The Presidency has cautioned the All Progressives Congress (APC) against defamation of the person of President Goodluck Jonathan and the office he occupies as there are laws against such; even as it also debunked the party?s position that the President was barred from contesting again in 2015 by the constitution.

It also asked the APC interim chairman, Chief Bisi Akande to respect his age and the truth.

The Presidency also accused Akande of trying to draw the President into a battle of words so as to shift the public’s attention from the ongoing tussle between Muhammadu Buhari and Bola Tinubu, two stalwarts in the newly formed opposition party.

In a press statement the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Rueben Abati, said it was ‘rude, ill-mannered, uncharitable and hypocritical’ of Akande to allege that the President was handling national issues with levity.

Abati was reacting to a publication by the APC saying
Nigerians do not need a kindergarten leader like Jonathan.

“We have noted with dismay the continuation of efforts by leaders of the opposition to promote themselves and their party through the irresponsible denigration of President Goodluck Jonathan and the exalted Office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The interim national chairman of the APC, Chief Bisi Akande sank to a new low in this regard yesterday when he rudely and falsely described President Jonathan as a ?kindergarten? leader who treats national issues with levity.

“Chief Bisi Akande has every right to embark on a flight of fancy about the APC beating the PDP in the 2015 general elections, but he does no justice to his age and status when he resorts to propagating falsehood, wilfully insulting the President of his country, impugning his integrity and desecrating the very office which his party wishes to take over in 2015 by fair or foul means,? he said.

Speaking further Abati warned: “We urge Chief Akande and his fellow-travellers to remember that there are laws against libel and defamation of character in this country even if there are no legal impediments to indecorous, hypocritical and unpatriotic vituperations.

“It is certainly rude, ill-mannered, uncharitable and hypocritical for Chief Akande to falsely and cavalierly allege that a President who toils tirelessly every day of the week, evolving and implementing workable solutions to Nigeria?s problems, is handling national issues with levity.

“Also, nothing else but gross ignorance and lack of consideration could have led Chief Akande to refer to a President who, having served as deputy governor, governor, vice president and president, has far more experience of governance at the highest level than him and his preferred ?candidates?, as a kindergarten leader.

“‘By his very unguarded and intemperate outburst yesterday, Chief Akande exhibited not only an unbecoming lack of respect for the person and office of the President of his country, but also a complete disregard for the patriotic feelings of the millions of Nigerians who voted for President Jonathan and who continue to appreciate his sincere efforts to positively transform the nation.

“It is very sad and unfortunate that unbridled ambition for the office they constantly impugn and denigrate has blinded Chief Akande and his ilk to the visible accomplishments of the Jonathan Presidency.

“Certainly, nothing else but a manic and unscrupulous quest for power could have led them to make such accusations against a President who, who amongst other significant achievements, has been praised for his handling of the insurgency in some parts of Northern Nigeria where he has used a combination of diplomacy and targeted military force to contain the security threat.

Claiming that the APC was pursuing ?personal and sectional interests, Abati in his statement goes on to say: “Nothing else but the relentless pursuit of narrow personal and sectional interests could lead them to make such claims about a President under whose leadership Nigeria’s economy has been promoted from a low income economy to a middle income economy by the World Bank and whose leadership has seen the Gross Domestic Product of Nigeria
increase at an annual rate of over 6% since he took office.?

Abati goes on to point out that as things presently stand, there was nothing baring his principal from contesting again in 2015 having only been voted for once previously.

“Finally, though President Jonathan has not indicated whether or not he is interested in a second term, Chief Akande, who has taken stock of his party and seen that they have no electable presidential material is already trying to be clever by half by claiming the President is statute-barred from contesting in 2015 saying it will amount to a “third term”.

“If this is the winning strategy of the APC, Chief Akande has every reason to panic because the issue of eligibility for election into the office of the President has been settled by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended which provides as follows:

137. (1) A person shall not be qualified for election to the office of
President if – (b) he has been elected to such office at any two previous elections;

“President Goodluck Jonathan has been elected into office on only ONE previous occasion and is therefore not statute-barred from running.

“It is clear that the APC is seeking to bait the Presidency to respond to it to achieve two purposes. The first purpose is to get their name into the press and gain name recognition for their party. How pathetic. The second and more important reason is to divert the attention of the public from the festering feud between Muhammadu Buhari and Bola Tinubu over the overriding ambition of the two men which is threatening to tear the new contraption which is mistakenly referred to by the gullible as a party.

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