The Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati on Friday, March 13, 2015 lampooned National Leader of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu after a statement from the office of the former Lagos State Governor was quoted as saying President Jonathan had offered him the office of Vice President if he dumps his party’s presidential candidate, General Muhammed Buhari and support the floating of an Interim National Government.
Speaking to State House correspondents in Abuja, Abati re-echoed the words of President Jonathan, who had earlier said such utterances were liable to be treated as treason.
Denying the claims, Abati urged the Nigerian public to disregard the claims as the idea of an Interim National Government was alien to the Nigerian constitution.
He said: “A statement from the office of the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, alleged that he had been offered by President Jonathan the position of the vice president in an imaginary national interim government.
“Except people have not been following the news or they have chosen wilfully to play deaf and dumb, they will know and the facts are there that President Jonathan has said again and again, that an idea of an interim national government is preposterous and to use his exact words also treasonable, and that he has never anywhere discussed that idea with anybody and he has never proposed it at any forum.
“That as president of Nigeria, the democratically elected president, his ambition can never be to head an interim national government under whatever circumstances.
”He is going to this presidential election on the basis of the records of his achievements, on the conviction that he has served Nigerians well and the overwhelming majority of Nigerians are appreciative of the achievements of his administration and are therefore solidly behind him and will vote for him massively on March 28.
“He therefore has no reason whatsoever to support such an unconstitutional proposition as interim national government which in its fullest will amount to assault on democratic principles under this circumstance.
“Again if you de-construct the statement that purportedly emanated from the office of the Asiwaju Tinubu, you will see again the absurd nature of it. The absolutely ridiculous nature of it in the sense that given the configuration of Nigeria, it is not likely, totally impossible to have an ING arrangement in which you will have a southerner as the president and then another southerner as vice president. It is absurd. It is not something that is likely to work given the nature of our politics.
“But the Tinubu camp putting out that statement were so much in a hurry to engage in their usual game of deceiving the public, that the emptiness, the hollowness, the shallowness of their proposition escaped them. And what I have tried to do is to expose that shallowness, that hollowness and to appeal to all-right thinking persons to dismiss it as another gimmick coming from a desperate political group seeing that defeat is steering them in the face and are resorting to greater desperation. And who knows, we may witness even far greater desperation from their camp as we get closer to election day.
“But our appeal to Nigerians is that this country is greater than everyone’s ambition and at the end of the day, what is important is Nigeria. And those who seem determined to pull down this country with lies, with black information, they are the enemies of this country and do not deserve to be given the opportunity to occupy or to enjoy opportunities that they do not deserve.”