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ACN, Presidency Tango Over President Jonathan's Thursday Visit To Lagos

Source: thewillnigeria.com

SAN FRANCISCO, April 17, (THEWILL) – The Presidency Wednesday took on the Action Congress of Nigeria over the party’s claim that President Goodluck Jonathan’s scheduled visit to Lagos on Thursday, April 18, 2013, which coincides with the party’s National Convention in Lagos, is part of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) plot to disrupt the convention and frustrate the merger plan of opposition parties.

The ACN in a letter to the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola had urged the Governor to prevail on the Presidency to reschedule the Jonathan’s visit saying, “We are concerned that based on precedence, the visit of the President may lead to the closure of key arterial roads in the city, which could prevent thousands of our supporters coming to Lagos from all parts of the federation from making it to the venue of the convention.”

The ACN in the letter signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Lai Mohammed, further said “This may lead to frustration and provocation on the part of these supporters, who would have travelled hundreds of kilometers from their destinations.

“In particular, the timing of the President’s visit and the attendant disruption of traffic in Lagos may be seen as a continuation of perceived attempts by the PDP-led Federal Government to frustrate the merger of our party with other progressive parties which is a k key item on the agenda of our National Convention on Thursday…”

The party further urged the Governor to prevail on the President to use other means of commute within Lagos like a helicopter “that will not engender closure of roads on a very busy day in the city.”

But the Presidency in a counter statement has described as “baseless” the ACN’s claim that the President’s visit to Lagos is part of a design to frustrate its scheduled National Convention and merger with other opposition parties.

The Presidency accused Mr. Mohammed and his party of always “crying wolf” saying, President Jonathan’s travel plan would in no way obstruct the ACN’s National Convention.

“We find it hard to believe that any patriotic and right-thinking Nigerian would have written the kind of publicly circulated letter reportedly sent to the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola by the National Publicity Secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in which he attempts to dictate President Jonathan’s itinerary, mode of transportation within Lagos, and motive, and even suggests that the President’s visit could have been designed to frustrate a planned Action Congress of Nigeria convention and merger with some other political parties.

“The allegation is not only baseless, but another in the series of ‘wolf crying’ that has become the sole strategy and pre-occupation of the ACN. It is clearly a deliberate, further attempt to undermine, ridicule and debase the office of the President of the Federal Republic.

“A courteous and simple discussion of the phantom potential conflict of programmes with appropriate officials of the Presidency would have sufficed to inform the ACN and its officials that President Jonathan is only transiting through Lagos tomorrow on his way to the commissioning of the WEMPCO Cold Roll Steel Plant in Ibafo, Ogun State,” the Presidency said in a statement by Presidential Spokesman, Reuben Abati.

See below the full text of the ACN letter and the Presidency’s statement.

ALLEGED PLANS TO DISRUPT ACN CONVENTION IN LAGOS WITH PRESIDENTIAL VISIT TOTALLY BASELESS

We find it hard to believe that any patriotic and right-thinking Nigerian would have written the kind of publicly circulated letter reportedly sent to the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola by the National Publicity Secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in which he attempts to dictate President Jonathan’s itinerary, mode of transportation within Lagos, and motive, and even suggests that the President’s visit could have been designed to frustrate a planned Action Congress of Nigeria convention and merger with some other political parties.

The allegation is not only baseless, but another in the series of ‘wolf crying’ that has become the sole strategy and pre-occupation of the ACN. It is clearly a deliberate, further attempt to undermine, ridicule and debase the office of the President of the Federal Republic.

A courteous and simple discussion of the phantom potential conflict of programmes with appropriate officials of the Presidency would have sufficed to inform the ACN and its officials that President Jonathan is only transiting through Lagos tomorrow on his way to the commissioning of the WEMPCO Cold Roll Steel Plant in Ibafo, Ogun State.

In point of fact, President Jonathan’s visit tomorrow which was scheduled long before the ACN convention will have absolutely no effect whatsoever on the convention as he will only touchdown at the airport, transit to Ibafo (miles away from the ACN convention venue) by chopper and return to the airport the same way for his flight back to Abuja.

It is certain that Governor Fashola was already aware of President Jonathan’s itinerary in Lagos tomorrow since in keeping with protocol, the Presidency always briefs state governments well ahead of time on all Presidential movements to their states. Alhaji Lai Mohammed’s letter was therefore pointless and serves no purpose other than distasteful muck-raking.

Furthermore, the Presidency completely rejects the insinuation in the deliberately leaked letter that the President's visits to Lagos are always disruptive. The paranoia displayed by the ACN in its plea to Governor Fashola concerning an imaginary plan to scuttle a political merger is beneath the politics of inclusiveness this administration has encouraged in its interaction with the state, as with all other states of the Federal Republic.

President Jonathan is President of the whole of Nigeria. It is strange and intolerable that any political party would as much as suggest that the President is not welcome in any state, city or local council in any part of the country at any time or date.

We have no doubts whatsoever therefore that Governor Fashola will prove to be much wiser and more mature than the ACN spokesman, and consign his letter to the dustbin.

ACN Letter To Governor Babatunde Fashola: