Friday, December 27, 2013

Political killings: North asks Jonathan to prosecute Obasanjo

The North has asked President Goodluck Jonathan to explain who he was
waiting for before taking action to bring officials of the former
President Olusegun Obasanjo administration to book over political
killings which he (Jonathan) said were the order of the day when
Obasanjo held sway as the head of government in the country.
It also insisted that the next president of Nigeria, must emerge from
the area, pointing out that President Jonathan must stand down for
their own in 2015.
The northern groups, Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, and the Northern
Elders Forum, NEF, made these known at two separate interviews with
Saturday Vanguard yesterday.
Reacting to a letter from Obasanjo, alleging that the President had
placed 1000 people on watch list, Jonathan had in turn placed
political killings in the country on the door steps of the former
Jonathan replied Obasanjo's 18-page open letter dated 2, 2013, to
him, pointing out that all the political killings since the Fourth
Republic began, took place at the time Obasanjo was President.
According to Jonathan, although political killings had occurred in the
country, none of them had taken place since he became President about
three years ago.
Among those who were said to have been politically murdered during
Obasanjo's administration included, the former Minister of Justice and
Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Bola Ige, and South-South
politicians, Chief Harry Marshall, Chief A.K. Dikibo, a former
Senatorial Candidate of the defunct All Nigeria People's Party, ANPP,
in Imo State, Uche Orji, Arc Layi Balogun, former Vice Chancellor of
the University of Nigeria Nsukka, UNN, Prof Chimere Ikoku, former
Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, in Anambra State, Chief
Barnabas Igwe and his wife, Chief Victor Nwankwo of Fourth Dimension
Publishers and Chief Funso Williams.
However, the Secretary General of NEF, Prof Ango Abdullahi, confirmed
in an interview with Saturday Vanguard that the North had made its
position on the 2015 presidency known to President Jonathan's
emissaries, who had attempted to recruit some of their key
stakeholders for the next poll.
In the letter to Obasanjo dated December 20, 2013, Jonathan further
stated, ''There have certainly been cases of political assassination
since the advent of our Fourth Republic, but as you well know, none of
them occurred under my leadership.
''Regarding the over 1000 people you say are on a political watch
list, I urge you to kindly tell Nigerians who they are and what
agencies of government are "watching" them. Your allegation that I am
using security operatives to harass people is also baseless. Nigerians
are waiting for your evidence of proof. That was an accusation made
against previous administrations, including yours, but it is certainly
not my style and will never be. Again, if you insist on the spurious
claim that some of your relatives and friends are being harassed, I
urge you to name them and tell Nigerians what agencies of my
administration are harassing them.
''I also find it difficult to believe that you will accuse me of
assisting murderers, or assigning a presidential delegation to welcome
a murderer. This is a most unconscionable and untrue allegation. It is
incumbent on me to remind you that I am fully conscious of the
dictates of my responsibilities to God and our dear nation. It is my
hope that devious elements will not take advantage of your baseless
allegation to engage in brazen and wanton assassination of high
profile politicians as before, hiding under the alibi your "open
letter" has provided for them.''
However, reacting to President Jonathan's allegation on political
killings before he came into office, the National Publicity Secretary
of ACF, Mr Anthony Sani, said, ''If you consider the submissions by Mr
President,whose place in the order of things, is to provide order and
direction to the nation… I wonder if he needs ACF to ask him to take
necessary actions that are within his mandate.
''I have made it clear that what the former president wrote to his
place-holder, President Jonathan, except perhaps the issues of
training and arming snipers against political opponents-was common
place knowledge. The same with the issues raised by President
Meanwhile, Prof Abdullahi who spoke in an interview with Saturday
Vanguard noted that the North had already made its position on the
2015 presidency known to President Jonathan's emissaries, pointing out
that a list of 151 key northern politicians and leaders was drawn by
presidential political tacticians with a view to wooing them to work
for the president in the next general elections.
The former ABU Vice Chancellor and Presidential Adviser on Food
Security admitted to Olusegun Obasanjo, said that he and some other
northern leaders, whose names appeared on the list, had already been
contacted for possible support to Jonathan ahead of the impending
He said however that the presidential team must have hit the rock, as
most of the northern elements consulted on the need to work for
Jonathan's re-election, politely turned down the offer.
Abdullahi did not mention the name of any of those who contacted them
and who politely rejected the offer to work for the president.
His words, "What I can tell you now is that my name is on the list of
the 151 Northern leaders and politicians, who have been earmarked for
consultation by those working for Jonathan. But the good thing is that
most of those contacted have also politely turned down the offer.
"What Nigerians should know is that the North as it is today, is ready
to receive and welcome a Nigerian president from any of the 19
northern states come 2015. He can come from any of those states and we
are ready to support and work with such a leader come 2015.
"I have been contacted by those who believe they can lure me and other
Northern leaders to change our cause and we courageously but politely
made our political position regarding 2015 very clear to them.
"They must have got our message and have decided to adopt other
strategies, which in any case, would not change our position regarding
the emergence of the Nigerian president in 2015."
Although President Jonathan is yet to declare his intention to run in
the 2015 poll, his body language suggests he would run, hence,
opposition has been mounting against his second term particularly from
the North, which claims that he signed a deal to run for only a term
of four years after completing the remaining two years of late
President Umaru Yar'Adua.
The lingering disagreement among some of the party leaders and
governors in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, over 2015, led
to the defection of five PDP governors to the opposition All
Progressive Congress, APC, last month.
President Jonathan has repeatedly said that it is too early in the
life of the administration to begin campaign for re-election in 2015,
pointing out that it was better for him to concentrate on the
provision of social amenities for Nigerians than dissipate energy on
an election that was still far away.

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