Why Governor Amaechi Was Stopped By Jonathan’s Bodyguard From Greeting Him

The Presidency on Thursday defended the prevention of Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State from exchanging pleasantries with President Goodluck Jonathan by a security operative during dinner at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday.

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It said the  incident was purely a security issue that should not be politicised,especially by opposition political parties.

The governor, who was sitting two tables away from the President, had risen to greet him but the security  operative attached to the President stopped him halfway.

In order not to create a scene at the event that had nearly all his colleagues and two  heads of government (Joyce Banda of Malawi and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia) in attendance, Amaechi quietly returned to his seat and waited for  about five minutes before leaving the venue.

But as  the Action Congress of Nigeria and Congress for Progressive Change berated Jonathan over  the incident, the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Dr. Ahmed Gulak,  said it was tantamount to a breach of protocol and security if Amaechi was allowed access to  his  boss  who  was already seated before the governor arrived.

Gulak  said,  “The President has a good relationship with all state governors and he meets with them regularly. The case in point is a pure security issue and it should be treated as a security issue that should not be politicised.

“The question the ACN and others who may want to politicise this issue need to ask is whether the President arrived at the venue of the dinner and was already seated before the governor arrived.

“Usual practice across the world is that once the President arrives a place, nobody whether a governor or not, is allowed entrance. That is the protocol. Even(Barack)  Obama  of the United States cannot be on his seat and a governor will be allowed to come in.

“If that was the situation in this case that the President was already on his seat,  it would have been a breach of protocol and security for any security person to allow the governor access to the President. Such a security person would have been sanctioned if he had done that.”

Wondering  why the ACN  was interested in the  matter, the presidential aide advised the opposition political parties to   “concentrate on issues concerning them and stop politicising everything.”

The ACN  had in a statement by its  National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, condemned the action of the operative and called on Jonathan to order an immediate  probe into  it.

It said, “We are making this call because we do not believe that, in spite of the reported frosty relations between the two, President Jonathan – as the father of the nation – will lend the weight of his high office to such a demeaning action as exhibited by the presidential security personnel.

“To believe that anyone occupying the esteemed office of the President of one of Africa’s most important nations will be a party to a situation in which any security aide will wilfully fence a state chief executive from paying his respect to the President at such an open gathering will be to think the worst of the occupier of that office. That is why we have chosen not to believe that this indeed occurred, and why we are calling on Mr. President to tell Nigerians that ‘it ain’t so’ “We shudder to think of what efforts are being made – including the use of national institutions – to undermine Gov. Amaechi if the treatment reportedly meted out to him at the dinner has the approval of the powers that be. We are even more worried at what will happen to a governor from the opposition who falls out of favour with the President, if a governor from the same party as the President can be so publicly humiliated.”

ACN said it was particularly incumbent on the President to clarify the report because Amaechi, the authentic Chairman  of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum,  extended an olive branch to him  by attending the dinner, despite the fact that  he (President) was publicly supporting the losing faction of the NGF, in what was being seen as a “democratic faux pas.”

The party said the President must learn to separate politics from governance by rising above petty partisanship as he steered the affairs of state.

On its part, the Congress for Progressive Change   said it was clear to many discerning minds that “the government of President Jonathan  is being run like a mafia organisation where you have the head at the Villa.”

“This is the kind of price we pay when we sacrifice competence on the altar of exigency,” the CPC  said through its  National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin.

The party added, “We have always said it that the way President Jonathan is running this country;  he will  run it  aground.

“No Nigerian can be proud of what is happening in a situation where nations of the world are improving their democratic credentials; we are going towards further isolation.

“A situation where a chief  executive is being blocked by security apparatus of the President, you ask yourself what hope mortals like us have under the  Jonathan government.”

17 Comments

  • It is quite unfortunate. The president’s media aides are quick to cite America and Obama as a reference point, but given the same scenerio in America Obama dare not act like a despot without having his political feathers ruffled. What security issue is involved in an elected state governor wanting to exchange pleasantries with the President at a dinner hosted by the Presiident? What a lame execuse for an inexplicable despicable act. The President has spoken through his media aide. The action was premeditated, well thought of and executed. Shame on the Presidency!

  • Did the governor arrive the scene after the president was seated? He should have attempted to see him again after the dinner to see if he would be stopped again.

  • Again, Jonathan should not have allowed that to happen. He is giving relevance to the matter. We should be thinking about how to move Nigeria forward and not fighting useless fight.

  • The explanation given by the president spokesman is enough and satisfactory, there are so many security protocol Nigerians don’t know . I think the so called opposition are only expressing their ignorance , it’s a shame they can not for once make a solution to the state they are controlling.

  • Opposition you talk carelessly all the time,you paid opposition should ask Ameachi if any LGA chairman in Rivers State can enter any meeting in Government house when he’s seated not to talk of hand shake,this is like the kettle calling the pot black.

  • Talking about the show of power by our dear president, I must state that the security should not be blamed if indeed it was a matter of security, but I must also point to the fact that our political office holders are quick to respond to things done by the opposition,lastly I must also state that the event leading to this show of shame (NGF election) is indeed a shame that our leaders can’t conduct an election of just 35 people,it show tha degradation of our political process,shame on all of them

  • Opositn always tryin to make somtin out of nothing. If d protocol doesn’t allows, I think ameachi shldnt b ignornt of dat.

  • Opositn always tryin to make somtin out of nothing. If d protocol doesn’t allows it, I think ameachi shldnt b ignornt of dat.

  • 9ja and their numerous palavars. if amaechi has not been doing it before, I doubt if he would get up to beat thisbso called protocol that was just put in place cos of the rift between them 2. this excuse by the government is very lame and I believe they should have kept quiet instead of trying to rope themselves in more by giving this flimsy reason. 9jas should learn to differentiate between ofix and personal.

  • Opposition shld learn how not to politicize every thing they see in govt. It is not good for d interest of nigeria. Ameachi deserve more than dt if truly he comes after d president have sited. He went to plan and have a meeting for his selfish interest against d govt interest. It is too bad so let opposition leave mr. President to concentrate in doing things dt ll be profitable to ordinary nigeria.

  • The security guards did their job very well by preventing Amaechi from exchange a hand shake with the president. Simple Courtesy demands that the superior officer is the first to present a handshake before the junior officer can stretch his hands for a shake. Moreover, why was Amaechi trying to divert attention of other audience by standing up after coming late to the gathering to go and have a hand shake with the president who was already sited before him? Another one is that in security, everybody is a suspect. MKO drank Tea, Okadigbo spoke thru a poison Microphone, Abacha and a small bite of Apple, Dele Giwa was killed by a common letter. So considering all these factors, a handshake in a sensitive time like that is a security issue. Concerning Lai or Lier Mohammed, i will advise him to spend more time looking into what the soul called ACN leader is doing in Lagos than come out here to say jagons. Lagos state and its governance is now Tinubu and Family’s personal property.

  • In any occasion, once if president is sitted no one is allow by proper protocol to go to the president. Amechi has something in mind to do to the president. Let him go and join the opposition, what is he still doing in PDP? Shameless and traitor like him.

  • Gideon Ambi I don’t think you are a Nigeria. You are a stupid Man. How can you refer a Governor that won President Goodluck led NGF faction as a traitor. Please go and learn ethics before opening your useless mouth against Amaechi.

  • Ameachi is a traitor and a betrayer of trust and love shown to him by PDP. He should lv d President and PDP alone and go and join d opposition all at once. How can a governor present a hand to shake d already sitted President? He no de fear abi? We should learn to respect d office of d president.

  • Ameachi is a traitor and a betrayer of trust and love shown to him by GEJ n d PDP. He should lv d President and PDP alone and go and join d opposition all at once. How can a governor present a hand to shake d already sitted President? He no de fear abi? We should learn to respect d office of d president.

  • Amechi once suspended a local government chairman for coming to an occasion that he was already seated.Amechi has no respect for the President that was why he deliberately went late so that the opposition will have sympathy on him that truly he is being witch hunted .

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