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Friday, August 25, 2017

In Facebook post, Jonathan reminds Nigerians of ‘freedom enjoyed’ under his watch

Former President Goodluck Jonathan on
Thursday took a swipe at the move by the
President Muhammadu Buhari administration
to curb hate speech .
The ex - leader shared a picture of a quote he
made on Facebook in 2014 .
The post read in part , “ I am the most abused
and insulted President in the world but when I
leave office , you will all remember me for the
total ‘ freedom ’ you enjoyed under me . ”
Vice - President Yemi Osinbajo had said last
week that thenceforth, the Federal Government
would treat hate speech as terrorism, while the
military said it would be monitoring comments
on social media to tackle anti - government and
anti - security views.
Jonathan ’ s re - post had elicited 3 , 190 comments
from his over two million followers as of 8 pm .
While some hailed the former President , others
lambasted him for allegedly allowing
corruption to thrive during his administration .
One of the followers , Ngweeh Anthony Klassik ,
said , “ You are blessed GEJ . People now know
what freedom really meant . During your time ,
we had every right to post and comment with
all manner of recklessness . Today , we are being
monitored on the social media with a death
sentence hanging on us. ”
Another follower , Raheem Abidemi, wrote , “ To
be candid , Goodluck Ebele Jonathan happens to
be one of the most mature Presidents Nigeria
has ever had . Despite the series of insults he
received from the likes of Lai Mohammed while
in office , he never for once used his political
might on them. He was really a mature
President and I will continue to applaud him
for that . ”
However , Falola Olayinka , told Jonathan to
bury his head for failing Nigeria .
He wrote , “ The freedom you granted Diezani to
loot us dry; the freedom you granted all your
cronies , including ministers and service chiefs ,
to empty the CBN vault . We have not forgotten
how you killed unemployed graduates in the
Nigeria Immigration Service recruitment
scandal and so many other harm you caused
this country. ”
Khalid Adam wrote , “ You should bury your
face in shame. You allowed Boko Haram to kill
people anyhow and Nigerian money to be
looted with your comment of ‘ stealing is not
corruption . ’ You are the worst president Nigeria
ever produced . ”
Speaking on the telephone with one of our
correspondents , a former Minister of Aviation ,
Chief Femi Fani - Kayode , described Jonathan ’ s
re - post as a prophecy foretold .
Fani - Kayode , who was the spokesman for the
Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation in
2015 , said the ruling All Progressives Congress
got to power through hate speech and rigging .
He pointed out that it was hypocritical of the
APC government to complain about hate
speeches .
The ex - minister said , “ Jonathan ’ s statement
was a prophetic statement of fact. Those that
wish to silence the opposition and dissenting
voices by claiming that all they (opposition ) are
saying is hate speech shall fail.
“ They came to power through hate speech and
they will leave through hate speech. Jonathan
and those who stood by him in 2015 have been
vindicated because today, we have a
government and a ruling party that cannot take
as good as it gives .
“ They insulted , threatened and rigged their way
into power and all they have ever known is
hate . Now that people are criticising them , they
are labelling it as hate speech, which is not
true . There is a distinction between vigorous
opposition , harsh criticism and the expression
of bitter truth on one hand and hate speech on
the other hand . That is the lesson this
government needs to learn . ”
The President of the Committee for the Defence
of Human Rights , Mr . Malachy Ugwummadu ,
said the re - post was a sign that the former
leader regretted his inaction while in power .
Ugwummadu , a lawyer said , “ The nostalgia
that the former President entertains now is
understandable. It is usually associated with
people who had the opportunity to make
history but failed to do it . I sympathise with
him .
“ He tends to make us to believe that the rights
he talked about were given by him . The rights
were not given by Jonathan , but were
bequeathed by being human beings .
“ The same rights are protected by the
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
and other international human rights laws
which Nigeria is a signatory. ”
Ugwummadu , however, advised the President
Muhammadu Buhari administration to handle
its desire to tackle hate speech with the
recognition of citizens ’ constitutional rights .
“ We recognise the need to moderate the rising
incidence of hate speeches and their effects on
social harmony and corporate coexistence of
citizens of the country.
“ However , the President ’ s desire (as handed
over to the service chiefs ) cannot foreclose the
constitutional rights of Nigerians to freely
express themselves as guaranteed under
Section 39 ( 1 ) of the 1999 Constitution ( as
amended ) . ”
The Executive Director , Coalition Against
Corrupt Leaders , Debo Adeniran, said it was
not for ex - President Goodluck Jonathan to
praise himself .
He said he did not use the tools of governance
well , noting that it was under his
administration that mind - boggling amounts of
money were stolen by his lieutenants.
“ I don ’ t know what kind of freedom he was
talking about ; maybe the freedom to steal, the
freedom to violate people ’ s rights with
impunity , maybe the type he gave his
lieutenants to help themselves to the nation ’ s
coffers . However , those of us at the receiving
end of such freedom to steal by his cohorts are
the ones that felt the pain , ” Adeniran stated .
The activist said it was during Jonathan ’ s
administration that the nation experienced
several scandals , including the theft of billions
of naira meant for weapons for the military to
fight insurgency .
He said , “ It was also during his time that
several millions of dollars were ferried to South
Africa ; it was during his time that Diezani
Alison - Madueke , the petroleum resources
minister, had unfettered access to proceeds of
petroleum products .
“ Jonathan ’ s observation was that if $ 20 bn was
missing from the economy , the Americans
would know . That was the dumbest statement
anybody could have made . He said stealing was
not corruption ; so the kind of freedom he gave
was disruptive to the lives of Nigerians and
that is not what we wanted . ”
Let Jonathan enjoy his freedom – APC
The APC described Jonathan post as a personal
opinion .
It added that Jonathan did not mention the APC
in his post .
The National Publicity Secretary of the party ,
Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi , said , “ It is the
personal opinion of the former President . We
should respect it since he didn ’ t mention the
APC in it . Let’ s allow him to enjoy his
freedom . ”

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