The presidency’s support for a faction of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), led by Plateau State Governor, Chief Jonah Jang, has come under heavy criticisms from the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).
The two opposition parties in separate reactions yesterday to President Goodluck Jonathan’s acknowledgment of Jang as NGF chair at the family dinner of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) last Thursday in Abuja, faulted the president’s support for Jang.
ACN described as a travesty of democracy Jonathan’s recognition of Jang as the NGF chairman while the CPC said the president’s action was shameful.
ACN, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said it smacked of political opportunism for the president to show his bias for the Jang faction, whose leader lost to Rivers State Governor, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, in what has been widely acknowledged as a free, fair and transparent NGF poll.
It added that the president's ill-advised decision has shown that he has little or no respect for democracy and will stop at nothing to jettison time-tested ideals on the altar of political opportunism.
It explained that the recognition of the losing candidate for the NGF chairmanship has also shown that the president's spokesmen either do not know the thinking of their principal or have chosen to engage in downright lies in his defence.
It said: ''President Jonathan is frittering away whatever is left of his credibility by the day. His spokesman said in a statement the day after the NGF election that 'the President has always shown a willingness to work harmoniously with any leadership freely and independently chosen by the governors’ forum for the collective progress and development of all sections of the country and will continue to do so.’
"It is now clear that the presidency's statement is not worth the paper on which it is written, that in the Nigerian presidency, words do not carry their exact meanings and that the spokesmen for the president speak for no one but themselves.
“When viewed in the context of similar deceitful statements by the presidency in the past, especially on the health of the first lady, one can see a growing pattern of a lying presidency, a presidency that likes to hide behind one finger. This is sad, because without credibility, a president cannot govern successfully.''
According to the party, Jonathan, who should be looked up to as the father of all, has become the father of a few renegades, and descended from being the president of Nigeria to the president of the PDP and now the president of a faction of the PDP.
''This president is daily cementing his unenviable reputation as the most divisive president in the history of Nigeria. By raising partisan politics to a pedestal higher than national interest, he has divided the country along religious, ethnic and political lines more than any of his predecessors.
''In the process, he has destroyed or about to destroy national institutions and organisations. First, he succumbed to the pressure from his party to deal with the judiciary for daring to reverse the outcome of some of PDP's rigged polls. But for a courageous Chief Justice of Nigeria who cannot be teleguided now in the saddle, the judiciary will have been emasculated altogether
''Then the president all but put an end to the fight against corruption, which is widely acknowledged as a canker worm that is fast destroying the fabric of our society, and now he has destroyed the NGF. This is not an enviable legacy for any president,'' it said.
On its part, the CPC described as a shameful act the Presidency's move to recognise the Jang faction of the NGF, saying the reason for the presidency's action is that it did not believe that Amaechi’s re-election would be helpful to Jonathan's re-election bid in 2015.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin, CPC accused the president of using the PDP platform to frustrate Amaechi’s ambition.
"The deception did not travel for too long. President Goodluck Jonathan’s endorsement of Governor Jonah Jang as the ‘elected’ Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has finally removed the wind off the sail of the rigmarole and denials as regards the source of the contrived crisis in the NGF.
The party said the high-wire intrigues deployed by the PDP high command to stop Amaechi’s re-election, belied the determination of the president to use the election as the litmus test for his readiness to capture the country in 2015.
It criticised the anti-Amaechi’s faction for their undemocratic posture, adding: “for any dispassionate and discerning observer, this puerile predication of the anti-Amaechi group’s dissent is laughable and utterly ludicrous.”
"As a party, we are appalled by the president’s abandonment of the ship of state to cause needless overheating of the polity. The NGF, as it stands, remains a voluntary platform among Nigeria’s governors, with no constitutional function. How the election of the chairman of the NGF captured the animated interest of the president, despite the seeming myriad of issues besetting the nation state, is still puzzling.
"This, of course, is another attestation to the president’s besmirched reputation for wrong priorities. Undoubtedly, the president’s conduct in the just-concluded governors’ election is a pointer to the immense electoral incongruities being planned for the 2015 elections.
“Unfortunately, all the president’s men and women have sworn to obsequious subservience which explains why he is egged on to continue with the capricious politics that is only geared towards exacerbating the overheated Nigerian polity” it said.
The CPC urged the international community to take greater interest in Nigeria’s democracy to prevent the president from jeopardising it.