President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, warned those opposed to his administration, including former political allies trading allegations of his sponsorship of a terror squad that they were treading the path of treason.
The strong word of caution from the President followed the call for his impeachment by the All Progressives Congress, APC, in which he also debunked the allegation of training a sniper squad raised by former President Olusegun Obasanjo. President Jonathan rebuked the APC for allegedly ganging up with Obasanjo against him.
The demand for the president’s impeachment also drew mixed reactions.
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in a sharp reaction flayed the APC, saying the opposition party’s real intention was to derail the country’s democracy, having
failed in its original aim of decimating the PDP as a way of winning the 2015 elections.
Reactions to the call also came from geopolitical organizations including Ohaneze, Afenifere, Arewa Consultative Forum, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, New Northern Political Frontiers, NNPF, and some members of the National Assembly. Alhaji Balarabe Musa, the first governor to be impeached since the advent of the presidential system of government on his part said there were stronger reasons to impeach the President than those raised by the APC as he cited multiple allegations of corruption raised against the administration’s top officials.
The APC’s call for impeachment of the president was contained in a statement issued by the party’s Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed who said the request was the only way to sustain the unity of the country.
“Our country is drifting dangerously and our people are divided now perhaps more than at any other point in our history, with the exception of the civil war period. There is a total failure of leadership, even as insecurity, unprecedented corruption, palpable impunity, massive unemployment and hunger stalk the land.”
“Since the raison d’etre of any government is the security and welfare of the citizenry, and the present administration has failed to live up to the justification of its existence, there can be no other definition of gross misconduct than that,” the APC deposed.
“Therefore, the time has come for the head of that government, on whose desk the buck stops, to be removed through the provisions stipulated in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This is the patriotic thing to do,” the APC said as it warned the National Assembly that failure to impeach the president would make it also culpable in whatever fate befalls the nation.
The APC alluded to the recent court action instituted by the PDP to remove five of the governors that recently left the office as one of the possible triggers that could precipitate the doomsday for the nation.
“One such scenario is the present challenge in court by the PDP of the defection to the APC of five state governors. The PDP has gone to court fully aware of the ruling of the Supreme Court after the party (PDP) attempted to make then Vice President Atiku Abubakar lose his seat and to also strip him of his privileges following his defection to the ACN.
“What then can be the sole motive behind the PDP’s action: To plunge Nigeria into chaos! This is why we issued a strong warning in our statement of Dec. 5th thus: ‘We wish to state unequivocally that should the PDP go ahead with this plan, there will be widespread repercussions as the APC has resolved that henceforth, every act of impunity of the PDP and the Presidency will be met with stiff resistance in the form of a vociferous telegraphing of people power, the likes of which have not been witnessed in these parts’.
“We reiterate those words today, and make bold to say that not even the revelation by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, that snipers are being trained secretly and that 1,000 people have been placed on political watch, will deter us from saving this democracy, which was watered by the sweat and blood of many patriots, long before this generation of opportunists stormed the political scene,” it said.
“The talk out there now is that Nigeria has never had it so bad. But the government may not know because it has distanced itself from the people. Therefore, for embracing corruption so much and providing succour to corrupt public officials; for threatening the country’s fragile unity through divisive policies and politics, for frittering away the nation’s resources through unprecedented cronyism and clannishness, and for a total failure of leadership, this President deserves to be slammed with the cudgel of impeachment,” it said.
Read APC’s full letter here ‘Impeach Jonathan before he crashes Nigeria, APC tells National Assembly’
In his reaction to the allegation, President Jonathan in a statement issued on his behalf by his Special Adviser on Media, Dr. Rueben Abati warned the APC spokesman that he was playing with treason.
Noting the allegation that President Jonathan was training a terror squad to harass his political opponents which was first raised by former president Obasanjo, Abati said it was evident that the two were now in cahoots against the Jonathan administration.
The statement read:
“We have noted with utter disdain, the reckless and irresponsible call by the APC on Sunday for the National Assembly to commence impeachment proceedings against President Goodluck Jonathan.
“Ordinarily, we would not have dignified Alhaji Lai Mohammed’s latest vituperations in the service of his paymasters with a response, but we thought it necessary to warn that the Federal Government will not standby idly and let the nation be plunged into unnecessary crises and political instability because of the desperation and apparent readiness of the APC spokesman and his gang of power-seeking desperadoes to sacrifice the well-being of the country on the altar of their selfish personal ambitions.
“The Presidency totally condemns the decision by Alhaji Mohammed and his party to move further beyond the bounds of honourable and acceptable political conduct with the senseless call for the impeachment of a President who continues to sincerely devote himself to the discharge of the sacred mandate freely given to him by Nigerians.
“The APC, which remains a minority party with doubtful credentials in the National Assembly, knows fully well that its attempts to hector and blackmail a Parliament dominated by loyal members of the President’s party, the PDP, into an impeachment process, will come to nothing.
But it has cavalierly embarked on this outrageous gambit, with scant regard for peace, order, security and political stability in the country, in furtherance of its dastardly and heinous strategy of over-heating the polity and working to cause public disaffection against the Jonathan Presidency with lies, false accusations and unjustifiable indictments ahead of the 2015 general elections.
The emptiness and hollowness of the APC’s call for President Jonathan’s impeachment will be obvious to all objective and discerning Nigerians who read through the statement issued by Alhaji Mohammed today. It was long on self-serving rhetoric and falsehoods, but lacked a single clearly defined charge on the basis of which any plausible impeachment proceedings against the President can be initiated.
“All that the APC could offer in justification of its absurd and hare-brained impeachment call was a rehash of its well-worn litany of baseless accusations against the President, including some for which culpability should be laid squarely at the doorsteps of its own leaders and some of their new friends.
“The Presidency also considers it utterly deplorable that the APC has, in its Machiavellian desperation to seize control of the Federal Government, recklessly assailed the integrity and honour of the Nigerian Judiciary in a callous attempt to pre-empt the outcome of the case legitimately brought against it and some of its new friends by the PDP.
“Alhaji Mohammed’s unscrupulous effort to drag the nation’s judiciary into its murky political warfare and his readiness to intimidate and blackmail members of the bench so as to secure a favourable outcome for his party in the pending case clearly shows that nothing is beyond the pale for him and the APC in pursuit of their quest for power.
“The Jonathan Administration does not need Lai Mohammed or the APC to remind it of its constitutional responsibility for the security and well-being of Nigerians. The President will continue to do his utmost best to achieve positive national transformation in all areas in spite of efforts by the opposition to thwart or disparage the work of his administration.
“In this regard, we have noted the undisguised threat by the APC to foster public insurrection against the Federal Government if pending legal cases go against it. We urge Nigerians to take special note of this boastful indication of an intention to resort to lawlessness.
“The Presidency warns that the APC and any persons who make themselves its willing tools for the breach of public order and safety will be made to face the full sanctions of the law. Those who are threatening fire and brimstone should be ready for consequences of treasonable action.
“The APC’s false copy-cat allegation that 1, 000 snipers are being trained by the Jonathan Administration clearly shows that they are now in cahoots with some other elements who are bent on discrediting this administration and inciting the public against it.
President Jonathan is running a people’s government. He does not need any snipers. His legitimacy comes from the people. Those who are alleging the existence of snipers should step forward and provide the evidence or shut up forever and go down in history as spineless cowards, driven by sheer greed and indecency.
“We dismiss the APC’s call for the President’s impeachment as opportunistic, partisan and ill-motivated.
“We call on patriots to make the necessary distinction between such reckless violations of civic duty and the urgent need to protect the integrity of the Nigerian nation against those who for selfish reasons have declared their readiness to stop at nothing.”
The PDP in a sharp reaction described the call as irresponsible, immature, self-seeking and part of their larger agenda to truncate democracy in Nigeria.
“Upon their realization that they will not win in the 2015 general elections following the failure of their plans to break the ranks and strength of the PDP, they now seek to use all means to cause confusion in the land. The APC knows the implication of the call which is to cause massive turmoil and destroy the unity of our dear nation,” the PDP said in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh.
Metuh concluded that “the PDP is ready, willing and able to stop them in their track.”
There’s a sinister move for regime change —Odumakin
Reacting to the development, Afenifere, the Yoruba socio-cultural organization described the APC’s call as part of an orchestrated and sinister plan against the administration’s plan for a national conference.
Afenifere’s spokesperson, Mr Yinka Odumakin in a telephone interview said:
“Well, they are letting the cat out of the bag. There is a co-ordinated assault to have a regime change in order to abort the national conference. Look at this point: Last week Monday, Tambuwal made his own comment, by Tuesday, they released Lamido’s letter, by Wednesday, they released Obasanjo’s letter and by Sunday, APC is calling for Jonathan’s resignation. They have not heard the President out to hear his own side.”
“The lawyers said hear both parties, why don’t they wait for his (Jonathan’s) response before they begin to call for action? How can you hold Obasanjo’s word without hearing his (Jonathan’s) own word and then ask for his resignation? I think they are jumping the gun and they are showing that there is a sinister agenda that is being coordinated by forces that want to abort the national conference by calling for a regime change.”
They’re talking trash — Ohaneze
Ohaneze, the Igbo socio-cultural group on its part said impeaching Jonathan would lead to the end of Nigeria.
Speaking through its Secretary General, Dr Joe Nwaorgu, he said that the call arose from inequity in the structure of the National Assembly.
Warning, he said: “Impeach Jonathan, impeach Nigeria,” he said: “That is arrant rubbish. How do you impeach the man when he has not been found guilty of anything? Have you investigated him? That is why we want this country restructure. They are talking trash because of the structure of the National Assembly. If there was justice in the structure of the National Assembly will they say so?”
Caution should be applied on the issue —ACF spokesperson
In his own reaction, the ACF through its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Anthony Sani, called for caution saying that he was not in possession with the facts that instigated the call.
“I do not know the facts which APC has in its possession that informed its call on the National Assembly to commence impeachment proceedings Against President Jonathan. I cannot comment from uninformed position. But if it is based on the letter President Obasanjo wrote to President Goodluck Jonathan, I would advise in favour of caution because the issues raised in the letter are still at the level of allegations.”
He further said, ”Some of the issues raised border on security which may require thorough investigations. Regrettably the letter by the former President has attracted different kinds of comments that tend to generate more heat than the needed light, which is not helpful. That is why I would plead with the presidency, the media, spirited individuals, groups including political parties to concentrate on issues raised, with utmost caution for public good. And in doing so, they must avoid generalisations and stick to what they know.”
Due process should be followed—Arewa Youths
National President of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shetima on his part called for due process in whatever action is taken against the president even as he flayed recent agitations against the Jonathan administration by former President Obasanjo.
In a chat with Vanguard, Shetima said “well, they are entitled to call for Jonathan’s impeachment. But there is due process to this, the National Assembly will carry out its own investigations and if he is found guilty, then he can be impeached.”
He nevertheless, objected to linking the call to the allegations made against the president by Obasanjo.
“Obasanjo was president for eight years and he was also the Minister in the Power sector, has anybody probed him? On the issue of insecurity, does he want Jonathan to do what he did in Zaki Biam or Odi? Or what exactly does he want him to do? On corruption, is there any government that is more corrupt than Obasanjo’s government? No one has asked him to give account of his stewardship.”
“APC can call for his impeachment, but then, let there be due process and if found wanting, let him face the law because nobody is above the law, but Obasanjo’s allegations are baseless, there is nothing about his allegations.”
‘Senate not heeding APC’s call’
In his reaction Senator Ita Enang, PDP, Akwa Ibom North East said the Senate would neither heed the call of the APC nor pay attention to the letter from President Obasanjo.
“Former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter was not addressed to the National Assembly. The issue of impeachment has not arisen. The issue of impeachment of the president has not at all arisen.
“APC should know that they are part of the government of this country and by being part of the government by heading some states, they should not think that by inventing some lies and using cronies, they will be able to overheat the polity and create an unnecessary change in the government of this country.
“They should know that there are some national leaders of APC who were formerly heads of government of this country and nobody did what they are doing now to the government of President Goodluck Jonathan.”
‘APC lacks credibility to make the call’
Reacting to the call yesterday, Rep. Samson Okwu, Oji/Odu Federal Constituency, BenueState flayed the APC saying the party lacked the credibility to make the call.
“APC as a party lacks the credibility and the constitutional power to ask for the impeachment of Mr. President because from what they have lined up there, it is only the National Assembly that is empowered; they cannot urge the National Assembly to start off impeachment process because it’s only the membership of the National Assembly, that is the Senate and the House of Representatives, that will come up with issues of any misconduct on Mr. President.”
Rep. Nkoyo Toyo, Calabar Municipal/Oduakpani Federal Constituency, CrossRiverState on her part said the APC’s call was within the scope of freedom of speech
“All forms of views remain essential for a democracy and such a call is at best a call for a debate and engagement of the issues by the ruling party not necessarily Mr. president. I have no doubt that at the appropriate time reactions will follow.”
NNPF condemns call
The New Northern Political Frontiers, NNPF, on its part condemned the call saying the call could not be linked with what it described as mere allegations raised against President Jonathan by Obasanjo.
The NNPF in statement signed by its Chairman, Dr. Abdul Isiaq, described the call by the APC as capable of unnecessarily heating up the polity.
“We condemn the recent statement by the All Progressives Congress, APC, calling on the National Assembly to immediately kick-starting the process of impeaching President Goodluck Jonathan for gross misconduct.