By Jaiyeola Andrews and Ojo M. Maduekwe
President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday said the inclusion of his name on the list of African richest presidents, was baseless and libelous.
He therefore, demanded retraction and apology from the website that published it.
A website, RichestLifestyle.com had rated Jonathan as the sixth richest African President with an estimated net worth of $100 million.
The list placed Jonathan on the same position as King Mswati III of Swaziland. Others who made the list, from the first to ninth position respectively, were, Jose Eduardo dos Santos of Angola, King Mohammed VI of Morocco, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta of Kenya, Paul Biya of Cameroun, Idriss Deby of Chad, and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.
A statement issued by Jonathan’s spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, said the inclusion of the president’s name on the list was to deliberately portray him as corrupt.
“The presidency condemns the totally unwarranted inclusion of President Jonathan in the publication titled “Africa’s Richest Presidents 2014″ as another attempt to unjustifiably portray the President as a corrupt leader and incite public disaffection against him.”
According to Abati, there was no factual basis for ranking Jonathan as the sixth richest African Head of State. “As is well known, President Jonathan has never been a businessman or entrepreneur, but a life-long public servant. The president has held public office since 1999 and has regularly declared his assets as required by Nigerian laws.”
RichestLifestyle.com, while profiling how some of the Heads of State came about their wealth, did not explain how they reached the $100 million figure allegedly owned by Jonathan.
What they wrote was that, “He launched a “Roadmap for Power Sector Reform,” launched the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria and launched the Transformation Agenda. He is a member of the ruling “People Democratic Party.”
Also, the website failed to explain how Jonathan who has spent about four years in power was richer than Deby and Mugabe who had both spent 23 and 26 years in power respectively.
In the statement by the president spokesperson, he maintained that Jonathan, “has had no personal income since 1999 other than his official remuneration as deputy governor, governor, vice-president, acting president and president which are matters of public record.
“There has been no significant variation in the totality of his personal assets as contained in his last declaration to the Nigerian Code of Conduct Bureau in 2011 which, as can be verified, was a very, very far cry from the $100 million figure now being bandied about by Richest Lifestyle.com and other irresponsible, copy-cat publications.
“The clear and unacceptable imputation of the claim that President Jonathan is now worth about $100 Million is that the President has corruptly enriched himself while in office which is certainly not the case.
Jonathan therefore demand “a retraction and an unreserved apology from RichestLifestyle.com and all those who have reproduced the offensive article.
“Otherwise, they should be prepared to substantiate their libelous claims against the President in courts of law within and outside Nigeria,” the statement concluded