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Nigeria: President Jonathan frowns Against ‘Dirty Politics’

President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday warned against what he described as dirty and selfish politics over last Friday’s bomb blasts that killed over 16 persons in Abuja.

The President, who spoke through his campaign organisation, was reacting to a statement credited to three presidential aspirants who claimed last night that democracy was under threat as a result of the bomb blasts.

“The security agencies, even as they engage in soul-searching and what must be an agonising appraisal of their operations to see what led to the security failures on that fateful day, have since moved swiftly to get to the kernel of the matter. Several arrests have been made and many persons have been interrogated. There are many questions that need to be answered. For instance, what was the connection between the bombing suspects and some highly placed persons as to lead to the exchange of text messages? The truth will out.

“Attempts are, of course, being made to politicise the issue following the arrest and interrogation of the head of the Gen. Ibrahim Babangida Campaign Organisation, Chief Raymond Dokpesi. This is coming fast on the heels of the rather tasteless comment made by that organisation which, rather than commiserate with Nigerians, particularly families of the victims, claimed that their principal would be better placed to superintend national security issues, a claim which flies in the face of the needless blood-letting during his time as military president.

“No attempt must be made to obfuscate the investigation of a clear act of terrorism by recourse to cheap, partisan politics.”

The presidential aspirants from the geo-political North on the platform of the Peoples’ Democratic Party -Ibrahim Babangida, Atiku Abubakar, Aliyu Gusau and Bukola Saraki – have warned that the country’s nascent democracy is under threat, given the manner Jonathan is handling issues of national security.

The quartet in a two-page statement signed by the director-general of the respective campaign organisations, Sen. Kanti Bello (IBB), Sen. Ben Obi (Aliyu Gusau), Chris Mammah (Atiku Abubakar) and Dr. Udenta O. Udenta (Bukola Saraki), also alerted the United Nation, Africa Union and the ECOWAS to what they called, “the dangerous political and security situation in Nigeria; a situation that is capable of compromising its national integrity, if not well handled”.

Furthermore, the aspirants warned, “Nigeria’s constitutional democracy is currently under threat given the increasingly desperate, intolerant and arbitrary manner the government of President Jonathan is handling issues of national security and the respect of the rights of law-abiding citizens.

“We wish to play the politics of ideas and issues, and not the politics of impunity and intolerance.”

They also expressed their reservation over what they called the sheer politics the government is playing with the security with the security and lives of the citizens.

The presidential aspirants said that the Jonathan administration is operating under the shadow of “its self inflicted siege mentality, and to assure the nation and the international community that it is in charge and on top of the situation, has begun to unleash a culture of intimidation, harassment and fear against leading political opponents as a means of silencing their voices and ensuring its success in the 2011 presidential election”.

Meanwhile, the Ibrahim Babangida Campaign Organisation said yesterday that its director-general, High Chief Raymond Alegho Dokpesi, is being hounded by operatives of the State Security Service because he turned down an offer to be appointed the Director-General of President Goodluck Jonathan presidential campaign.

The SSS said that they have telephone text messages from two of the suspects in their custody that linked Dokpesi with the Independence day bombings.

But the IBB Campaign Organisation said yesterday that the serial arrests and invitation of members of the campaign organisation “is a deliberate provocation aimed at psychologically destabilising our campaign organisation.”

Deputy director-general of the IBB Campaign Organisation, Senator Kanti Bello explaining why Chief Dokpesi is being hounded said, “It is instructive to note that the only offence of High Chief Dr. Raymond Dokpesi was the fact that he rejected his appointment as director-general of the President Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation.

“In rejecting the said appointment, he had informed the world that his belief in the zoning arrangement of the Peoples’ Democratic Party in which the presidency is to the North from 2007 to 2015 would present to him a moral burden.”

The Campaign Organisation said that it is pitiful that the presidency has politicised the gruesome and wanton murder of fellow citizens.

“Instead of finding the culprits and perpetrators of this dastardly act, Government and its security agencies appear resolved to dissipate their energy and our national resources in haunting and hunting its opponents”, the Organisation said.

Senator Kanti Bello, who was flanked by other directors of the Campaign organization said that Dr. Dokpesi could not attend the briefing because he had to report at the SSS headquarters at 3 p.m. on a daily basis, as he was granted bail late on Monday evening.

While describing the development as ‘a distraction’, the deputy director-general exonerated Dokpesi of the allegations leveled against him by the SSS, noting that the security operatives were yet to produce the suspects to authenticate their claims.