By Danlami Nmodu
The presidency has reacted furiously to the insinuation by opposition Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN that President Jonathan’s visit to Lagos will disrupt the party’s convention.
“The Presidency completely rejects the insinuation in the deliberately leaked letter that the President’s visits to Lagos are always disruptive. The paranoia displayed by the ACN in its plea to Governor Fashola concerning an imaginary plan to scuttle a political merger is beneath the politics of inclusiveness this administration has encouraged in its interaction with the state, as with all other states of the Federal Republic” Presidential spokesman ,Reuben Abati said in a statement Wednesday evening.
The statement said, “We find it hard to believe that any patriotic and right-thinking Nigerian would have written the kind of publicly circulated letter reportedly sent to the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola by the National Publicity Secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in which he attempts to dictate President Jonathan’s itinerary, mode of transportation within Lagos, and motive, and even suggests that the President’s visit could have been designed to frustrate a planned Action Congress of Nigeria convention and merger with some other political parties.
“The allegation is not only baseless, but another in the series of ‘wolf crying’ that has become the sole strategy and pre-occupation of the ACN. It is clearly a deliberate, further attempt to undermine, ridicule and debase the office of the President of the Federal Republic.
“A courteous and simple discussion of the phantom potential conflict of programmes with appropriate officials of the Presidency would have sufficed to inform the ACN and its officials that President Jonathan is only transiting through Lagos tomorrow on his way to the commissioning of the WEMPCO Cold Roll Steel Plant in Ibafo, Ogun State.
“In point of fact, President Jonathan’s visit tomorrow which was scheduled long before the ACN convention will have absolutely no effect whatsoever on the convention as he will only touchdown at the airport, transit to Ibafo (miles away from the ACN convention venue) by chopper and return to the airport the same way for his flight back to Abuja.
“It is certain that Governor Fashola was already aware of President Jonathan’s itinerary in Lagos tomorrow since in keeping with protocol, the Presidency always briefs state governments well ahead of time on all Presidential movements to their states. Alhaji Lai Mohammed’s letter was therefore pointless and serves no purpose other than distasteful muck-raking.
“Furthermore, the Presidency completely rejects the insinuation in the deliberately leaked letter that the President’s visits to Lagos are always disruptive. The paranoia displayed by the ACN in its plea to Governor Fashola concerning an imaginary plan to scuttle a political merger is beneath the politics of inclusiveness this administration has encouraged in its interaction with the state, as with all other states of the Federal Republic.
“President Jonathan is President of the whole of Nigeria. It is strange and intolerable that any political party would as much as suggest that the President is not welcome in any state, city or local council in any part of the country at any time or date.
“We have no doubts whatsoever therefore that Governor Fashola will prove to be much wiser and more mature than the ACN spokesman, and consign his letter to the dustbin.
By Danlami Nmodu