There Was No Political Prisoner During My Tenure, Says Jonathan

Immediate Past President Of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan at Oxford Union Conference

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has revealed that there
was no political prisoner during his tenure.

He said this on Saturday, October 29, 2016, at the annual
Merit Awards Dinner of the Nigerian Lawyers Association in the United States of

Jonathan also said no Nigerian was a prisoner of conscience
because of what he or she wrote about his administration.

The former President also called on lawyers in Diaspora to
protect the sanctity of democratic institutions.

GEJ said “As you all know, most of my principal aides in
government hailed from different ethnic nationalities.

“My Administration
established 12 Universities, out of which 9 were cited in the Northern part of
the country and 3 in the South.

“The same spirit guided our construction of 165 Al-Majiri
schools to cater for the disadvantaged children in the North.

“I am proud to say
that while we were conscious of the Federal Character as our constitutional
guiding principle, we never placed ethno-religious interest above merit or
individual values.

“Accordingly, diversity could remain a strength only when
all interest groups in the society feel safe and secured, in their day to day

“That is why no matter what any critic said about me, I ensured that
there was both freedom of speech and freedom after the speech.

“Under my watch
not a single Nigerian was sent to prison because of anything he or she wrote or
said about me or about the Administration that I headed.

“Nigeria had no political prisoners under my Administration
and we certainly did not have any prisoners of conscience because we ourselves
ensured that we acted according to our conscience in all we did.

“You in the
diaspora can attest to the fact that Nigeria had no political exile.

“Not only did I take a stance to allow people express their
opinions without let or fear, we also enacted the Freedom of Information Act
and by that, we tore the veil of secrecy covering governance. Nigerians deserve
to know how their government functions.

“I am proud to say that we gave them
knowledge, and that is a genie you cannot put back to the lamp.

“We gave institutions unlimited freedom and ensured that the
Nigerian Bar Association and other professional unions, fraternities and guilds
were completely devoid of any governmental influence.”

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo recently said the Federal
Government will not interfere if any security agency decides to probe former
President Goodluck Jonathan.


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