Alleged Plans to Disrupt ACN Convention in Lagos with Presidential Visit Totally Baseless – Abati
The presidency has reacted to a letter written by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) to the governor of Lagos state, Babtunde Raji Fashola alleging that the planned visit of President Jonathan to Lagos state is an attempt to disrupt the convention of the party slated for Thursday, April 18.
President Jonathan is scheduled to visit Lagos in the company of former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, but the ACN in a letter to governor Fashola and signed by its publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Muhammed said “the timing of the president’s visit and the attendant disruption of traffic in Lagos may be perceived as a continuation of the perceived attempts by the PDP-led federal government to frustrate the merger of our party with other progressive parties, which is a key item on the agenda of our national convention on Thursday.
Lai said following precedence, the president’s visit will necessitate the closure of arterial road in the city which will prevents thousand of its members from all over the federation from attending the convention slated for Onikan stadium, a development he said may cause frustration and provocation on the part of its supporters.
Reacting to the claim however, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati said the allegation is totally baseless.
Below is the statement by Abati:
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 resident’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.
Special Adviser to the President
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