Amid the political crisis earlier this year, President Goodluck Jonathan had suggested to a former U.S. ambassador that he was not chosen to be Vice-President because of his leadership quality, according to a secret U.S. cable revealed by Wikileaks.
“I was not chosen to be Vice-President because I had good political experience,” Jonathan is quoted as saying in a report based on disclosures made by the whistleblower website.
“I did not. There were a lot more qualified people around to be Vice-President, but that does not mean I am not my own man,” the cable was quoted by the Guardian of London as saying.
The leaked cable version quoted the U.S. diplomat, Dr Robin Sanders, as having been told by Mr. Jonathan that northern politicians would always be uncomfortable with him as president, and he understood the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) picked him as Yar’Adua’s running mate in 2007 because he represented the Niger Delta.
However, President Jonathan has dismissed the report suggesting that he was inexperienced as an administrator.
“Accounts of the meeting as published on WikiLeaks website are largely inaccurate,” Ima Niboro, Jonathan’s spokesman said.
He described the accounts of meetings between Mr. Jonathan and Dr Sanders as essentially third party narratives and largely inaccurate.
“The President, in those tempestuous days during which the nation tottered on the brink, held meetings, and then more meetings, with different groups, the diplomatic community inclusive,” Mr. Niboro said in a statement.
The president had held many political and administrative positions in the past and could not have described himself as inexperienced, it said.
Mr. Jonathan has indicated his intention to campaign for presidency in elections scheduled for next April and has been receiving criticism from northern opponents who says he has no experience in governance.
Analysts believe that the narratives on Wikileaks could be used by his opponents against him during the election campaigns.
Nigeria, Africa’s biggest democracy with a population of 150 million, returned to civil rule in 1999 after several years of military intervention.
Since then, presidential elections which are conducted every four years have been won by the PDP. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had announced on April 9 as the date for the country“s presidential elections following an amendment of the constitution by the parliament.