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The Presidency on Monday refuted insinuations that President Goodluck
Jonathan contested the chairmanship of the African Union but lost to the
President of Benin Republic, Yayi Boni.
Yayi was elected African Union chairman at the union’s 18th Session
which just ended in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The development triggered insinuations that President Jonathan might
have lost the contest to Yayi.
However in a swift reaction by Dr Reuben Abati, Special Adviser to the
President, said President Jonathan did not contest for the seat much
more losing it to Yayi.
Here is the full text of the terse statement signed by Abati:
“It has come to our attention that some media houses are alleging that
President Goodluck Jonathan was "defeated" by President Yayi Boni of
Benin Republic in the “contest” to elect a new African Union Chairman at
the 18th AU summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This report is false and is
only the latest in a series of sensational and fictional reporting in a bid to
cast the administration of President Jonathan in bad light. Let me make
the following clear:
“It is not true that President Yayi Boni “defeated” President Goodluck
Jonathan in an election; there was no contest in the first place and
President Jonathan was not a candidate for the AU Chairmanship position.
“It is also not true that President John Atta Mills opposed President
Jonathan at any time. Ghana and Nigeria enjoy excellent relations.
“It is true, however, that in the last week, some newspapers have been
speculating that President Jonathan may be adopted by the ECOWAS
Heads of States and Governments to be the next chairman of the African
Union, since it was the turn of ECOWAS to produce the AU Chairman for
2012-2013. Mr. President was indeed approached by leaders within and
outside the West African sub-region to take up the challenge of leading
the AU for the next one year.
“While appreciating this kind gesture, President Jonathan resolved that he
needed time to focus on domestic affairs in Nigeria, and that it would be
practically difficult for him to combine the three positions of President of
Nigeria, Chairman of ECOWAS and Chairman of African Union. He
therefore rejected the offer.
“In order to make his position clear, President Jonathan, in his capacity
as ECOWAS Chairman, summoned a mini-Summit of ECOWAS at the
AU Commission Headquarters on Saturday, January 28, 2012, to ensure
that there was a meeting of minds on the position of AU Chairman. His
preference, he noted, would be for ECOWAS to adopt the leader of
another country, in order to promote a sense of belonging among member-
states. Nigeria, having occupied the position of AU Chairman four times in
the past, would readily support any such country.
“As it turned out, the President of the Republic of Benin had indicated
interest in the position, which paved the way for his unanimous adoption
by the ECOWAS Heads of State as the sub-region’s candidate for the AU
Chair. Thus, it becomes obvious that President Jonathan rather than
being “defeated” by President Yayi Boni of Benin actually facilitated his
emergence as AU Chairman”.
Jonathan did not contest AU chairmanship
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Tuesday, January 31, 2012