By EMMANUEL AZIKEN, OLA AJAYI & DANIEL ETEGHE
LAGOS — NIGERIA needs more rascal Governors in the mould of the four ACN Governors for rapid development, the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, said, yesterday, in sharp rebuttal to President Goodluck Jonathan’s depiction of its Governors as rascals.
Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, of the ACN in his reaction lampooned the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as a failed party deficient in infrastructural achievements and lacking in moral examples.
Fashola cited the pothole ridden but strategic Apapa – Oshodi expressway linking the nation’s prime airport with its major seaport as a classic example of the ruling party’s twelve-year testimonial.
President in best position to know —Dosunmu
The PDP speaking through its Lagos State gubernatorial candidate, Dr. Shamsideen Dosunmu, asserted that the President, through his position and dealings with the Governors was in the best position to know whether or not the ACN Governors were rascals or not.
Dosunmu said at a media briefing yesterday: “He has dealt with them, he knows their idiosyncrasies, he knows their style and maybe that is why he decided to classify them as rascals.”
President Jonathan had during the Southwest PDP presidential rally, Tuesday, vowed that the PDP would take control of the Southwest States from those he depicted as rascals.
Reacting to the assertion the ACN through its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said: “If the four ACN governors are “rascals” as they were characterised by President Goodluck Jonathan, then Nigeria needs more “rascals” in governance so they can enjoy the dividends of democracy that are being delivered by those rascals with a cause.”
Mohammed said that the “rascal” in Lagos, Babatunde Fashola, has touched the lives of everyone in the state in the areas of security, good roads, education and standard medical care, just to mention a few, in less than one third of the time the PDP non_rascals have been in charge of Nigeria with nothing to show for it.
He added: “The “rascal” in Edo, Adams Oshiomhole, has turned around the fortunes of a state in which the PDP governors who preceded him in office could only have dreamt of, while the “rascals” in Ekiti and Osun (Kayode Fayemi and Rauf Aregbesola respectively), who are new in the saddle, are already restoring hope to their people, who were literally battered and bruised by their usurper PDP governors.”
Pledging not to denigrate the Presidency by engaging the President in an exchange of foul words, the party said: ‘’We believe that President Jonathan, in saying that the South_west region is too important to be left to rascals, is a victim of the vicious battering he received from his opponent as the two engaged in unprecedented mudslinging in their campaign for the PDP presidential ticket. It is common knowledge that both exhausted all the denigrating and demeaning words available as they tore at each other.
‘’But that battle is over and the President should sheathe his sword and refrain from using words that can only make him look unpresidential, no matter how tempting. Even as the presidential candidate of the PDP, he remains today the President of Nigeria. For that reason, we will not exchange words with him but concentrate on issues.
‘’Honestly, we think the PDP should be more concerned about losing more states to the ACN than wresting any from our party. If the insinuation is that the PDP will resort to the same rigging and brigandage which have brought the party nothing but disgrace, then those behind such thoughts should have a re_think, as Nigerians have decided that they will use all constitutional means to make sure their votes will count in April and in subsequent elections.”
Governor Fashola speaking to airport correspondents yesterday tore back at the President and the PDP saying: “They spent four years trying to build a 400 metre bridge in Ota and on the day that they finally came to commission that bridge, they were fighting themselves over who will cut the tape. Meanwhile the road that leads to the bridge is not finished. We built Okota link bridge in 18 months, it is longer than that bridge in which they were fighting over. So, that is what we expect them to come and talk about.
“Apapa Oshodi-Oworonsoki express road is their road, it is potholes ridden. The road to the biggest airport to this country is a national embarrassment. We cleared Oshodi, asking them to finish their roads so that Nigerians can even begin to change our image to foreigners who come here. These are the issues that we expect them to come and address. We are waiting for them.
Fashola said the President should be mindful in his choice of words stressing that the PDP was only worried over the success that the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, was recording in Lagos State.
He noted: “Why should they be worried about our success in Lagos? If it gives them sleepless night and it makes them uncomfortable, I make no apologies. That is why I am in government, to succeed here, to improve the quality of lives of the people as best as I can. Look, PDP is a party that has spent 12 years trying to provide electricity, we have provided three major electricity plants, the next one will be finished in a few weeks. And clearly, therefore, they are deficient in ideas, they are deficient in planning.”
Chairman of the ACN in Oyo State, Chief Akin Oke, in condemning the assertion by the President asked him to apologise to the Southwest ACN which he said has the best of human minds in the country.
Oke said: “The statement was reckless and unfortunate and, therefore, we ask the President to withdraw it and tender unreserved apology to the leadership of ACN in the South west. We are not surprised that the President could descend so low as to honouring criminals if he could issue statements that could emanate from touts in the motor parks. We would like to put the record straight that Action Congress of Nigeria leaders in the South Western Nigeria are the best set of people Nigeria should be proud of among the committee of nations.”
President not a reckless person —Dosunmu
Lagos State PDP gubernatorial candidate, Dr. Dosunmu, speaking at a media briefing said the President would have been well informed for him to have made the assertion noting that he was not a reckless person.
He noted: “All I will say is that the President is entitled to his opinion and as the leader of the country, as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria he is in a better position to see things and know what everybody stands for better than you and I.
“He has seen them, he has dealt with them, he knows their idiosyncrasies, he knows their style and maybe that is why he decided to classify them as rascals. I don’t think he is a reckless person, he knows what he was saying by classifying them as such but I believe that he is entitled to his opinion as the President of the country.”