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- Category: Politics
- Published on Thursday, 02 June 2011 09:26
- Written by Admin
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Picture: From right: President Goodluck Jonathan; Senator George Akume; Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Chairman, Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Chief Bisi Akande at the consultative meeting between President Jonathan and leaders of six political parties at the State House, Abuja, yesterday. Photo: Abayomi Adeshida.
On this score, he met behind closed doors yesterday with the leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in Aso Rock, as part of efforts to carry all stakeholders along.
Although the outcome of the secret talks was not immediately clear, Tinubu told State House correspondents that the meeting went very well and was very successful, saying that “opposition is not about axes, cutlasses and dane guns.”
The president also met publicly with leaders of major political parties in the country where he called on them to join hands with his government for the country’s transformation.
The leadership of Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, was however absent at the meeting, which held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
In an opening remark at the meeting which other parties including ACN; All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP; All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA; and Labour Party, LP, among others in attendance, President Jonathan said despite their political differences, major political leaders must work with the government to ensure that Nigerians get the dividends of democracy.
Cooperation of all the political parties
“No matter who is the President, no matter who is the governor, what Nigerians are interested in is to have food on the table, there should be infrastructure, there should be security and there should be good governance. And I know that not only the ruling party alone can make this possible. For me to succeed, to give Nigerians what they want, we must run a stable government. It needs the cooperation of all the political parties, all the leaders,” he said.
Those in attendance were Bello Mohammed, Chairman of PDP; Kao Baraje, Secretary of PDP and Olusola Oke, Legal Adviser, PDP; Bisi Akande, Chairman ACN; Alhaji Bola Tinubu; Chris Ngige; and George Akume.
Others are Ogbonnaya Onu, Chairman ANPP; Lanre Amosu, ANPP chieftain; Victor Ume, Chairman, APGA, Tim Manakaya, APGA; and Dan Nwuanyawu, Chairman, LP, among others.
Those on the side of government with President Jonathan were Vice President Namadi Sambo; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim; Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe; Presidential spokesman, Mr Ima Niboro and Special Assistant on Research and Documentation, Mr Oronto Douglas.
I ‘ll run an inclusive govt — Jonathan
Jonathan said: “I want to plead with you that I will not want to run a government of opposition party or main party, I want us to collectively run a Nigerian government, a government that will take the interest of the country at heart and work towards solving our problems; the problems that are dear to our people.”
President Jonathan told the political leaders “that our interest is the interest of Nigeria, I am not going to play politics of discrimination. I want to assure you that I do not intend to run an opposition government. Let’s cooperate for the interests of our people,” stressing that whatever the point of differences among the different political groups was “we should be able to resolve our differences without rancour.
“That is why I call you, to assure you that I will run a Nigerian government. I want to assure you that our interest is the Nigerian interest and I know that the interest of every politician irrespective of the political party is the interest of the country. I am not going to play politics of discrimination,” he stated further.
CPC shuns parley
The meeting, which is part of the president’s consultation platform, was however shunned by the leadership of the Muhammed Buhari’s CPC. Not a single member of the party attended the meeting.
Nigeria is beginning to stabilise politically
While recounting the nation’s democratic journey, the president said he was hopeful that “Nigeria is beginning to stabilise politically” noting that it was through their collective efforts that the present leadership of the country emerged.
While emphasising the importance of the meetings with the different political parties, President Jonathan said “if it is possible and not at variance with your parties, I suggest we meet periodically so that things that are dear to our country, we will be able to discuss them.”
The president said the successful conduct of the April polls had placed more responsibilities on Nigeria both on the continental and at international level, especially the quest by Africa to occupy a permanent seat at United Nations Security Council, UNSC, and noted that “if we have a stable polity, our leadership role will increase and our citizens’ status will increase. The party of Mr. President cannot do it alone.”
Intrigues of Jonathan, Tinubu secret parley
Despite the warning of the leadership of ACN to its members not to visit Aso villa, the seat of government and his denial that he was hobnobbing with President Goodluck Jonathan, ACN National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Chairman yesterday held a secret meeting with the nation’s number one citizen.
The parley seems to be a fall out of the meeting that took place between the two shortly before the April Presidential polls that delivered the predominantly ACN South-West to Jonathan, who contested under the PDP.
Although the ACN leader has denied interest in contributing nominees to the cabinet being put together by the President, watchers say yesterday’s meeting could be a forum to finalise such an arrangement.
Nation first before personal interest —Tinubu
Justifying the talks with the president, Asiwaju Tinubu said: “The campaign is over, we are all Nigerians, patriotism dictates that you put the nation first before your personal interest, therefore you don’t have to look at the political partisan angle but look at the intention of the president exactly what he wants to achieve. He is the president until maybe the judiciary says otherwise.
He said that the meeting with President Jonathan to him “does not water the strength of the opposition parties in the country, adding that “it is a one-day meeting. It is not a regular meeting. There is a constructive level of opinion that you can get and use to build the nation.
Opposition not about axes, dane guns
“There is security situation; there are judicial matters too. There are so many issues in a complex country such as this that you can share and still not jeopardize the opposition. Opposition is not about axes, cutlasses and dane guns”.
Tinubu noted that as political leaders, who are interested in the growth and development of the nation, an invitation by the president to attend a meeting was in the right direction.
On the specific outcome of the meeting, he said “I am not in a position to discuss that, you have to talk to one of the party officials but the discussions were very constructive and were about nation-building and sustenance of democracy.
Meeting was successful
“As a nationalist, you have to respond to the call of the president and he spoke very well today, the meeting was a very successful one but that does not eliminate opposition”.
He, however, said ACN would continue to raise its voice in opposition to government’s decisions or policies that run contrary to the wishes and aspiration of the Nigerian people.
According to him, “we are not here to eliminate opposition and I am speaking for my own party and not for any other party. If you are invited by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, then what he really wants is a constructive opposition. However, that does not stop you from opposing any bad governance.” (Vanguard)