Obasanjo and Jonathan: NLC pressures Jonathan to reply Obasanjo
President Goodluck Jonathan remained under pressure yesterday to respond to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter on the state of the nation.
Obasanjo, in an 18-page December 2 letter, levelled some allegations against Dr Jonathan and his administration, which he said was derailing.
He also urged the President to respond to allegations that he had been training snipers and a killer squad ahead of the 2015 elections.
Obasanjo said Jonathan had no moral right to contest in 2015, having promised to spend only one term when he was being nominated in 2011.
But the Presidency has asked the former president to prove the existence of a killer squad or keep quiet.
Besides, Jonathan is said to be planning to respond to the allegations.
To the Nigeria Labour Congress (NCL), Jonathan should respond now to the “weighty allegations”.
Acting General Secretary Chris Uyot said the President should respond to the critical issues raised by Obasanjo, which, according to him, border on national security and the management of the nation’s economy.
Uyot also urged the ruling Peoples Democratic Party to ensure that the raging internal crisis in the party does not engulf the country.
The labour leader argued that since Obasanjo wrote the letter, in which he expressed his view and made allegations on serious issues, Nigerians had been waiting for Jonathan’s response.
He said: “The issues raised are weighty enough for the President to respond to. One of the issues borders on national security while another borders on the management of the economy.
“As far as we are concerned, Obasanjo wrote a letter to the President and made those allegations, and Nigerians want the President to respond to this letter. The NLC would respond to the controversy at the appropriate time.”
Obasanjo had accused Jonathan of taking actions inimical to the well being of the nation in an 18-page letter dated December 2, 2013 with the title ‘before it is too late.’
The former President, who accused Jonathan of committing anti-party activities against the ruling PDP because of his political ambition, also accused him of training snipers and putting 1,000 politicians under watch.
The main opposition All Progressive Congress (APC) has asked the National Assembly to impeach Jonathan. The Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) called yesterday on the National Assembly to investigate the letter.
A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDM, Ahmadu Rufai Abubakar, said the issues raised in the letter were troubling and unfortunate.
Obasanjo had, among others, alleged non remittance of over $7 billion crude oil proceeds to the Federation Account by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
“These are grave and weighty allegations indeed. We read, with deep disappointment, the President’s response or, better still, his non-response to these allegations, through his media aide.
“The decision of the President to ignore these allegations, for now, is quite troubling and unfortunate.
“It is totally inexplicable and unacceptable that the leader of our nation can assume that the nation can wait until such a time he feels the need to explain these grave allegations, some of which border on treason.
“By his decision not to respond to these allegations immediately, the President is keeping Nigeria and Nigerians in unnecessary and dangerous suspense,” the statement added.
The party insisted that Nigerians had a right to know the truth about the allegations raised in the letter, stressing that the President owed the people an explanation.
The PDM added: “It is not a matter of choice, it is a matter of duty for the President to respond immediately, failing which his government loses the legitimacy to continue to govern and he loses the moral right to continue to lead the country.
“We view this decision by the President to defer a timely response seriously. We feel it is an abdication of duty and responsibility and it undermines the integrity of the office he occupies. It threatens the unity, peace and political stability of the nation.
“In view of the above, the PDM calls on the National Assembly to discharge its duty and responsibility to the nation by compelling the President to offer an immediate response to the allegations levelled against him in the letter.
“We call on the National Assembly to fully and painstakingly investigate these allegations, by asking the President to fully explain himself and absolve himself of them, failing which it should commence impeachment proceedings against him.”
The Lagos State House of Assembly at plenary also said the National Assembly should investigate the allegations without delay.
The session, which was presided over by Deputy Speaker Taiwo Kolawole, made the call following a motion raised by a member, Mr. Bisi Yusuf, under “matter of urgent public importance”.
The House called on Obasanjo to forward his letter to the National Assembly as a petition.
The House said the National Assembly is constitutionally empowered to carry out such a probe,which it should do to save the country from collapse”
Yusuf described the content of Obasanjo’s letter as “worrisome”. He said Jonathan should respond to the various allegations and should honourably resign his position if the allegations were found to be true.
Contributing to the debate, a member, Yinka Ogundimu, said the allegations against Jonathan, coming from Obasanjo, could not be dismissed, but should be considered weighty.
Many other members spoke in a smiliar manner.
Deputy Speaker Kolawole said: “I want to plead with Obasanjo to send that letter to the National Assembly as a petition that will be investigated.”
The Northwest Solidarity Forum (NSF) has described the silence of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors on the letter as worrisome.
In the statement titled: “Obasanjo’s letter: Where are the PDP governors?” the Forum said it was concerned about the content of the 18-page letter “which borders on issues of governance and exposes details of such other issues which should not have been meant for the public space”.
The statement reads: “While the Forum is still pondering the motivation behind the declassification of the letter by Chief Obasanjo, it is quite surprising that none of the governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has deemed it necessary to intervene in the matter through measured comments that will engender reconciliation.
“The silence in the camp of the PDP governors is worrisome to us.
The statement added: “At this point, the PDP governors who believe in the survival of the Federal Government and the PDP cannot afford to sit on the fence or keep mute.
“The salvation of our democracy, the political careers and future of the governors should give them a sense of urgency and commitment to the task of working together to pursue peace and success for the Federal Government and the ruling party now and during the 2015 general elections.”
The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) faction led by Plateau State Governor Jonah Jang described the letter as part of the growth process of the nation and an integral part of democracy.
In a statement in Abuja from the media office of the Forum, signed by Kassim Yakubu, the Jang-led NGF noted that they were committed to the success of democratic rule in Nigeria and that democracy remains the most viable form of government for the development of Nigeria.
“A look at the progress made in the states within a little over a decade of democratic rule cannot compare to the many decades of other forms of governments of the past”, adding that “the success of democratic rule is made possible by the participatory nature of the system of government which he says is presently working for Nigeria.”
As our democracy grows, it is our belief that more and more quality candidates will continue to emerge and this will translate to better governance on behalf of the people.”
Calling on Nigerians to continue to participate in the democratic process as there is no other form of government that can guarantee the level of choice and participation that comes with democracy, Jang stressed that Nigerians should see the recent surge in political activities as integral to any democratic society.
“There will always be both positive and negative issues thrown out there just as we are experiencing now with those heating up the polity unnecessarily. Nigerians should however remain steadfast in their confidence in democracy and see all these as part of the growth process as a nation,” the statement added.