by Kolapo Olapoju
As opposed to the claim by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, President Goodluck Jonathan has admitted that he did not have a telephone conversation with King Mohammed VI of Morocco.
Jonathan revealed on Friday, March 13, that he also never informed anyone that he spoke with the Moroccan king.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had initially issued a statement, claiming that the President spoke with the Moroccan king, however, officials of the kingdom refuted the claims, after which their ambassador was recalled from Nigeria.
Jonathan has now cleared the air on the controversy by clarifying the debacle through a statement released by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati
The statement said the controversy generated over the matter was due “to misinformation as President Jonathan has neither spoken with King Mohammed nor told anybody that he had a telephone conversation with the Moroccan Monarch”.
“It is true that President Jonathan has been speaking with some African leaders to seek their support for Nigeria’s candidate for the position of President of the African Development Bank (AfDB). In continuation of his efforts in support of the candidacy of the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina for headship of the AfDB, President Jonathan indicated that he would like to speak with the King of Morocco, the President of Algeria and the President of Egypt.”
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was consequently directed to make necessary contacts with the embassies of the three countries and arrange for President Jonathan to speak with their leaders.
“Since that directive was given, President Jonathan has spoken with the Prime Minister of Algeria and subsequently sent Vice President Namadi Sambo to Algiers as Special Envoy to follow-up on his discussions with the Algerian Prime Minister on support for Nigeria’s candidate in the coming elections for the AfDB Presidency.
The President has, however, not yet spoken with King Mohammed VI and President Al-Sisi of Egypt as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must know.
“The investigation is to identify all those who were responsible for the unacceptable act of official misinformation which has resulted in an unnecessary diplomatic row with another country and national embarrassment. It is also expected to unveil the motives of the culprits.”
“President Jonathan has also ordered that prompt and commensurate disciplinary action be taken against the culpable person or persons.”