Former President Goodluk Jonathan has come under attack for misquoting President Nana Akuffo-Addo over the security situation in Nigeria.
Jonathan had, at the commissioning of a flyover in Ado Ekiti, said that Nigeria had deteriorated so much that it had lost its respect in Africa.
Jonathan in his speech at the inauguration on May 25 said: “A President of a neighbouring country, Ghana, recently made two negative remarks about Nigeria. First, the current Ghanaian President was addressing Ghanaians about the movement of cattle within their shores and he said openly that Ghana is not like Nigeria where cattle roam freely. That was quite uncomplimentary.
According to Jonathan, “the same President was speaking in the United Kingdom when he made disparaging remarks about Nigeria’s currency’’.
“If it has got to a level when the Presidents of neighbouring countries will cite Nigeria as a negative example, then we must know as leaders of this country that certain things are not going well, and we must change the way we do things.”
But the Ghana’s High Commissioner in Nigeria, Rashid Bawa, has come to say President Akuffo-Addo never said such things against Nigeria.
He denounced ex-President Jonathan for misquoting his President.
He said Jonathan took the words of President Akufo-Addo completely out of context when he quoted the Ghanaian leader as mocking Nigeria.
The High Commissioner said Nigeria’s ex-President misquoted Ghana’s President’s speech delivered at the Oxford African Conference.
He recalled the exact words of President Akufo-Addo: ‘For most of you in the audience today, it is probably before your time. But in the late 1970s up to the mid-1980s, as a result of the discovery of considerable petroleum deposits, Nigeria was booming. It was the place to be.
‘We Ghanaians, who were going through very difficult times then, would arrive at Heathrow Airport, and be herded into a cage to be subjected to the full third degree by Immigration , and we would look on as our Nigerian cousins would be waved through, with a ‘welcome sir’ and a ‘welcome madam’ .
‘The newspaper headlines in this country were full of Nigerians leaving or forgetting bundles of money in taxis and telephone booths. Nigerians were the preferred tenants for those who had apartments to let. You could stop by any Thomas Cook shop on any High Street in this country and buy or sell Naira, the Nigerian currency, and you could do the same in New York, and I suspect in many other Western country cities.
‘I do not need to spell out today’s reality to anyone in this audience. I cite this just to make the point that the “the outside world” is well able to tell that there are separate sovereign nations on the African continent. But when the news is not good, then Africa is treated as one entity.’
Bawa disagreed also with Jonathan’s reference to Akufo-Addo’s purported disposition towards cattle-rearing. “The other alleged remark that ‘Ghana is not Nigeria where cattle can roam about anyhow’ has never been made by President Akufo-Addo. That is not his way of speaking.
“President Akufo-Addo, in many of the speeches he has made in Nigeria and elsewhere since becoming the President of Ghana, has described Nigeria as ‘a country I describe as my second home in the world’, and will never use Nigeria to make negative examples as the former President Goodluck Jonathan sought to portray.
“President Akufo-Addo enjoys a very good relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari , as he has with many other Nigerian leaders.
“Ghana and Nigeria are like siblings, and it would be most inappropriate, because of politics, for anyone, regardless of his or her status in society, to try to sow seeds of discord amongst the leadership and peoples of our two countries.”