The immediate past President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has dismissed rumours suggesting that he is on self-exile in Côte d’Ivoire, just as his close associates averred that he had no cause to permanently relocate from the country.
Speaking on behalf of Jonathan, a close political associate, Mr. Yinka Odumakin told Vanguard Newspaper that the former president said:
“I am not in exile; it is quite unfortunate that anybody is insinuating that I am in exile. I am now a private citizen. Since I left office, this is my second visit to Côte d’Ivoire; I have gone to so many countries in recent times as part of my efforts to promote peace. What I am doing is a global tour since leaving office, and this is my second visit to Côte d’Ivoire. It is unfortunate that anybody should insinuate that I am in exile. I am not in exile. When I finish what I am doing here, I will continue my visit all over the world.”
Also reacting to the rumour, a relative of the former president, Engr Mike Ogiasa, said:
“it is not true that the former President is on the run. We, his kinsmen trust him. When it is appropriate for him to speak he will speak. Jonathan has not gone into exile. Everybody knows a man of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s calibre will not do that.”
“It is reasonable for anybody to realize that the former president will take some time out to write about Nigeria in a book form. If he is not seen for sometime, it means he wants a quiet life. I should expect the former president to take some time out in a very quiet environment without any distraction to put his experience about Nigeria into writing in a book form.”
In the same vein, the former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Austin Opara, said:
“I wonder where some sections of the media are getting such rumours from. I can tell you confidently that our people in the South-South are solidly behind him. Why should he go into exile when his people are not against him. I can also say confidently that he was in contact with his political associates ahead of the last weekend’s convention in Port-Harcourt. So there is no iota of truth in the news making rounds that he has gone into exile.”
Also, Senator Nimi Barigha-Amange said:
“I spoke with the former President on Friday. He told me that he was going to London to spend some times with his children. He did not indicate that he was under any stress and did not tell me that he was going on exile.
“What he said was that he would have loved to be at the Peoples Democratic Party convention in Port Harcourt, but he couldn’t make it because he needed to be with his children. He told me that he was in touch with the leaders of the party across board and assured me that the crisis in the party would be resolved. It is not true that he is in exile.”
“The president has no reason to go into exile. He has not committed any offense. Please ignore the report about his exile. He will certainly come back to the country when he is through with spending time with his children”
There were rumours making the round that the former president exiled the country to a safer haven in Cote d’Ivoire in other to avoid the current leadership crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.