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Presidency, APC Clash Over Obasanjo-Jonathan Letters



… the President’s response read like the stuff of gossip magazines, and the exchange of words felt like what

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one would have expected in a beer parlour –APC There is nothing like desecration of the Presidency in this matter. It is the APC and its cohorts… that are desecrating the Presidency –Gulak The All Progressives Congress and the Presidency returned to a familiar turf on Thursday as they engaged each other in a war of words over the exchange of letters between President Goodluck Jonathan and former President Olusegun Obasanjo. While the APC accused Jonathan of desecrating his Presidency by responding in an indecent manner to Obasanjo’s letter, the Presidency said it was the opposition party that was doing a damage to the Presidency. The APC , in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the President crossed the threshold of decency and brought the Presidency – and indeed the country -into disrepute by not exercising caution in its response to the letter written to Jonathan by Obasanjo. It added that Jonathan had further diminished the Presidency with the way he replied Obasanjo’s letter. It argued that in other climes, the President would have simply issued a terse response to such a letter denying the allegations that border on national security, if any; as well as saying the former President’s observations had been noted. According to the APC , Jonathan should have said the government would study the issues raised by Obasanjo and then engage him in private. A part of the statement reads, ‘’Instead, the President’s response read like the stuff of gossip magazines, and the exchange of words felt like what one would have expected in a beer parlour. “At the end of the day, the Presidency allowed Obasanjo to take the higher moral ground by simply insisting on the allegations he made in his letter and saying he would not respond to the Presidency’s reply.” The APC said the President, who accused Obasanjo of doing him a great injustice, had equally done a great injustice to the Presidency, which it described as an institution in which he (Jonathan) is only a tenant. It added that in the end, “President of Africa’s most populous nation, the leader of the foremost black nation on earth and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria simply desecrated his own Presidency and allowed those who can only be likened to gravy train passengers, rascals and knaves to seize the initiative from him.” The APC said this was what would happen when a President was surrounded by those it described as self-serving, bootlicking and dishonest people, at the expense of seasoned technocrats and veteran policymakers. The party said the President was not unaware of this because he struggled in his letter to maintain some minimum level of decorum, and then quickly lost control and engaged in a bare-knuckle fight. The opposition party said the President himself knew that he ought not to have engaged in such exchange when he wrote early on in his letter: ‘It is with the greatest possible reluctance that I now write this reply. I am most uneasy about embarking on this unprecedented and unconventional form of open communication between me and a former leader of our country because I know that there are more acceptable and dignified means of doing so.’ However, the APC said the President quickly jettisoned such reluctance and, in an “unfortunate debasement of the tone and quality of statecraft, went full blast, calling the former President a liar, a conflict instigator and an unreliable ally, among other inferred derogatory labels that may have now shut the window of reconciliation between him and his political godfather, in addition to portraying Nigerian leaders as delinquents.” It added, ‘’To worsen matters, President Jonathan could not restrain himself from using even the revered and ecclesial platform provided by his appearance at a Church service on Christmas Day to further lambast his critics and spew out hot words.” This method, according to the APC, is not what is expected of a President, a leader and anyone who wants to be a nation builder. But the Presidency did not take the APC statement lightly as it said it was the opposition party and its cohorts that were desecrating the Presidency. It said Jonathan did no wrong by responding to the letter by Obasanjo. The Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Mr. Ahmed Gulak, said because the former President raised germane issues in his 18-page letter, Nigerians were waiting for the President to respond. He said a letter that emanated from Obasanjo could not be described as an ordinary one because he had written to ex-Presidents in the past. He said, “A letter from Obasanjo is not an ordinary letter and the former President is not an ordinary person. You know he has been writing former Presidents before now. “He raised issues that were germane and Nigerians were expecting the President’s response. The President has therefore responded. “There is nothing like desecration of the Presidency in this matter. It is the APC and its cohorts who do not see any difference between politics and national issues that are desecrating the Presidency. Nigerians are wiser.” When contacted, the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party said the APC should not use the Christmas period to engage in politics. The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, who spoke with our correspondent on the opposition party’s claim that Jonathan had desecrated his Presidency, also urged politicians not to politicise every issue. Metuh said, “Our reaction is that this is a solemn period for the country and the Nigerian Christians. We must know that this is a period we must be solemn with the homeless, the orphans and the less privileged in the society. “We are not therefore ready to engage in fight with anyone at this period. We must learn to respect each other.” Meanwhile, Obasanjo has been urged by South-South leaders and stakeholders to stop harassing, intimidating, stampeding and blackmailing Jonathan. Rising from their meeting in Abuja on Thursday, they reminded Obasanjo that they were not the ones that aborted his third term bid. Their spokesperson, Chief Bello Premier, condemned the Obasanjo letter as doom and false alarm. Premier said, “Obasanjo is only shouting wolf when there is none in sight. The letter is full of premeditated ideas geared towards undermining the integrity of the South-South people and intended to keep them perpetually as minority in the political scheme of Nigeria as a nation.” “There is no way where one man (Obasanjo) would want the entire country Nigeria to breath through his nose.” He accused Obasanjo of trying to foist Jigawa State Governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido and his Rivers State counterpart, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, on Nigerians as Presidential and Vice- Presidential candidates of the PDP. Premier said, “ Obasanjo shot himself in the leg when early in the year he pronounced Lamido and Amaechi as next President and Vice-President in 2015. “If he Obasanjo had his constitutional right to stand for an election to vote and be voted for, same goes for Jonathan who is a bonafide Nigeria from the South-South. T “He must not be intimidated, harassed, stampeded or blackmailed to surrender power against the collective will of the good people of the South-South people and other Nigerians.”

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