by Deji Abiodun
President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday said there was no truth in the claim by a national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, that he offered the former Lagos State governor the opportunity to serve as Vice President in a proposed Interim National Government.
Jonathan, who spoke with State House correspondents in Abuja through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, described Tinubu’s claim as absurd and ridiculous.
Tinubu had, in a statement by his media office on Thursday, claimed that the recent attacks on his person were because he rejected the offer by Jonathan to serve as the Vice President in an ING.
He claimed that having refused the offer, the President was looking for ways to take him out either by killing him or getting him arrested based on trumped up charges.
But Abati insisted that the position of Jonathan had remained that the idea of an ING is treasonable.
He said the President had made it clear that he had neither proposed the idea at any forum nor discussed it with anybody.
He added that as a democratically elected President, Jonathan’s ambition could never be to head an ING under whatever circumstances.
The presidential spokesman said Jonathan was going into the March 28 presidential election with the conviction that he had performed well and majority of Nigerians would vote for him massively.
He explained that the President therefore has no reason whatsoever to support such an unconstitutional proposition as ING which would amount to assault on democratic principles.
He said, “If you de-construct the statement that purportedly emanated from the office of Asiwaju Tinubu, you will see again the absurd nature of it.
“The absolutely ridiculous nature of it in the sense that given the configuration of Nigeria, it is not likely, totally impossible to have an ING arrangement in which you will have a southerner as the President and then another southerner as Vice President.
“It is absurd. It is not something that is likely to work given the nature of our politics.
“But the Tinubu camp, putting out that statement, were so much in a hurry to engage in their usual game of deceiving the public of propagandaism of the current electoral process, that the emptiness, the hollowness, the shallowness of their proposition escaped them.”
Abati appealed to Nigerians to dismiss Tinubu’s claim as “another gimmick coming from a desperate political group seeing that defeat is staring them in the face.”
He said Nigerians might witness greater desperation from the opposition’s camp as the nation gets closer to the general elections.
“But our appeal to Nigerians is that this country is greater than everyone’s ambition and at the end of the day what is important is Nigeria.
“And those who seem determined to pull down this country with lies, with black information, they are the enemies of this country and do not deserve to be given the opportunity to occupy, to enjoy opportunities that they do not deserve,” Abati concluded.