President Goodluck Jonathan
Says Fashola’s comment on Lagos armed robbery incident irresponsible
‘Jonathan did not have telephone conversation with Morocco king’
APC tells President to apologise to Nigerians over row
Jaiyeola Andrews and Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Presidency on Friday rebuffed claims by the former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, that he was offered the position of vice president by President Goodluck Jonathan in an alleged interim government, describing the allegation as false, misleading.
Also, the Presidency walked back on claims that Jonathan had a telephone conversation with King Mohammed of Morocco; it also said it was irresponsible and reckless for Governor Raji Fashola of Lagos State to have linked the President’s recent presence in Lagos to the recent heinous crime perpetrated in the state.
Tinubu had recently stated in a statement by his media office, that Jonathan offered him the position of vice president in an alleged interim government. However, he did not indicate where and how the offer was made.
But Presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati while briefing State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa said as an elected president, Jonathan would not push for an unconstitutional interim government.
Abati stressed that at no time did Jonathan make such an offer to Tinubu, saying the All Progressives Congress chieftain’s claim was a figment of his imagination, and as such should be disregarded.
The Presidential spokesman said: “Tinubu lied on the interim government issue, which Jonathan will never subscribe to as a believer and beneficiary of true democracy. Given the configuration of the country, for there to be a southern president and president from the same zone, was totally absurd.
“Except people have not been following the news or they have chosen willfully to play deaf and dumb, they will know and the facts are there that President Jonathan has said again and again, that the idea of an interim national government is preposterous and to use his exact words also treasonable. And that he has never anywhere discussed that idea with anybody and he has never proposed it at any forum.
“That as President of Nigeria, the democratically elected president his ambition can never be to head an Interim National Government under whatever circumstances.
“He is going to this presidential election on the basis of the records of his achievements. On the conviction that he has served Nigerians well and the overwhelming majority of Nigerians are appreciative of the achievements of his administration and are therefore solidly behind him and will vote for him massively on March 28.
“He therefore has no reason whatsoever to support such an unconstitutional proposition as Interim National Government which in its fullest will amount to assault on democratic principles under this circumstance.
“Again if you de-construct the statement that purportedly emanated from the office of the Asiwaju Tibunu, you will see again the absurd nature of it. The absolutely ridiculous nature of it in the sense that given the configuration of Nigeria, is not likely, totally impossible to have an ING arrangement in which you will have a southerner as the president and then another southerner as vice president. It is absurd. It is not something that is likely to work given the nature of our politics.
“But the Tinubu camp putting out that statement was so much in a hurry to engage in their usual game of deceiving the public, that the emptiness, the hollowness, the shallowness of their proposition escaped them. And what I have tried to do is to expose them that shallowness, that hollowness and to appeal to all right thinking persons to dismiss it as another gimmick coming from a desperate political group seeing that defeat is steering them in the face are resorting to greater desperation. And who knows may witness even far greater desperation from their camp as we get closer to election day. But our appeal to Nigerians is that this country is greater than everyone’s ambition and at the end of the day what is important is Nigeria.
“And those who seem determined to pull down this country with lies, with black information, they are the enemies of this country and do not deserve to be given the opportunity to occupy, to enjoy opportunities that they do not deserve.”
FG: Fashola’s comment on Lagos armed robbery incident irresponsible…
Also, the Presidency described as irresponsible, the statement by Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola that Jonathan was responsible for the recent armed robbery incident in the state that left three policemen dead. The presidency said it was reckless for Fashola to have linked Jonathan’s presence in Lagos to the heinous crime.
Abati said: “The governor allegedly said that all the policemen who should have been responsible for security in the state had been deployed to serve President Jonathan. You will all recall that President Jonathan sounded the gong closing the business of the day at the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
“We consider the statement attributed to Fashola as grossly and utterly irresponsible. We expect that a man of his status who is governor of a state should speak more responsibly. It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever that the entire police formation in Lagos State would be deployed to protect the President of Nigeria.
“The visit of the president to Lagos or any part of the country does not necessitate the depletion of the police force active in that particular state of environment.
“President has a defied team that protects him anywhere he goes. And again President Jonathan does not need the entire police force in Lagos State to protect him, in a state where he is loved by the people and where as we have seen he enjoys overwhelming support in the lead up to the 2015 presidential elections.
“We not only consider Governor Babatunde Fashola statement as irresponsible, we also think that it is unintelligent because it flies in the face of facts and it just does not add up.
We hope that Governor Fashola in an attempt to play politics will not continue as his party does, to play politics with the lives of people. People died in that unfortunate incident and President Jonathan commiserate with the affected families. But we will find it really cheap and disgusting that the governor of a state will now see that, an occasion of bereavement affecting the number of families as an opportunity to play very cheap and irresponsible politics.”
‘Jonathan Did Not Have Telephone Conversation with Morocco King’…
Meanwhile, the Presidency yesterday denied claims that President Jonathan had a telephone conversation with King Mohammed of Morocco.
It said the information that caused diplomatic spat was misleading, adding that those behind the false information would be fished out and dealt with accordingly.
Abati said the president was shocked and highly “embarrassed by the controversy that had erupted over whether or not he had a telephone conversation with King Mohammed.
“It is true that President Jonathan has 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). 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.
President Jonathan has therefore ordered the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wali to urgently undertake a full investigation of the claim which emanated from the Ministry that the President spoke with King Mohammed VI.
“The investigation is to identify all those who were 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.”
APC tells President to apologise to Nigerians over row…
In a related development, the APC has asked President Jonathan to apologize to Nigerians “for the embarrassment that he has caused them over his phantom phone conversation with the King of Morocco.”
”In our earlier statement on the issue, we gave President Jonathan the benefit of the doubt by asking him to clarify what happened, just as the Moroccan King had done. Instead, a loquacious spokesman for the President decided to abuse us instead of addressing the issues.
“That tells us that, indeed, these people have something to hide over the phony phone conversation,” the party said in a statement issued in Lagos yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.