Former presidential spokesman and chairman, Editorial Board of THISDAY newspaper Olusegun Adeniyi has dismissed allegations that former President Goodluck Jonathan rejected claims made in his new book, “Against the Run of Play,” which chronicles how Jonathan lost the 2015 presidential election.
According to Adeniyi, the former president only debunked claims made by other respondents in the book. In a statement he released recently, he argued that the fact that the former president rebuted claims by other respondents interviewed in the book did not represent an indictment of the book and the author’s claims.
“Against the Run of Play” which was launched on Friday in Lagos, had triggered controversy in the media before the launch.
In his reaction to claims made by other leading political actors in Adeniyi’s book over the weekend on his Facebook page, Jonathan had said that the book contains many distorted claims by some of the respondents, adding that he would soon come out with his own account.
According to Jonathan, “I have just read Segun Adeniyi’s new book, ‘Against the Run of Play’ which has so far enjoyed tremendous reviews in the media. My take on it is that the book as presented contains many distorted claims on the 2015 presidential election by many of the respondents.
“There will obviously be more books like that on this subject by concerned Nigerians. However, I believe that at the right time, the main characters in the election including myself will come out with a true account of what transpired either in major interviews or books.”
On his part, Adeniyi stated there had been attempts in a section of the social media to credit Mr. Jonathan with what he did not say about the book, in order to discredit the book and its author. His words: “The respondents President Jonathan was referring to are the people who spoke to me and whose claims he apparently disputes or disagrees with…President Jonathan did not say I distorted his views.”
Adeniyi further noted that after interviewing the former president, the raw text of the conversation was sent to him for appropriate amendment, adding that Jonathan removed, reworked and rephrased his accounts and provided further context in some areas.
Noted Adeniyi, “The reason I did that was so I would not misquote, misrepresent or distort the views of any of the people who spoke to me on trust. My intention was not to ambush or set up anyone. This is why I gave them the opportunity to go over what they told me again before putting it in print. Fortunately, none of them has come out to say I distorted their views.
“I went through this same process with former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former Senate President David Mark, APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State, former NGF Chairman and current Transportation Minister, Mr Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, former Niger State Governor, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu and a few other principal actors who all have in their emails the raw text of our conversations.
“For instance, President Obasanjo made some strong remarks about former Vice President Atiku Abubakar which I decided to remove even after he (Obasanjo) had approved it for publication. I did the same to some of the things others told me that I believed could raise unnecessary dust or distract from the story at hand.”