Nigeria: No rift between Jonathan and Obasanjo – Presidency

By IndepthAfrica
In Nigeria
Dec 24th, 2012

The Presidency on Sunday denied the existence of a rift between President Goodluck Jonathan and ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, saying the reported “frosty relationship” between them was “mere drama which is a very important element of politics and governance.”

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, said this while reacting to recent interview granted by a leader of the Niger Delta Volunteer Force, Mujaheed Dokubo-Asari.

Mr Asari-Dokubo had, among other things, said President Jonathan would not rule beyond 2015 because he is surrounded by greedy politicians who caused the rift between him and Mr Obasanjo.

However, Mr Abati in an interview with State House correspondents in Abuja said, “I keep saying it; there is no rift between President Jonathan and former President Obasanjo. The President has utmost respect for the former President whom he regards as his father. He even calls him ‘Baba.’

“I don’t think anybody can say he has any evidence anywhere where the President has been disrespectful to the elderly man. So, those things that you see in the newspapers about people saying President Jonathan and former President Obasanjo are quarrelling are exaggerated. They do not reflect the truth,”

Mr Abati claimed that “some persons” were just bringing up issues in an attempt to set up the two leaders.

He said that Misters Jonathan and Obasanjo were experienced enough to discern the tactics.

The presidential spokesman said Dokubo-Asari’s attack on the President amounted to a member of the house, who stands outside to urinate into the same house. He urged him to see the big picture and worry less about greedy people who are preventing other Ijaws from reaching the President.

“I was quite surprised that he would talk like that because as he himself admitted in that interview, he is close to government. So, I don’t know whether it is a wise thing for you to be a member of the house and then stand outside and urinate into that same house. Doing so may serve the purpose of sensationalism and it may please some mischief makers, but the truth of the matter is that wise people may think that that is not really the right way to go,” he added.

He urged Dokubo-Asari to be consistent, honest and truthful, and be less worried about those who are preventing other people from seeing the President.

He said, “President Jonathan is not running an Ijaw project. He is running a Nigerian project and I keep saying he is a man who is very conscious of his place in history. At the end of the day, whether the people say they are being blocked from having access to him, or even those of us who work for him, it is important to remember that the only person that will be called to come and give account is President Jonathan.

“That is the man Nigerians voted for and all of us, whether we are his kinsmen or we are his staff or we are his friends, I think we should focus more on the Nigerian project, the Nigerian assignment that President Jonathan has been given and worry less about insinuations like all these ‘people are blocking me from having access’, ‘he has forgotten his brothers’, ‘he is arguing with a particular person.” Channels

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