Akin Akande, Abuja
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) on Thursday called on President Goodluck Jonathan to immediately order a probe into the published report that Rivers Governor Chibuike Amaechi was barred from paying his respects to the President at a dinner in the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Wednesday.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the President should ensure that whoever is behind such a condescending treatment of a State Governor is properly sanctioned to serve as a deterrent.
“We are making this call because we do not believe that, in spite of the reported frosty relations between the two, President Jonathan – as the father of the nation – will lend the weight of his high office to such a demeaning action as exhibited by the presidential security personnel,” ACN said.
“To believe that anyone occupying the esteemed office of the President of one of Africa’s most important nations will be a party to a situation in which any security aide will wilfully fence a state chief executive from paying his respects to the President at such an open gathering will be to think the worst of the occupier of that office. That is why we have chosen not to believe that this indeed occurred, and why we are calling on Mr. President to tell Nigerians that ‘it ain’t so,” the party said.
“We shudder to think of what efforts are being made – including the use of national institutions – to undermine Gov. Amaechi if the treatment reportedly meted out to him at the dinner has the approval of the powers that be. We are even more worried at what will happen to a governor from the opposition who falls out of favour with the President, if a governor from the same party as the President can be so publicly humiliated,” it added.
The ACN said it was particularly incumbent on the President to clarify the report because Gov. Amaechi, the authentic Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), extended an olive branch to President Jonathan by attending the dinner along with the other governors who voted him into the NGF chairmanship, despite the fact that the President is publicly supporting the losing faction of the NGF, in what is being seen as a democratic Faux Pas.
The party said the President must learn to separate politics from governance by rising above petty partisanship as he steers the affairs of state.
It urged all political office holders, irrespective of their party affiliation, to eschew the kind of pervasive and petty partisanship that led to the reported disrespect shown to an elected State Governor by a security agent being paid with taxpayers’ money.