The Presidency has launched a new offensive against the five northern governors who had embarked on a self-sponsored ‘save democracy’ campaign saying there motive was borne out of selfishness and a desperate attempt to block President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election bid in 2015.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, who made this know yesterday on ‘Guest of the Week’, a programme by Kaduna based private radio station, Liberty Radio, said the visits by Governors Sule Lamido (Jigawa State), Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) and Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano) to some past leaders ostensibly to defuse the tension created by the crisis in Rivers State, were nothing more than a smokescreen to hide their true intention.
Okupe said while President Jonathan has not revealed his 2015 ambition to anyone, nobody could stop him from his constitutional right to contest the presidential elections if he is interested.
According to him, “Jonathan has not told me and has not told anybody that he wants to run again. But all this heat that is in the country is because of the fear that he would run. But normally nobody should stop anybody from exercising the right that is guaranteed under the constitution.
“If Jonathan wants to contest and you are not happy about it, go to the poll and defeat him….Nigerians must wake up. What is four years in the life of a country? Is it worth burning a country? Is it worth destroying our democracy?”
On the visits by the five Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors to some former leaders, Okupe said: “you heard about five governors who said they were motivated to go round the whole country because of Rivers crisis. Is that not a national joke? It is like watching Africa Magic.
“What is the crisis in Rivers? Who is Amaechi and what is the issue that the whole country is being disturbed because of something that happened at the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).
“What is Nigeria Governors’ Forum to the destiny of this country? What has it got to do with us? The Rivers crisis is something that people just latch unto to fan the embers of this anti- Jonathan emotion and to continue to promote hatred against Goodluck Jonathan.
“And of course, Amaechi is a willing tool, very rich and is very useful to the opposition. What you are seeing is an over- dramatisation of the preparations for 2015. Period.
“These governors that were so motivated, so passionately concerned about the ultimate destiny of Nigeria, were not motivated when the Boko Haram crises were raging in the north to go round the north and plead on how to solve the problem.
“They were not concerned enough for the thousands of people that were being bombed, killed in their mosques and churches in their domains, under their nose. I feel like crying, people are opening their doors to hypocrites.
“Let them leave the Rivers State police commissioner alone. I don’t know how people got my number. I have text messages from ordinary people who are not politicians, people whose families have suffered grave injustice in the hands of Amaechi in Rivers. I am telling you this, God Almighty is my witness, I will show you these text messages so that you can confirm it.
“Amaechi used the police and power to harass, intimidate and punish people unjustly. Mbu has refused to be a tool in the hands of Amaechi and has refused to bend to his unjustified high handedness. However, because he is supported by the opposition, he now presents Mbu as a villain. It is not true. He is a professional; he is a man of dignity who has remained steadfast……
“People must find the truth. The Holy book says you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. Nigerians are becoming too gullible, they swallow anything hook, line and sinker. I am glad that Chief Obasanjo as an elder statesman is trying to mediate; he has mediated in many international conflicts and has recorded successes, but in his own country people cannot listen because the stakes are higher than Obasanjo’s intervention. People are looking for power in 2015.
“So am not surprised that there is no result. How will these five governors be at a meeting and they will not rally round Obasanjo and solve the problem. The elite in this country are only after their own interest.”
While admitting that there are lots of challenges facing the country, Okupe said “yes there are a lot of challenges in the country: there is high unemployment; there are insecurity issues. There is no doubt about that. But to say that nothing is being done about them is absolute nonsense. It is not true, it is not correct.
“It is just fiction. These are the people who, two years ago, told the whole country and the world that Goodluck Jonathan was clueless. If you say Jonathan is clueless, he is fixing the economy. Today our indices are the best in Africa. Today Nigeria is number one for foreign direct investment.
“The Nigerian railway system that has been abandoned for decades is coming up. Before, we were generating 2800 megawatts of electricity, today, we have more than doubled that. Yet they said the man is clueless.
“There was insurgency that engulfed about 11 states of the federation, today it has been reduced to three states and yet the man is clueless. There was a time when bombing was a daily occurrence, people were dying in numbers. It was impossible to do anything in the northern part of the country; all that is gone. For the first time in four years, a durbar was organised to celebrate Eidel Fitri in Borno State”.
The presidential aide also debunked the speculation that President Jonathan awarded ex-militant, Government Ekpumopolo alias Tompolo, a contract to secure oil pipelines, saying “I don’t know of any deal or contract between Tompolo as a person. I am not aware. Whether Tompolo is involved in a company that is operating security issues on the Nigerian waters is a different matter and I will not comment on something that is fallacious.
“I have heard so many things that Asari Dokubo, Tompolo and people who have contracts on oil pipelines, it is a fallacy. It was the late President Yar’Adua, as part of his good will for the Amnesty programme, who felt that it was better to use people who are local, people who know the terrain rather than outsiders to police those terrains. So he gave those guys those contracts.
“The contracts expired during the time of President Jonathan and up till today, those contracts were never renewed.”