BY SAHARAREPORTERS, NEW YORK
Following the ThisDay report that former President Goodluck Jonathan has gone into exile in Ivory Coast, SaharaReporters can confirm that Mr. Jonathan has been away from Nigeria in recent months exploring several countries in Africa in which he could hide. This was as information leaked to him that some of his former aides have revealed to security agencies various acts of serious graft and mismanagement involving him. Several of those aides are currently under arrest and interrogation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
As a way of covering his tracks, Jonathan paid for and arranged several tours of the United States and the United Kingdom, some of which included buying awards from available colleges and universities to create a semblance of popularity.
Sources close to the former President revealed to SaharaReporters however that most western nations had started asking Mr. Jonathan hard questions relating to his corrupt activities in office, forcing him to seek ways of staying out of Nigeria.
He reportedly considered going to Kenya where there were speculations that he had financial ties to a dairy firm, but the Kenyans reportedly turned him down claiming the pressure will be too much for them should he be indicted for corruption and declared wanted.
In opting for Cote d’Ivoire, the former President is going back to an ally, Alassane Dramane Ouattara, who Jonathan assisted to power in 2010.
Jonathan reportedly used his connections with President Ouattara to invest in the refinery business in the country our sources revealed.
Ivorian officials in Washington DC told SaharaReporters earlier today that Mr. Jonathan has been living in Abidjan, the Ivorian capital, for close to two months but they could not confirm if he has been granted political asylum there.
Jonathan arrived back in Cote d’Ivoire from a trip to Ecuador about two weeks ago.
Contacted, Kone Seydou, the Cote d’Ivoire government spokesperson, said the government does not have any official position on Mr. Jonathan’s presence in the country.
Meanwhile, Mr. Jonathan is reportedly sending text messages to his friends in Nigeria saying that the ThisDay story is an attempt by publisher Nduka Obaigbena, who was an insider in Jonathan’s government, to “rubbish” him.
Mr. Obaigbena received vast sums of seedy money from the former National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki which is currently under probe by the EFCC following his arrest. It is unclear why he would want to “rubbish” Mr. Jonathan, as has been stated.