President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday [April 10] faulted a claim by the All Progressives Congress that his Thursday visit to Lagos was to coordinate rigging plans for the Peoples Democratic Party in the Saturday governorship election. He wondered why he would rig the governorship election for the PDP when he did not rig the March 28 presidential election in which he was a candidate.
Jonathan’s position was contained in a statement made available to journalists by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati. Abati insisted that there was nothing unusual in people paying homage to the President when he is on a visit to Lagos or any other part of the country. He said the APC spokesman lied as usual and was rude to insinuate that Jonathan met with people in Lagos for the purpose of rigging the elections.
The presidential spokesman said Muhammed and his paymasters were only cooking up meaningless tales in order to change the commendation Jonathan had received across the globe for conceding defeat in the presidential election. He said, “Lai Muhammed is wrong to say that the President came to Lagos to rig the governorship and State House of Assembly elections scheduled for Saturday, April 11. He is of course lying as usual. And rude.
“President Jonathan visited Lagos. He arrived on Thursday and left on Friday. People visited him. So what? Anytime the President is in Lagos or any part of the country, a lot of people come to pay homage to him. “Nothing unusual happened during his last visit to Lagos. Senator Musiliu Obanikoro’s visit to the President in Lagos is not something that anybody should use to play politics. Koro is a Minister of the Federal Republic. He came to see his boss.
“Mr. Jimi Agbaje is the governorship candidate of the PDP in Lagos. I don’t see how his visit to the President, who is also the leader of his party, the PDP, should become an issue. “Yes, Gani Adams also visited, but so did a lot of other people.”
Abati added that the President did not hold meetings with INEC officials; neither did he meet with the police, polling officials or with anybody who is involved in organising elections. He said to claim that the President went to Lagos to supervise the rigging of Saturday’s election was most uncharitable and cruel. “After the presidential election, the President immediately congratulated Gen. Buhari and the whole world has commended him for saving Nigeria.
“President Jonathan’s sportsmanship, statesmanship and leadership saved this country at that critical moment. He has demonstrated his commitment to free and fair election, the rule of law and due process. He has shown that he is a man of character, honour and integrity. Nigerians generally are proud of him. “He has left a worthy legacy and shown a great example. That, obviously, is the narrative that Lai Muhammed and his masters want to change, so they are now cooking up meaningless tales.
“Lai Muhammed should look for another target and leave the President alone. His fatuous tale does not make any sense. I repeat: we will like to advise that the APC should just leave the President alone. “President Jonathan was a candidate in the presidential election; he did not rig the election. Why would he want to rig tomorrow’s elections? he added.