President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday asked party leaders to rule out the ruling party and opposition syndrome from his government, saying all the political parties in the country must collectively work with him for the interest of the country.
“I want to plead with you that I will not want to run a government of opposition party or main party. I want us to collectively run a Nigerian government; a government that will take the interest of the country at heart and work towards solving our problems, the problems that are dear to our people” he said.
The president, who made his position known when he summoned leaders of political parties in the country to a meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, noted that in starting a new government, he was going to consult various groups and professional bodies, beginning first with the political family.
He said, “No matter who is the President, no matter who is the governor, what Nigerians are interested in is to have food on the table, there should be infrastructure, there should be security and should be good governance.
“And I know that not only the ruling party alone can make this possible. For me to succeed, to give Nigerians what they want, we must run a stable government. It needs the cooperation of all the political parties, all the leaders.
“That is why I call you, to assure you that I will run a Nigerian government. I want to assure you that our interest is the Nigeria interest and I know that the interest of every politician, irrespective of the political party, is the interest of the country. I am not going to play politics of discrimination.
He asked the leaders of political parties to inform their elected lawmakers to bear in mind that as they prepare for their inauguration next week, “they are coming to work for Nigeria not necessarily for Jonathan.
“Let us cooperate and work for the interest of this country. Along the line, there will be differences but the President is not God and I believe we can always be able to resolve our differences without acrimony, without rancour and I believe that is the best way we can run the country,” he added.
He further said, “We are now talking about two countries representing Africa on the UN Security Council and people are looking forward to Nigeria because of the political crisis in Egypt.
“Let me thank you for the various roles you play in the democratic process. You are the leaders of the parties; those of us who won elections wouldn’t have won without you leaders. You gave us the positions, you are the Kingmakers. So, I have to thank you for the various roles you have played.”
But former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu, told State House Correspondents after the meeting that they, the party leaders were not there to eliminate opposition.
He said, we did not come here to eliminate opposition and that nothing stops anybody from opposing any bad government.
“I am speaking for my own party the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and not for any other party. If you are invited by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, then what he really wants is a constructive opposition. However, that does not stop you from opposing any bad government.
“The campaign is over, we are all Nigerians, patriotism dictates that you put the nation first before your personal interest. Therefore, you don’t have to look at the political partisan angle but look at the intention of the President exactly what he wants to achieve. He is the president until maybe the judiciary says otherwise.
“As a nationalist, you have to respond to the call of the president and he spoke very well today, the meeting was a very successful one but that does not eliminate opposition.”
Asked whether the opposition could be watered down, Tinubu said, “It does not water it down. That might be your own opinion; it is a one day meeting. It is not a regular meeting. There is a constructive level of opinion that you can get and use to build the nation.”