The All Progressives Congress, APC and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP were, yesterday, engaged in a war of words over the propriety of President Goodluck Jonathan exchanging words with former President Olusegun Obasanjo on the state of the nation.
While the APC flayed President Jonathan for supposedly diminishing the Presidency through what it claimed as his unrestrained attack on his one-time benefactor, called on the president to make peace with him. The PDP accused the opposition party of being insensitive to the holiday mood of Nigerians.
The PDP said it would not join the fray as it was devoted to making good sense of the purpose and essence of Christmas in giving to the poor and the less privileged people in society.
Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Alhaji Ahmed Gulak equally did not respond to the issue despite an SMS question sent to him.
The APC in a statement issued by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed further expressed the party’s reservation that the president used the platform of the church on Christmas Day to hit at his critics including the former president.
APC flays Jonathan’s reply to Obasanjo
The APC noted that the decision of the president to go personal in his reaction to the letter from President Obasanjo crossed the threshold of decency and put the country in disrepute.
It said: “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 have been noted, and that the government would study them and then engage with the former President in private, while assuring that the ship of state is on course.
“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 President, who accused Obasanjo of doing him a great injustice, has himself done a great injustice to the Presidency, which is an institution in which he is only a tenant. In the end, the 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.
“This is what happens when a President is surrounded by self-serving, sycophants, at the expense of seasoned technocrats and veteran policymakers, who would have reminded the President that while critics can afford to fire all sorts of darts at him, as the custodian of the presidency at this point in time, he cannot afford to respond in kind because, in doing so, he would be debasing the presidency as an institution,” APC said.
Noting that the president’s response may have shut the door of peace between both men, the APC said:
“However, he 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 to reconciliation between him and his political God-father, in addition to portraying Nigerian leaders as delinquents.
“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, surely, is not what is expected of a President, a leader and anyone who wants to be a nation builder. It is time to call a truce!” the APC advised.
PDP hits back
Responding to the assertion, the PDP through its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh said it would not be dragged into what it claimed as the propaganda schemes of the APC as it was devoted to making good sense of the Christmas celebration.
Asserting that it would get back to the APC after the holiday season, the PDP said:
“On the 23rd of December the PDP National Working Committee declared that this Christmas period is a period to give back to the less privileged, orphans, the widows and to pray for peace and the unity of this country.
“We stand by it and this is not a season for politics. PDP, APC and all the parties in Nigeria will remain after this Christmas season and there is a time for politicking, this is not the time.
“We are ready, we will face them after this period. But for now, it is said ‘give to Caesar what is Caesar’s’. We are giving to Christmas what Christmas deserves in this period. This period does not deserve bickering, name calling, antagonisms and propaganda. This is a season that demands peace and praying for the unity of the country.