By Olanrewaju Ajao President Goodluck Jonathan has lashed out at opposition leader, Bola Tinubu and Lagos Governor Babatunde Fashola over allegations against him which he described as irresponsible.
Tinubu had issued a statement on Thursday, accusing the President of trying to put in place an unconstitutional Interim National Government, ING, for which he invited him to serve as his deputy.
Fashola had on his own blamed the President for the Thursday bank robbery in Lagos where some policemen and civilians were killed.
According to Fashola, all the policemen who were supposed to safeguard the area had been drafted to protect the President.
In his response however, President Jonathan said he had repeatedly told everyone who cared to listen that the issue of ING was not only treasonable but also unconstitutional.
He therefore wondered how he could have tried to lure Tinubu into such arrangement.
The President who responded to both allegations through his spokesman, Dr Reuben Abati took a swipe on Fashola, describing his allegation as unintelligent and baseless.
“The comment credited to Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State to the effect that the robbery incident that occurred yesterday in Lekki, Lagos State was due to the presence of President Jonathan in Lagos is baseless. And 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 yesterday President Jonathan sounded the gong closing the business of the day at the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
We consider the statement attributed to Governor 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 deployment of the police force active in that particular state of environment.
The President has a defined 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,” he said.
The President also condoled with the families of people who lost their lives in the robbery.
He continued: “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 commiserates 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.
On Tinubu’s allegation, he said: “Except people have not been following the news or they have chosen wilfully to play deaf and dumb , they will know and the facts are there that President Jonathan has said again and again, that an 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.”
He continued: “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.
The President also pointed out that by Nigeria’s configuration, it is impossible for two southerners to occupy the numbers one and two positions in the country.
“Again of 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,” he argued.