the leadership of the country on the immediate past president.

He buttressed this position by recounting an incident in 2011 when he mustered courage to go and inform Jonathan about his intention to run for presidency against him.

Saraki disclosed that what he got as reply totally surprised him, because rather than frown at the idea, Jonathan shook his hands and wished him luck.

He stated this in Abuja on Thursday at the book launch entitled: ‘On a platter of gold’ written by the former Minister of Sport now National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Bolaji Abdullahi.

The Senate President said, “the day I decided I was going to contest to be President. I felt that I didn’t want Jonathan to hear it as news, I booked an appointment to go and see him.

“I didn’t know what I was thinking that day. I went to the Villa. He said: ‘Come in, come in, how can I help you?’

“I looked at the President of a third world country and said ‘Mr. President, I came to tell you that I am going to be contesting for your seat.’

“Jonathan looked at me and said: ‘Oh, okay, good luck, good luck.’

“If it were any other person, maybe I would not have left the Villa! But that again sums up Goodluck Jonathan.

“I think it is us Nigerians that produce the kind of leaders we get. No matter what you say about him, I don’t think he was someone who was desperate for power.

“He was not someone that was prepared for leadership. Yes, by misfortune or fortune I keep on saying, we all know the right things but we don’t do it, we find ourselves sometimes blaming individuals, blaming others than ourselves”.

He also disclosed of a second encounter he had with the then president, where he refused to take action on fuel subsidy scam that was brought to his attention, and waved the sleaze aside as one that goes with the terrain.

Saraki said, “I remember when I was then Senator and I came across this issue of fuel subsidy and the way the country was losing close to about N1.3 trillion. In the history of this country, I don’t think of any singular kind of level of corruption as huge as that. I had a motion already I wanted to present on the floor of the Senate.

“I felt as a member of the ruling party at that time, it was only proper I discussed it with the President (first), maybe some action could be taken so that I would step down the motion.

“I booked an appointment to see Mr. President. I went with my paper. I started with the background of how people bring in petroleum products. I said ‘Mr. President, in the past people used to get award letters from NNPC to bring in PMS, DPK, and make 10, 20 per cent profit.

“I said Sir, they’ve taken it to another level now. They get an order to bring in products, they don’t want to make 10, 20 per cent anymore.

“They will get an offer to bring in a cargo of 20,000 litres; they will bring in 5,000 to be stamped for 20,000 and instead of making 10 per cent, they make ten times the amount.

“I was telling the President, thinking the President would get very agitated. (But) He said: ‘Senator Saraki, you know this oil business is very oily.’

“I was stunned and taken aback!

“But in a way, that was Jonathan. In a sad way, that was who he is.”

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