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Dokpesi/Presidency Bickering, Ominous Sign For 2011 Elections - ACN

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ABUJA, Sept 12, (THEWILL) - The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has warned that the incendiary rhetoric emanating from the accusation and counter-accusation by the camps of President Goodluck Jonathan and former President Ibrahim Babangida could if not checked send a wrong signal and precipitate violence ahead of the 2011 general elections.

In a statement issued in Lagos today by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party called on the major players in both camps to immediately sheath their swords and embrace reconciliation, in the interest of the nation.

''The allegations by Dr. Raymond Dokpesi against the presidency are very serious indeed, especially those concerning plans to kidnap his son and ruin his business for not supporting President Jonathan's putative bid for the presidency. Equally worrisome is the strong language employed by the presidency in denying the allegations.

''For the avoidance of doubt, we in the ACN believe in freedom of association, as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and that this should not be the reason for anyone to lose his life or means of livelihood, or for anyone to make a yet-unsubstantiated and incendiary allegation."

The ACN said, ''While we hope both camps will resolve their differences, we are concerned that, once again, an intra-party issue is being allowed to overheat the polity and threaten national peace. Both President Jonathan and former President Babangida are in the PDP. If they could tear at each other this ferociously and at this stage, what will they do to those from other parties as things progress?'' ACN queried.

It expressed grave concern at the insinuation that the threat from the South-South can trigger a similar threat from the North, saying this dangerous trend amounts to ‘ethnicisation’ of violence.

''Before long, if things are not checked, religious threat will be thrown into the mix, resulting in an ethno-religious blowout from which no nation has ever survived. Such is the danger to which the PDP has again exposed our country, even after we and many others have warned this imploding behemoth not to allow its internal affairs to become a major national issue.

''We regret to say that this advice has not been heeded, with the result that the internal affairs of the PDP are threatening to become a catalyst for violence that could engulf the whole nation, and make a mess of President Jonathan's consistent pledge to organise a free, fair and credible elections next year,'' the party said.

ACN appealed to the media to help re-direct national discourse to more fundamental and important issues ahead of the 2011 general elections.

''The 'raison d'Etat' of the PDP is the sharing of the spoils of office, even as millions of Nigerians wallow in abject poverty that has left many vulnerable to diseases that have become history in other climes. That is why they have consistently pushed their internal affairs to the national stage to confuse issues. It is time Nigerians put an end to this trend.

''As the 2011 elections approach, let's have a robust debate about the state of the nation, on how to ensure that Nigeria meets the MDG targets by 2015 so we can uplift the living standards of our people. Threats and counter-threats over the ambitions of a few folks should not distract Nigerians from the main issues at stake in next year's polls,'' ACN warned.