The Presidency has defended the prevention of Governor Rotimi Amaechi from exchanging pleasantries with President Goodluck Jonathan by a security operative during a dinner at the Presidential Villa, in Abuja on Wednesday. They said Amaechi could be a security risk to Jonathan…
The governor, who was sitting two tables away from the President, had risen to greet him but the operative attached to the President stopped him halfway, almost creating a confrontation with Amaechi.
In order not to create a scene at the event that had nearly all his colleagues and two heads of government (Joyce Banda of Malawi and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia) in attendance, Amaechi quietly returned to his seat and waited for about five minutes before leaving the venue.
A source in Abuja told OluFamous.Com that the Presidency is aware that Governor Amaechi is angry with the President for supporting Governor Jonah Jang, the loser of the NGF election, and as such they suspect that Amaechi may take his anger on Jonathan if he was allowed access to him.
Speaking on the issue, Jonathan’s adviser on political matters, Dr. Ahmed Gulak said “The case in point is a pure security issue and it should be treated as a security issue that should not be politicised.
“The question the ACN and others who may want to politicise this issue need to ask is whether the President arrived at the venue of the dinner and was already seated before the governor arrived.
“If that was the situation in this case that the President was already on his seat, it would have been a breach of protocol and security for any security person to allow the governor access to the President.”
But in its reaction, the ACN said: “To believe that anyone occupying the esteemed office of the President of one of Africa’s most important nations will be a party to a situation in which any security aide will wilfully fence a state chief executive from paying his respect to the President at such an open gathering will be to think the worst of the occupier of that office.
“That is why we have chosen not to believe that this indeed occurred, and we are calling on Mr. President to tell Nigerians that ‘it ain’t so’.
“We shudder to think of what efforts are being made – including the use of national institutions – to undermine Gov. Amaechi if the treatment reportedly meted out to him at the dinner has the approval of the powers that be.
“We are even more worried at what will happen to a governor from the opposition who falls out of favour with the President, if a governor from the same party as the President can be so publicly humiliated.”