Thursday, October 9, 2014 8:23 pm
Richestlifestyle.com, the US website that gave Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan, the 6th richest African leader trophy, has recanted its report, after threats of legal action by Nigeria’s presidency.
The website, since 6 September had done a ranking for 10 African leaders, with Jose Eduardo dos Santos of Angola, leading the group with an estimated worth of $20billion and his wife $3.8billion. The faceless website then put Nigeria’s Jonathan in the 6th place. It justified its reports by saying that its compilation was based on information from Forbes.com, ForeignPolicy.com, CelebrityNetWorth.com and Cabinda.net.
But after the Nigerian threat issued yesterday, the site deleted the reference to Jonathan and it now has nine African leaders listed.
From Wednesday and up till Thursday, Nigerian websites and newspapers fed on the story, to the embarrassment of President Jonathan.
Jonathan’s inclusion in the article was “baseless and libellous,” his office said in a statement.
“President Jonathan has never been a businessman or entrepreneur,” it added.
“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,” it said.
Jonathan’s office demanded “a retraction and an unreserved apology from Richest Lifestyle.com and all those who have reproduced the offensive article,” and threatened action “in courts of law within and outside Nigeria.”
While there was no retraction or apology on the site, the item concerning Jonathan has been removed.
Emails to the contact address for richestlifestyle.com were not delivering on Thursday and the site’s managers were not available to comment on either the research supporting the article or why the Jonathan item had been removed. Indeed, TheNEWS could not find any name linked with the site.
Analysts said Nigerian presidency’s swift response to the previously obscure website’s claims highlights the sensitivity of corruption as a political issue in Nigeria.
The country’s vast oil wealth has for decades been squandered by the ruling elite and Jonathan has sought to portray his administration as a departure from the corrupt regimes of the past, even if many experts say graft has hit record high levels.
Jonathan is in the coming weeks expected to announce his re-election bid for February polls and Nigeria’s main opposition has already signalled that it intends to make corruption a key issue in the campaign.