Details are beginning to emerge from the private meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and former President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The Nations reports that a former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar facilitated the meeting.
According to the report, the meeting was at the instance of the 2015 Elections Peace Committee, after former President, Jonathan complained that President Buhari was not sticking to the peace accord they signed.
Jonathan was reported to have also sought for understanding on alleged corrupt practices and mismanagement of funds under his administration, with a source saying the former President claimed he was hearing about some of the graft allegations for the first time.
The report however claimed that President Buhari reportedly insisted that all looted funds must be returned to the nation’s coffers, adding that the President also restated his pledge that Jonathan had nothing to fear at all.
According to a source quoted by the report, the outcome of the meeting between Buhari and Jonathan formed the motive behind Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo’s declaration at the weekend that the target of the administration’s anti-corruption war was not Jonathan.
The report further disclosed that the former President was not comfortable with the way Buhari moved against his ex-Chief Security Officer (CSO), ex-National Security Adviser (NSA) and some ministers, asking the Abdulsalami committee to prevail on Buhari not to rubbish him.
The source said: “For some weeks, Jonathan has been in the country to iron out some issues on his government.
“Based on Jonathan’s complaint, Abdulsalami made efforts – five times- to get in touch with Buhari but the ex-Head of State could not get through on time. I think Buhari already had security reports on Jonathan’s emissary.”
Abdulsalami was said to have been frustrated at a point and had to enlist other ex-presidents who prevailed on Buhari to allow the committee an opportunity to mediate.
The source added: “This was how Abdulsalami succeeded in securing an appointment from Buhari for Jonathan with a caveat that the immediate past President should feel free to bare his mind.”
The source further gave an insight into the discussions.
“Jonathan said he was hearing some of the allegations, especially financial sleaze, against his administration for the first time. He made it clear that he had nothing to do with some of these corrupt practices.
“He said whatever steps or actions the President intends to take; it should be within the framework of the peace accord the two leaders signed. Obviously, he wanted soft landing.
“He also pledged to cooperate with Buhari as much as possible on all steps he is going to take.”
On his part, President Buhari was said to have restated his pledge that Jonathan had nothing to fear, though insisted that there was no going back on the recovery of looted funds.
“The President reassured Jonathan that he has no personal agenda against him. But he insisted that whatever was stolen from the treasury must be returned,” the source said.