21 November 2017
By Ugonnabo Ngwu
Former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, called then Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Bello Adoke, a “useless man” for not helping to disqualify then candidate Muhammadu Buhari over WAEC certificate forgery allegation that trended in the heat of the 2015 electioneering.
This was made known in an advance copy of a book by the National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bolaji Abdullahi, who served as Minister under Jonathan from 2011 to 2014. The upcoming book is titled, ‘On a Platter of Gold: How Jonathan Won and Lost Nigeria’.
The author narrated that then governor of Ondo state and Chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, Governor’s Forum, Olusegun Mimiko, wanted Buhari, who at the time was the APC flagbearer, disqualified from contesting in the election and prosecuted for “certificate forgery”.
But Adoke, said to be central to most decisions taken by the former president because of his “distinct aversion for taking any action that could be regarded as unlawful or illegal”, argued against the prosecution of Buhari, because there was no legal basis to do so.
The APC candidate went on to win that epoch election which means a defeat of the incumbent President, but two days after the poll, Patience Jonathan was said to have given a piece of her mind to Adoke for “betraying her husband”.
Abdullahi was reported by The Cable, as writing, “Two days after the election, Adoke had gone to see the president in respect of the appointment of a new chief judge for the FCT. While waiting in the outer room, the First Lady walked in. He rose to greet her. But she took one long look at him and hissed: ‘Useless man. You betrayed my husband. Now that he has lost the election, you are happy. It was the same Attorney General that Bayo Ojo used to disqualify Atiku for Obasanjo (in 2007). It was the same office that (Mike) Aondoakaa used to make dead man (Umaru Musa Yar’Adua) to rule Nigeria. But when it comes to my husband, you will be shouting, constitution, constitution.’”
The APC spokesman said Mimiko was at the forefront of the agitation to have Adoke issue a fiat that would have given the power to a private citizen to prosecute Buhari for certificate forgery which could have led to his disqualification from the election, “or at the very least, disrupt the electoral process”.
Recall that Buhari had said his secondary school certificate was with the military authorities, but after they denied having it, he got a replacement from his alma mater, Government College, Katsina.
Adoke was said to have stood his ground despite increasing pressure for him to kick-start the process of disqualifying Buhari – a situation that made Jonathan’s supporters, including his wife, blame the nation’s chief law officer at the time for the loss.