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Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria's immediate past President, has responded to an allegation by Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), that he started the practice of "vote buying".
According to Jonathan, the claims by Oshiomhole may be as a result of "psychological strain" associated with his efforts at defending "the already floundering ship of his administration".
The former President's response was contained in a statement signed by Ikechukwu Eze, his media aide, titled: 'Oshiomhole: The Burden of Blame Game and Tumultuous Leadership'.
Oshiomhole had stated on a television programme that “President Jonathan started this massive vote buying in Nigeria and the media must play back and do a proper interview and proper investigation to discover the origin of vote buying.”
The former president, however, dismissed Oshiomhole's claim.
The statement read: "We can only guess that Mr Oshiomhole, who is currently operating under tremendous stress in the bid to steady the already floundering ship of his administration as the new leader of his party, may have got himself entangled in a voyage of tactless desperation.
“His recent flip-flops where he praised Governor Samuel Ortom and Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso one day only to denounce them the very next day, is enough evidence of his fragile psychological state.
“Not only is he content on squabbling with members of the opposition, we note the self-destructive tendencies of Oshiomhole, who is locked in a feud with members of his own party, including the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, and a host of APC governors.
“It appears that Mr Oshiomhole’s psychological strain may have reached boiling point.”
According to Eze, vote buying only came to the fore in 2016, well after the Jonathan administration left power.
The statement continued: "On the vexatious issue of ‘vote-buying’, which has unfortunately found its way into our election lexicon, this is what we know: It is obvious that the shameful development in our democratic experience became very glaring during the 2016 governorship election in Edo State; an exercise that took place more than one year after President Jonathan had left office.
“It is, therefore, disingenuous for any politician or group to link the former president with the anomaly, no matter how they want to stretch the now-failing blame game.
“While in office as president between 2010 and 2015, Jonathan conducted many elections including the 2011 and 2015 general elections, and many off-season governorship and parliamentary elections in some states like Anambra, Ekiti, Ondo and Edo; and not for once did the issue of vote-buying come up in the assessment of those elections.
“It is instructive that in each case, the former President was given a clean bill, with both local and international observers commending him for having supervised a credible and transparent process.”
The statement also cited various instances where the former president was commended for conducting credible elections, including a statement by Oshiomhole in July 2016, where the latter had said: "What the Edo election has confirmed is that when the President and Commander-in-Chief puts the country first and he conducts himself as a statesman not just as a party leader, credible elections are possible".
Eze said when a comparison of both positions is done,“it becomes obvious that the APC chairman is suffering from multiple personality syndrome and has Jekyll and Hyde schizophrenia".