The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has reviewed comments attributed to our respected elder statesman and former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr. Christopher Kolade, on the leadership of the nation, specifically as it relates to the fight against the insurgency facing our country.
Speaking at a symposium organised by the Nigerian Leadership Initiative on Thursday, Kolade said that Jonathan was lacking in some leadership qualities, citing an incident when the president attended a rally in Kano a day after 59 boys were killed in Yobe state.
Reacting to his statement on Saturday, the party through its spokesman, Olisa Metuh, said the party regrets that Dr. Kolade, an eminent Nigerian with very senior diplomatic credentials, who also served as the Chairman of SURE-P, a special development and empowerment programme of the Jonathan administration, apparently got his facts mixed up about the character and person of the President and the nature of the overall security challenges in our country.
Metuch said the PDP decided to exercise restraint expecting Dr. Kolade to retract his statement, but such never came, hence this reaction.
He said while the recognize the inalienable right of citizens to hold opinions and fully express themselves, especially given the institutionalized freedom Nigerians now enjoy under the present administration, it is only fair that comments, particularly those from prominent persons in the mold of Dr. Kolade must be based only on the truth.
Statement reads in parts, “We found it curious that Dr. Kolade, a supposedly apolitical elder statesman, who has an unfettered access to the President, could resort to public mudslinging, relying on oft-repeated lies of the All Progressives Congress (APC) apparently aimed to disparage and discredit the President ahead of the 2015 general elections.”
Indeed, the timing and the tenor of Dr. Kolade’s outburst, given the security and political situation in the land, is also very worrisome especially when a nerve-soothing statement from a person of his age and status could have encouraged our citizens and help douse the tension in the polity, Metuh added.
“It is mind-boggling and embarrassing that this eminent technocrat could attempt to stand history on its head by stating that President Goodluck Jonathan went to a rally in Kano state “the next day” after 59 students were killed in Yobe state. It is common knowledge and verifiable fact that the said PDP Kano rally held on April 15, 2014, about two months after the unfortunate killing of 59 students in Yobe in February, 2014.”
“Whilst we do not expect everybody to agree with President Jonathan’s leadership style, we are nevertheless encouraged that Nigerians from all walks of life appreciate the President as a committed and sincere leader with very strong bond with his people and their well-being irrespective of religious, ethnic and political affiliations.”
It says the party in the last four years, under President Jonathan, our country has witnessed unprecedented growth and verifiable achievements in all sectors with our economy ranking as the largest in Africa in spite of the daunting security challenges and the global economic recession, a fact which Dr. Kolade as a technocrat is fully aware of.
“It is incontrovertible that the Federal Government has sustained the fight against insurgency, deploying huge budgetary allocations to re-equip our security forces as well as intensified collaborations with national and international stakeholders to bring lasting peace to our country.”
Let it be clear that the PDP-led administration shall never allow terrorists and their supporters to dictate the tempo of government, which has been their direct objective Metuh concluded.