Jonathan urges support from party leaders

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GoodLuck Johnathan

GoodLuck Johnathan

Opposition not about conflict, says Tinubu

President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, called on leaders of all major political parties in the country to join hands with his government for the transformation of Nigeria.

In an opening remark at the meeting between him and leaders of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and the Labour Party (LP) at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Jonathan said despite their political differences, the major political leaders must work with the government to ensure that Nigerians get the dividends of democracy.

“No matter who is the president, no matter who is the governor, what Nigerians are interested in is to have food on the table. There should be infrastructure, there should be security and there should be good governance. And I know that not only the ruling party can make this possible. For me to succeed, to give Nigerians what they want, we must run a stable government. It needs the cooperation of all the political parties; all the leaders”.

He said: “I want to plead with you that I will not want to run a government of opposition party or main party, I want us to collectively run a Nigerian government; a government that will take the interest of the country to heart and work towards solving our problems; the problems that are dear to our people”.

The president told the political leaders: “Our interests are the interests of Nigeria. I am not going to play politics of discrimination. I want to assure you that I do not intend to run an opposition government. Let’s cooperate for the interests of our people,” stressing that whatever the points of differences are among the different political groups, they should be able to resolve them without rancour.

“That is why I called you to assure you that I will run a Nigerian government. I want to assure you that our interest is Nigeria’s interest and I know that the interest of every politician, irrespective of political party, is the interest of the country. I am not going to play politics of discrimination,” he stated further.

The meeting, which is part of the president’s consultation platform, was however shunned by the leadership of Muhammadu Buhari’s Congress for Progress Change (CPC). Not a single member of the party attended the meeting.

While recounting the nation’s democratic journey, the president said he was hopeful that Nigeria was beginning to stabilise politically; noting that it was through their collective effort that the present leadership of the country emerged.

While emphasising the importance of the meeting with the different political parties, President Jonathan said: “If it is possible and not at variance with your parties, I suggest we meet periodically so that things that are dear to our country will be discussed”.

The president said the successful conduct of the April polls had placed a greater responsibility on Nigeria on the continental and international level, especially regarding the quest of Africa to occupy a permanent seat on United Nations Security Council (UN-SC) and noted that “if we have a stable polity, our leadership role will increase and our citizens’ status will increase. The party of Mr. President cannot do it alone”.

In an interview with State House correspondents after the meeting which lasted about an hour, Tinubu said their participation at the meeting does not in any way water down their power as opposition parties, stressing that “opposition is not all about axe, cutlasses and dane guns”.

He went on: “We did not come here to eliminate opposition; and I am speaking for my own party and not for any other party. If the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria invites you, then what he really wants is a constructive opposition. However, that does not stop you from opposing any bad government.”

Among those present at the meeting were Bello Mohammed, chairman PDP; Kao Baraje, secretary PDP; Olusola Oke, legal adviser PDP; Bisi Akande, chairman ACN; Bola Tinubu, Chris Ngige and George Akume.

Others were Ogbonnaya Onu, chairman ANPP; Lanre Amosu, ANPP chieftain; Victor Ume, chairman APGA; Tim Manakaya, APGA chieftain and Dan Nwanyanwu, chairman Labour Party.

Those who accompanied President Jonathan to the meeting were Vice President Namadi Sambo; Pius Anyim, secretary to the government of the federation (SGF); Mike Oghiadomhe, Ima Niboro and Oronto Douglas.

Oghiadohme had, in his opening remarks, pointed out that all the political parties invited for the meeting were present except the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).

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