Just days after President Goodluck Jonathan barred his aides and government officials from responding to President Olusegun Obasanjo’s sensational letter about the failures and compromises of his administration, the presidency on Sunday called the former leader greedy and indecent, challenging him to provide proof of his allegation Mr. Jonathan is training snipers, or shut up and be remembered as a spineless coward.
In a press statement issued by spokesman Reuben Abati, the presidency came out swinging against the call of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the National Assembly to impeach Mr. Jonathan, and took Obasanjo on with reference to some of the most explosive elements in the letter
“President Jonathan is running a people’s government,” the statement said. “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.”
Towards the APC, the statement dismissed the call for impeachment as as opportunistic, partisan and ill-motivated, and specifically trained its sights on its National Publicity Secretary Lai Mohammed.
“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.”
Apparently rattled by the APC’s impeachment call, the presidency described the opposition party as having moved further beyond the bounds of honourable and acceptable political conduct, saying Mr. Jonathan continues to devote himself to the discharge of a “sacred” mandate freely given by Nigerians.
“The APC, which remains a minority party with doubtful credentials in the National Assembly, knows fully well that its attempt 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.”
It called the strategy an “outrageous gambit, with scant regard for peace, order, security and political stability in the country, in furtherance of [the APC’s] 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 statement also called the APC statement as lacking “a single clearly defined charge” on the basis of which any plausible impeachment proceedings can be initiated.
“Alhaji Mohammed’s unscrupulous effort to drag the nation’s judiciary into its murky political warfare and his readiness to intimidate and blackmail embers 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 statement said, adding that the administration does not need Mohammed or the APC to remind it of its constitutional responsibility for the security and well-being of Nigerians.
It further asserted that Mr. Jonathan 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.
Noting what it called the undisguised threat by the APC to foster public insurrection against the Federal Government if pending legal cases go against it, it urged Nigerians to take special note of “this boastful indication” of an intention to resort to lawlessness.
It threatened members of the APC and others “who make themselves its willing tools for the breach of public order and safety” with the full sanctions of the law, and warned those threatening fire and brimstone to be ready for “consequences of treasonable action.”
On APC’s reference’s reference to Obasanjo’s allegation concerning the training of snipers, the presidency called it a “false copy-cat allegation,” adding that it clearly shows that they are now in cahoots with some other elements that are bent on discrediting his administration and inciting the public against it.
“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 statement said.
Mr. Jonathan has announced he will respond directly to Obasanjo’s 18-page letter, dated December 2, directly, asking his aides not to do so. He has yet to do so.
The two chambers of the National Assembly have also joined other Nigerians in demanding the president’s full response to the wholesale charges contained in the letter.