Former president Goodluck Jonathan on Monday called a former Chairperson of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs. Farida Waziri, a liar for claiming in her book that she was sacked from office because of her probe of some oil racketeers.
In a statement issued by his Media Adviser, Jonathan said Waziri was removed from office based on national interest as her continued stay in office hurt Nigeria’s global standing.
“We thought we had dealt with this matter, after promptly debunking similar statements she made in the past. In 2017 when she claimed that she lost her job because she “refused to back down from the probe of one of the masterminds of the fuel subsidy scam”, we quickly refuted and clarified the claim for the records, and even challenged her to name the individual or company in question.
“We had expected that a book from Mrs. Farida, coming years after the claim was first made, should have towed the path of honour by telling the truth for the benefit of history. Unfortunately, that still didn’t happen. It will be recalled that after assuming office as President on May 6, 2010, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan decided to retain Mrs. Waziri, who was appointed by his predecessor, late President Umaru Yar’Adua, as the head of the elite anti-crime agency.
“Despite obvious disenchantment from many Nigerians and mounting international pressure against Mrs. Waziri’s continued stay in office, the former President stood by her, in line with his conviction that every public officer should first be given the opportunity to deliver on his or her mandate.
“It must be pointed out that former President Jonathan had no personal issues with Mrs. Waziri. The former President had to eventually let her go in the national interest. Her removal therefore has a lot to do with reasons relating to Nigeria’s interest and global standing which details Dr. Goodluck Jonathan is obliged to keep as state secret in our common national interest. It is very important to note that when dealing with the interest of the nation and the performance of the functions of a public office, a determined leader cannot prioritise the interest of an individual,” the former president said.
“It therefore bore repeating here that Waziri’s removal as chairperson of EFCC had absolutely nothing to do with her purported refusal to desist from probing any oil individual, saying this claim sounded rather superficial and contradicted available evidence of the then government’s genuine efforts to combat oil subsidy racketeering” the statement said.
Jonathan said to prove that he had nothing to hide, his administration set up Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede-led committee to investigate the scandals in the oil sector.
“The choice of Aig-Aigboje, a man widely acclaimed for his dependability, as leader of the committee, was a clear demonstration that the President had no personal interest in the matter. Those who choose to continue to rue, like Mrs. Waziri, over the loss of public positions should realise that such a position, which is a public trust, is not an entitlement.
“They are usually given to individuals to provide service to the people. Public officers should therefore see such transitions as their own personal sacrifice to the nation. It is in this light that Mrs. Farida Waziri should view her removal from office. It was nothing personal. It was everything patriotic,” the statement stated.