The All Progressives Congress (APC) has put the blame for last week’s blockade of the Rivers State Government House squarely on President Goodluck Jonathan. The party said what he called Dr. Jonathan’s unbridled disposition toward cheap political vendetta has pushed him to commit impunity and unconstitutionality perhaps more than any other President in the country’s history.
In a statement issued in Lagos yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party also said the police could not have blocked Governor Chibuike Amaechi and his guests from his residence if they were not assured of support from higher authorities.
It, however, warned that giving presidential backing to the police – or any national institution at all – to commit impunity and violate the Constitution is the fastest means to destroy such institutions and erode public confidence in them.
‘’In the case of the police, what is happening in Rivers is sending a wrong signal to the polity concerning the role of the force in 2015.
“How can a malleable police be trusted to be neutral and to help ensure the conduct of a free and fair election – with the President as a candidate – in 2015?’’ the APC queried.
The party said the Police under President Jonathan has increasingly become a lawless Force whose allegiance is only to the President and not to the Constitution, a Police Force that has become a tool in the hands of the President to harass, intimidate, arrest and persecute all his real and perceived political enemies.
Said the APC: ‘’Since the outset of the President Jonathan-inspired political logjam in Rivers State and the implosion of his party, the PDP, the President has been depending on the Police to shore up his dwindling political fortune. The insubordination of the Rivers State Super Police Commissioner Mbu; the police-sponsored fracas in the Rivers State House of Assembly; the assault on the five visiting governors by thugs working under the direction and protection of the State Commissioner of Police and the unlawful occupation of the new PDP secretariats at Abuja and Lagos are clear examples.”
‘’President Jonathan, however, should be told in clear and unambiguous language that Nigerians will resist all machinations by him to turn Nigeria into a police state,’’ it said.
The APC also said those who have been struggling to distance the President from the crisis in Rivers are being clever by half, since it is clear to all Nigerians that the President is the puppeteer in the crisis from day one, hence it has festered despite all efforts to end it.
‘’As far as the crisis in Rivers is concerned, the buck stops on the President’s desk. Here is a President who decided, unwisely, to make the election of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum a referendum on his administration’s credibility. Even after he lost woefully, he has failed to learn his lessons, as he has continued in his hot pursuit of a fellow-elected political leader.
‘’Today, no thanks partly to his political vendetta in Rivers and elsewhere, the President’s political empire has collapsed completely and no amount of police repression, subversion of the constitution or reign of impunity can savage it.
‘’President Jonathan has proven himself to be incapable of managing success. A President who presumably won a pan-Nigerian mandate, whose party controls 23 out of 36 states and has an overwhelming majority in the National Assembly has, in a period of less than 30 months, frittered all away and is today left with less than 16 state governors and lost control of the National Assembly.
‘’President Jonathan today holds the unenviable record of being the first sitting President of the country to suffer the indignity of being walked out upon by governors and federal legislators elected on the platform of his own party; as well as senior members of the same party at its National Convention in the full glare of local and international media.
‘’Under his watch, his party which at the height of its self delusion pride itself as the biggest party in Africa that is destined to rule the country for the 60 years has now imploded and the fallout of this implosion is threatening the fragile unity of the country. President Jonathan, more than any other President in the history of the country, has promoted and encouraged impunity and unconstitutionality, encouraged divisive policies and exploited religious and ethnic differences – all in his attempts to cling to power till 2015 and beyond,’’ the party said.
APC, therefore, said President Jonathan should be held responsible for the current climate of impunity, unconstitutionality and overheating of the polity that is threatening the peace and stability of the country.