Former Minister of Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Malam Nasir el-Rufai stirred the hornet’s nest on Thursday evening when he claimed that he is number 7 on the purported watch list of President Goodluck Jonathan.
el-Rufai, who made the claim via his tweeter handle, identified four other prominent Nigerians including former military head of state, General (Retd) Muhammadu Buhari; a former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu; the Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, and a former Osun State Governor and Interim Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Bisi Akande, as also making the list.
The existence of a purported political watch list came to public limelight when a former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in a letter dated December 2, 2013, accused Jonathan of training snipers and putting 1,000 people on a watch list. Obasanjo had also accused Jonathan of clandestinely arming a killer-squad.
However, the President denied the allegations in his own letter to the former president, dated December 20, 2013. In the said letter, Jonathan described the Ota farmer as a liar and challenged him to provide evidence to support his allegations.
Shortly after the president’s denial, Amaechi seemed to give more credence to the allegation when he identified himself as the number one person on the alleged watch list.
Amaechi had made the allegation at a rally of the APC held at the Liberation Stadium in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on December 28, 2013, where he formally declared for the opposition party.
He had said: “I read the President’s letter; he said Obasanjo should prove and name those on the list. I am number one on the list. I am number one”.
That claim was also debunked by the presidency which challenged the Rivers governor to substantiate his claim or stop attempting to pull everybody around him down.
However, the former FCT minister stoked fresh controversy when tweeted that he would start worrying when those ahead of him, including the four names mentioned above, got killed.
All the persons identified in el-Rufai’s tweet are members of the main opposition party-APC.
His tweet which followed other series which were critical of Jonathan’s administration in the course of the evening, stated:
“On this note, I am going to bed. I am number 7 on the GEJ (Goodluck Ebele Jonathan) snipers’ list, so I will only worry when GMB (General Muhammadu Buhari), Asiwaju, Amaechi, Akande etc are killed”.
In response to an enquiry by another user of the very popular micro-blogging site on el-Rufai’s allegations, the Special Assistant to the President on New Media, Reno Omokri, wrote, “Paranoia-Mental illness characterised by delusions. Patients threaten others yet believe they’re the one under threat”.