By Dayo Benson, Kingsley Omonobi, Daniel Idonor, Samuel Oyadongha, Ola Ajayi, Jimitota Onoyume & Dapo Akinrefon
ABUJA—DIRECTOR-General of the Jonathan/Sambo Campaign Council, Ambassador Dalhatu Tafida, yesterday, asked Adamu Ciroma, leader of the Northern Political Leaders Forum, NPLF, to retract the impeachment threat on President Goodluck Jonathan saying it is “misplaced.”
This came just as Nigerians described the statement as uncalled for and unjustifiable.
Tafida who fielded questions from State House correspondents in Abuja, said for a statesman like Ciroma, who understood the importance of leadership, to be calling for the impeachment of the president was too harsh and uncalled for.
He, therefore, urged those angling for the presidential slot of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to wait until the primaries of the party were conducted before resorting to mudslinging.
Tafida said: “For Ciroma to ask the President to resign is too harsh. The issue of calling for impeachment is misplaced. You don’t just say you want to impeach for the sake of it.
The leadership of Nigeria is too important to be sacrificed on the altar of primaries. If they defeat us, we belonging to Goodluck Jonathan, we will accept.
“If they don’t want us to have a smooth transition, it is too bad. After all, whether it is IBB, Atiku, Saraki, Gusau or Jonathan, whoever gets it is PDP. We have not even reached the point where we should be fighting.”
Tafida who sharply disagreed with Ciroma over the position of the Forum that President Goodluck Jonathan should resign or be impeached over the Independence bomb blast, enjoined the group to retract the statement without further delay.
He said: “I only read it this morning and it was said to have been credited to one of the northern leaders. I was amazed at the wordings, either our dear elder brother Mallam Adamu Ciroma who is very well known, very well loved by Nigerians was misquoted or somehow he said it in anger.
“The issue of asking the President to resign I think does not arise, we are talking of politics. When we are talking about politics at the very early stage because, we are only talking about the primaries in our party. Mallam Adamu Ciroma belongs, the other aspirants belong to the PDP and of course including Dr. Goodluck Jonathan even though he is currently the president of Nigeria, he is also aspiring.”
Jonathan Deserves Respect
Tafida said that President Jonathan acted and meant well for Nigeria, adding that “to call on him to resign is too harsh. If you want to lead, you must be prepared to listen; you must be prepared to respect whoever is your leader at that time.
“We have a President though he is an aspirant we should respect him. We have seen how American politics is played, we have watched them with keen interest, and things don’t degenerate into personal attacks, so we should respect our president as a president who happens to be an aspirant. And therefore the question of asking him to resign if true, I think it should be retracted.”
Call for impeachment is misplaced
The Jonathan Campaign boss added: “I have been a legislator and I know the process of impeachment, I know what constitutes an impeachment, I know what you require to impeach the president or whoever, so the issue of impeachment again to me is misplaced.
“If you are representing a group in Nigeria and you call for impeachment you need the other side to also impeach. You can’t just say you want to impeach just because you belong to a group, you need the support and understanding of other members of the National Assembly.
From the way I saw them debate things yesterday and today I was happy with their approach to the whole thing. They want to investigate what happened, sent condolences to the president and families, this is the way it should be and not the way it is going, what is the offence of President Jonathan in this”?
Member of Board of Trustees of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Onyeabo Obi and Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, described the statement as uncalled for and unjustifiable.
Senator Obi said: “I do not see the basis for that call. Everybody and every right thinking person has condemned the bomb blast and its timing. We all await the outcome of the security investigation and prosecution of any suspected person involved.
We should try to avoid prejudging the outcome or media trial”.
Senator Durojaiye said: “I do not know the full fact; I only heard it on radio. But my opinion is that it is not a justification, although it was an embarrassment that it happened on Independence Day.
If you stretch the logic further, it means that in every state where armed robbery or kidnapping occurs, the governor of that state should be impeached. Except those making the call have other reasons, I do not see the basis for their call.
“We all know that the country is not in a good shape and what we need to do is to put it in the right shape. I do not think the allegation is an impeachable offence.
If a bomb explodes where the President is making a speech, is it an impeachable offence? If you also stretch the logic, what you have is absurdity. The solution to this country’s problems is not resignation of the President, what the country needs now is Sovereign National conference.”
President of the Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, Mr. Miabiye Kuromiema called on Nigerians to discountenance the statement made by the northern forum, adding: “These people are not to be listened to, they have ruled and been in the corridors of power for years unending and all they have left the Nigerian people is poverty and lack of education.
What is the basis of their claim? Why should we respect the views that they have come to express today? Nigerians from all walks of life, should just discountenance them, they are a failed generation and we don’t want to fail as an institution.”
A Niger Delta activist, Mr. Tony Uranta, faulted the call by the northern group saying he did not expect such to come from the northern elders. He said “They have already fallen into their own trap by opening their mouth too loud too often.
They have committed libel and slander. They said the President wanted to hang certain northerners over the bomb blast, they will have to do more. They have also called all Niger Deltans barbarians, they said we have a culture of terrorism and violence.
We find that very amazing coming from a people, who have kept on terrorising Nigerians year in, year out, yet, we have tolerated one another, thousands of Nigerians have lost their lives in the so called sectarian violence in the north.”
National President of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Yerima Shettima said: “We thought we had a Nigerian President, but from all indications, Goodluck Jonathan has demonstrated that he is Niger Delta President. Over the years, we have been fighting to ensure that we have equity and fairness through Jonathan, but from all indications and from what we heard, it appears it is about the north and the Niger Delta and we are going to slug it out.
There is no going back, he has to resign.”
Call for resignation ridiculous—INC
President, Ijaw National Congress, Dr Atuboyedia Obianime, former president, Ijaw National Congress, Professor Kimse Okoko and former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Chibudum Nwuche, described the call as unhealthy.
Professor Kimse Okoko who is currently the Chairman of Conference of Ethnic Nationalities of Niger Delta, said Nigerians should ignore the call, adding that those behind it “should continue to wallow in their illusions, noting that Nigeria is no more what they thought it was.”
Nwuche said the northern elders should be conscious of the fact that Nigerians now see themselves as one united people, adding that people like Adamu Ciroma should play the role of nation builders rather than burning energy to pursue agenda that would over heat the system.
Dr Atuboyedia Obianime said the call by the northern elders was ridiculous, noting: “I call it ridiculous because how do you explain it? There have been violence in several parts of the country yet nobody was told to resign. Some people should not show that they are enemies of this great country.
Let us not play politics with the whole thing. I would rather tell those elders or leaders not to play politics with human lives. People lost their lives in that incident”
Chairperson, Ijaw Mothers, Doris Mcdaniels, viewed the call as part a well thought out plan by a section of the north to create trouble for Jonathan’s presidency.
According to her, the nation had had rulers from the north that almost ran it aground but yet the Ciroma group of elders kept mute in the face of their reign. Noting that for Ciroma to hand President Jonathan an ultimatum or be impeached is an indication of an agenda to destabilise the system by a northern group
Bayelsa govt says its an intimidating tactics
Bayelsa State government, yesterday, described the call for the resignation of President Goodluck Jonathan as an intimidating tactics and urged the National Assembly not to allow itself to be used by some self seeking elders.
The state government through the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Hon Nathan Egba, said:
“We are surprised that people of the calibre of Adama Ciroma can descend to the level of calling on the President to resign. While they are alleging that the President is intimidating political opponents, they are also applying intimidating tactics by wanting to intimidate the President out of office. It will not happen.”
Sstate chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, said the outburst of the Northern elders was capable of heating up the polity. Acting chairman, Mr. Ebikibina Miriki, described the call as uncalled for and warned the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and some Northern elements against making inflammatory statements capable of disintegrating the country.
Call short of commonsense —Oyo State ANPP
The All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, in Oyo State through its Secretary, Mr. Sola Osotoye, said the call was short of commonsense and a clear picture that those who made it did not have the love of this country at heart.
Osotoye said: “Jonathan has not done anything to warrant resignation or impeachment. He is doing well and fine. It shows that people making the call are hopeless and all they want is to retard the progress of this country. Is this the right time that election is coming up next year that they should making such a call. They want to send us backward again.”
Former Governor of Oyo State, Dr. Omololu Olunloyo, said the call was premature and funny and that we needed to exercise caution.
Olunolyo advised the Northern leaders to play down on the issue of zoning saying he would rather pitch his tent with President Goodluck on his stance that there is no zoning arrangement in the party.
He aligned with the president that it is after the party had won that it can be talking about zoning adding that it is possible for a party to zone and may end up not winning the election.
He warned the party to be careful and bear it in mind that it is not the only party.
He said, “the national Chairman of the party is actually delivering and he has made it clear that he wanted to redeem the party.
Niger Delta Restoration Initiative issues ultimatum
Niger Delta Restoration Initiative, NDRI, yesterday, gave the Adamu Ciroma led Northern Political Leaders Forum, a 48 hours ultimatum to withdraw its impeachment threat against President Goodluck Jonathan, saying the statement not only smacked of recklessness and brazen disregard for democratic ethos but was capable of plunging the nation into another round of tension and instability.
The group said in a statement signed by its President General Chief Pupagha Ekpedekumor: “Though impeachment is a legitimate process in democratic governance, we in the South-South geo-political zone view the statement credited to Mallam Ciroma and his group as a threat which we shall resist through all available means.
“NPDF which is a coalition of socio-cultural groups in the Niger Delta region, views with utmost seriousness, newspaper reports of Wednesday, October 6, 2010, in which Mallam Adamu Ciroma and some members of the Northern Political Leaders Forum, NPLF, allegedly threatened to spearhead the impeachment of President Goodluck Jonathan if he failed to resign his office by the end of one week over the twin bombings during the nation’s golden jubilee celebrations in Abuja.
“In a bid to achieve their inordinate motives, Mallam Ciroma and his group are flying a kite of northern insecurity under a Jonathan presidency, citing alleged claims by Mr. Henry Okah, an associate of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, that he had been contacted by a faceless aide of President Jonathan to implicate some northerners in the Friday bombings”.
“While we condemn the act in the strongest terms and call on the authorities to fish out the perpetrators and bring them to book no matter how highly placed, we are at a loss on how it affects the safety of northerners to the extent of calling for the President’s head.
The circumstances surrounding the incident, particularly the intelligence reports at the disposal of local and international security agencies prior to the bombings, clearly indicated that it was indeed, a terrorist act”.
After a careful review of the position of the Northern Political Leaders Forum at an emergency meeting held today (Wednesday), in Abuja, the Niger Delta Restoration Initiative deemed it necessary to say:
“Leadership is not a do-or-die affair. After all, since the existence of Nigeria as a political entity, people from the South -South have never tasted power at the presidential level; yet, they had never fought against the unity of our great country.
We all saw what happened when former President Olusegun Obasanjo was re-elected in 2003. The spontaneous religious crises sponsored by some self-seeking northern elements almost claimed the unity of Nigeria. The same group is at work again”.
“Consequently, we are giving Mallam Ciroma and his co-travellers a grace period of 48 hours within which to recant their statement and apologize to the presidency and the generality of Nigerians, or be ready to face the consequences.
We are using this medium to warn these few individuals pretending to be protecting their people now, but did nothing to uplift their standard of living to act wisely and henceforth, be cautious in their actions and utterances.”