•Orders probe, says heads must roll
President Goodluck Jonathan has said that he has neither spoken to Moroccan King Mohammed VI nor told anybody that he had a telephone conversation with him. Presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati, told journalists in Abuja today that Jonathan was shocked, surprised and highly embarrassed by the controversy that had erupted over whether or not he had a telephone conversation with His Majesty, King Mohammed VI of Morocco. Sequel to a statement from the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday that Jonathan spoke to King Mohammed VI on the telephone, Morocco had Wednesday recalled its ambassador from Nigeria, accusing Jonathan's government of trying to use the monarch in an election campaign. But Jonathan's spokesman said at a news conference in Abuja this evening that "the regrettable furore" that had developed over the matter was due entirely to misinformation as Jonathan had neither spoken with King Mohammed or told anybody that he had a telephone conversation with the Moroccan monarch. Abati said it was true that Jonathan had 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). He said: "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". Abati said the president had, therefore, ordered Foreign Affairs Minister Aminu Wali to urgently undertake a full investigation of the claim which emanated from the ministry that the president spoke with King Mohammed VI. He said the investigation was to identify all those 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". According to the presidential aide, Jonathan has also ordered that prompt and commensurate disciplinary action be taken against the culpable person or persons.
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