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CPC Press Release: Re-arraignment of Leadership Journalists: Presidency in shameless volte-face!



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Barely fifty days after dropping the forgery charge against two Leadership Newspaper journalists, Mr. Tony Amokeodo (Group News Editor) and Mr. Chibuzor Ukaibe (Political Correspondent), the Dr Goodluck Jonathan-led Federal government, on June 24, 2013, re-arraigned them on an eleven-count charge before an Abuja High court.

It would be recalled that on April 3, 2013, the Leadership Newspaper published a bromide of a purported Presidential directive to, among others, ensure crackdown on the opposition, stifle the registration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and increase price of petroleum products. But in swift cacophonous rhythm, the two spin doctors in the Presidency issued separate statements. Dr Reuben Abati, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, intoned: “It is worth pointing out, again, that what is being bandied around by a section of the media as a ‘Presidential Directive’ on Tinubu, APC and other matters, is fictitious, designed to mislead the public, discredit the person and office of President Goodluck Jonathan and cause disaffection within the polity. Careful examination reveals a mishmash of deliberately arranged and concocted lies, presented to the public as evidence of a document emanating from the Presidency. This is not only dubious but raises concerns as to the length certain persons will go to perpetuate falsehood for the sake of their selfish ambitions. Several interpretations of the purported Presidential directive appear to have been granted prominence by an all-too-negative segment of the media, supported by partisan political jobbers all on the premise of a suspicious-looking ‘bromide’.” Dr. Doyin Okupe, the Presidential special Assistant on Public affairs, said inter-alia: “We wish to state unequivocally that the document published in the newspaper alleging that the presidency has issued directives to frustrate merger of some political parties, hound opposition leaders and increase price of petroleum products is a forgery and an amateurish one for that matter.”

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Counts one and two in the amended charge of the Journalists pointedly accused them of forgery. The discordant tunes from the Presidency, as a result of this saga, have variously accused the Journalists of fictitious writing, forgery and peddling in false document. The ordinary usage of ‘forgery’ suggests making an illegal copy of a document for the purpose of deception. In other words, forgery presupposes that there is an original.

The questions that naturally ensue from these allegations are:

§ With Section 308 conferring immunity on President Goodluck Jonathan, is he, being the head of the Federal government, expected to sue on matters concerning his office and person when he cannot be sued?

§ Can he (President Goodluck Jonathan), being the custodian of the seal or document allegedly forged, depose to an affidavit to authenticate the original document?

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§ Can he (President Goodluck Jonathan) appear in Court and submit himself to cross-examination by the defence counsel?

§ Has this saga not sufficiently exposed the confusion that is prevalent in the Presidency and by extension, the rudderless governance of the Nation state?

§ Is the volte-face by the Presidency after fifty days of apparent withdrawal of the matter not a symptom of the inimitable knee-jack response of the Jonathan administration to serious governance issues?

In the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), we believe the governance of a Nation state requires perspicacity and far-sightedness. The usual extemporaneous approach to governance by the Jonathan regime, aptly shown by this shameless volte-face, can no longer help the Nation navigate out of its multi-faceted travails. Rather than expending scarce national resources on a worthless litigation, the President should brace himself up to the task of showing enviable leadership. The obfuscation that this regime employs to hide its perfidious and capricious politics really stinks! We advise the President to cut the chase and order unconditional withdrawal of the Law suit forthwith to save the Nation from further embarrassment.

God bless the Federal republic of Nigeria.

Rotimi Fashakin (Engr.)

National Publicity Secretary, CPC

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