The presidency yesterday took another swipe at former president, Olusegun Obasanjo who last week, accused President Goodluck Jonathan of placing perceived political opponents under the watchful eyes of snipers, It told Obasanjo to show proof in that respect or shut up forever. In the same vein, the seat of power warned the All Progressive Congress (APC) to be careful in making inciting statements and unfounded allegations against President Goodluck Jonathan or its members would be made to face charges of treason.
It implicitly told former President Olusegun Obsanjo who had last week alleged the existence of snipers against the president to boldly come forward and provide proof or remain silent forever as a coward he is.
Obasanjo had written an 18 paragraph letter alleging series of corrupt practices against President Jonathan.
But Special Adviser to the president on media and publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati noted in a statement yesterday said,
"President Jonathan is running a people's government. He does not need any snipers. His legitimacy comes from the people. Those who are alleging the existence of snipers should step forward and provide the evidence or shut up forever and go down in history as spineless cowards, driven by sheer greed and indecency.
"We dismiss the APC's call for the President's impeachment as opportunistic, partisan and ill-motivated.
We call on patriots to make the necessary distinction between such reckless violations of civic duty and the urgent need to protect the integrity of the Nigerian nation against those who for selfish reasons have declared their readiness to stop at nothing".
Abati described as reckless and irresponsible the call by the APC for the National Assembly to commence impeachment proceedings against the president.
He reminded the APC that as an opposition party which remains a minority "with doubtful credentials in the National Assembly, knows fully well that its attempt to hector and blackmail a Parliament dominated by loyal members of the President's party, the PDP, into an impeachment process, will come to nothing".
Threatening to prefer charges bordering on treason against members of the APC, Abati stated: "In this regard, we have noted the undisguised threat by the APC to foster public insurrection against the Federal Government if pending legal cases go against it. We urge Nigerians to take special note of this boastful indication of an intention to resort to lawlessness. The Presidency warns that the APC and any persons who make themselves its willing tools for the breach of public order and safety will be made to face the full sanctions of the law.
"Those who are threatening fire and brimstone should be ready for consequences of treasonable action. The APC's false copy-cat allegation that 1, 000 snipers are being trained by the Jonathan Administration clearly shows that they are now in cahoots with some other elements who are bent on discrediting this administration and inciting the public against it".
The presidential spokesman said ordinarily, the presidency wouldn't have dignified the party's spokesman, Alhaji Lai Mohammed's "latest vituperations in the service of his paymasters with a response".
He added, however, the presidency "thought it necessary to warn that the federal government will not standby idly and let the nation be plunged into unnecessary crises and political instability because of the desperation and apparent readiness of the APC spokesman and his gang of power-seeking desperadoes to sacrifice the well-being of the country on the altar of their selfish personal ambitions.
"The Presidency totally condemns the decision by Alhaji Mohammed and his party to move further beyond the bounds of honourable and acceptable political conduct with the senseless call for the impeachment of a President who continues to sincerely devote himself to the discharge of the sacred mandate freely given to him by Nigerians", Abati noted.
Abati who wondered why the APC "has cavalierly embarked on this outrageous gambit, with scant regard for peace, order, security and political stability in the country" said it was "in furtherance of its dastardly and heinous strategy of over-heating the polity and working to cause public disaffection against the Jonathan Presidency with lies, false accusations and unjustifiable indictments ahead of the 2015 general elections.
"The emptiness and hollowness of the APC's call for President Jonathan's impeachment will be obvious to all objective and discerning Nigerians who read through the statement issued by Alhaji Mohammed today. It was long on self-serving rhetoric and falsehoods, but lacked a single clearly defined charge on the basis of which any plausible impeachment proceedings against the President can be initiated", he added.
The statement made available to LEADERSHIP yesterday night further reads: "All that the APC could offer in justification of its absurd and hare-brained impeachment call was a rehash of its well-worn litany of baseless accusations against the President, including some for which culpability should be laid squarely at the doorsteps of its own leaders and some of their new friends.
"The Presidency also considers it utterly deplorable that the APC has, in its Machiavellian desperation to seize control of the Federal Government, recklessly assailed the integrity and honour of the Nigerian Judiciary in a callous attempt to pre-empt the outcome of the case legitimately brought against it and some of its new friends by the PDP.
"Alhaji Mohammed's unscrupulous effort to drag the nation's judiciary into its murky political warfare and his readiness to intimidate and blackmail members of the bench so as to secure a favourable outcome for his party in the pending case clearly shows that nothing is beyond the pale for him and the APC in pursuit of their quest for power.
"The Jonathan Administration does not need Lai Mohammed or the APC to remind it of its constitutional responsibility for the security and well-being of Nigerians. The President will continue to do his utmost best to achieve positive national transformation in all areas in spite of efforts by the opposition to thwart or disparage the work of his administration.
Impeach Jonathan before Nigeria crashes -APC
But as Abati issued his statement, APC asked the National Assembly to rise beyond partisanship and save Nigeria from imminent collapse by immediately kick-starting the process of impeaching President Goodluck Jonathan for gross misconduct.
In a statement issued in Lagos on yesterday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said it is issuing the call with a high sense of responsibility and the strong belief that the impeachment of the president is a legitimate constitutional option available to the National Assembly not only to protect the nation's democracy but also to ensure the country's unity.
But President Jonathan's party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the call as irresponsible
Regardless, the APC said: "Our country is drifting dangerously and our people are divided now perhaps more than at any other point in our history, with the exception of the civil war period. There is a total failure of leadership, even as insecurity, unprecedented corruption, palpable impunity, massive unemployment and hunger stalk the land.
"Since the raison d'etre of any government is the security and welfare of the citizenry, and the present administration has failed to live up to the justification of its existence, there can be no other definition of gross misconduct than that.
"Therefore, the time has come for the head of that government, on whose desk the buck stops, to be removed through the provisions stipulated in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This is the patriotic thing to do," it said.
APC warned that if the National Assembly fails to act and do so very fast, it will share with the clueless and feckless Jonathan
administration the eternal blame for bringing to naught the hard work of the nation's heroes past and for crashing and dashing the hopes of millions of Nigerians, especially the youth who are the leaders of tomorrow.
The party said it is necessary for anyone who may say the call for the impeachment of President Jonathan is outlandish to remember that all it takes to torpedo this democracy is for this increasingly-paranoid government to get a pliant Judge to put a judicial stamp on just one of its litany of illegalities, thus setting the country ablaze, adding: "And there are many such Judges as we can see by some recent events, despite our warnings that the efforts of the current CJN to clean up the judiciary must not be sabotaged by a few pliant Judges."
"One such scenario is the present challenge in court by the PDP of the defection to the APC of five state governors. The PDP has gone to court fully aware of the ruling of the Supreme Court after the party (PDP) attempted to make then Vice President Atiku Abubakar to lose his seat and to also strip him of his privileges following his defection to the ACN.
"What then can be the sole motive behind the PDP's action: To plunge Nigerian into chaos! This is why we issued a strong warning in our statement of Dec. 5th thus: 'We wish to state unequivocally that should the PDP go ahead with this plan, there will be widespread repercussions as the APC has resolved that henceforth, every act of impunity of the PDP and the Presidency will be met with stiff resistance in the form of a vociferous telegraphing of people power, the likes of which have not been witnessed in these parts'.
"We reiterate those words today, and make bold to say that not even the revelation by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, that snipers are being trained secretly and that 1,000 people have been placed on political watch, will deter us from saving this democracy, which was watered by the sweat and blood of many patriots, long before this generation of opportunists stormed the political scene," it said.
Call for Jonathan's impeachment irresponsible - PDP
In its response, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday described the call for President Goodluck Jonathan's impeachmen as irresponsible. According to the national publicity secretary, Chief Oliseh Metuh, who spoke with Leadership on phone, the opposition APC was scared of losing in 2015, hence their resort to causing confusion in the land. Speaking further in a statement which Metuh later released, the PDP described the call by APC for impeachment of Jonathan "as irresponsible, immature, self seeking and part of their larger agenda to truncate democracy in Nigeria.
"Upon their realization that they will not win in the 2015 general elections following the failure of their plans to break the ranks and strength of the PDP, they now seek to use all means to cause confusion in the land.
"The APC knows the implication of the call which is to cause massive turmoil and destroy the unity of our dear nation.
Nevertheless, the PDP is ready, willing and able to stop them in their track."