Friday, 3 June 2016
Jonathan meets President Buhari in secret over Niger Delta Avengers
Following heightened militancy and bombing of oil pipelines in the Niger Delta region, President Muhammadu Buhari has met with his predecessor, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, at the presidential villa, Abuja.
The meeting was said to have taken place at 9pm on Thursday night.
Even though it was not officially announced, it was expected to have dwelt on the rising tension as well as oil and gas installation vandalism perpetrated by Niger Delta militants led by the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) in the region.
The NDA has vowed to ensure that crude oil production was brought to zero level in the country until its demands were met.
Buhari was believed to be seeking Jonathan’s help to bring the crisis to an end and spare the nation’s economy of unwarranted damage.
In an apparent move to prepare ground for this meeting, the president has in recent days been speaking glowingly about the Bayelsa-born former president whose activities in office have been the subject of investigations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Buhari has engaged in praising Jonathan over the defeat concession phone call Jonathan made to him before the final tally of the 2015 presidential election result was known.
At a luncheon organized for State House corespondents last Monday, Buhari said: “This is where I pay my respect to former President Goodluck Jonathan. This is actually a privileged information for you. He called me at a quarter past five in the evening. He said good evening your Excellency Sir and I said good evening.
“He said, I have called to congratulate you that I have conceded defeat. Of course there was dead silence on my end, because I did not expect it. And he said, ‘did you hear me?’
“I was shocked. I did not expect it because after 16 years, the man was a deputy governor, governor, Vice President and was President for six years. For him to have conceded defeat even before the result was announced by INEC. I think it was an act of generosity and great patriotism.”
The president revealed that former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, who had also learned of the call, reached out to him (Buhari) and advised that they go to the presidential villa at once to thank Jonathan.
“Abdulsalami recognized the generosity of Jonathan to concede defeat and said we should go and thank him immediately and I agreed.
That was the first time I came here (villa),” he added.