President Goodluck Jonathan hit back at his critics

President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday hit back at his critics and opposition parties, accusing them of painting his administration “bad before the global community.”

He therefore warned that he would not allow their selfish ambition for the 2015 general election to destroy the country.

His warning is coming six days after an 18-page letter in which a former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, made scathing remarks about his administration was made public. It also came less than 24 hours after the opposition All Progressives Congress called on the National Assembly to immediately commence impeachment proceeding against Jonathan for alleged gross misconduct.

Although he has yet to personally respond to Obasanjo’s letter and the APC’s call for his impeachment, the Peoples Democratic Movement and the Nigeria Labour Congress on Monday, said he needed to do so because the allegations levelled against him by the former President were weighty.

At a lecture and award ceremony in Abuja on Monday, Jonathan told his critics to be cautious in attacking his administration because it was the selfish ambition of some politicians that led to the “wrongful overthrow” of the Shehu Shagari administration in 1983.

He was represented at the annual lecture, the third in a series by Nigerian Pilot Newspapers and Nigerian Newsworld, by the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku.

The President claimed that the criticisms against his administration were not constructive enough to challenge his development strides.

Jonathan,who said he had developed a “thick skin against such criticisms”, however advised politicians to thread with caution as their actions could destabilise the democractic structures already in place in the country.

He said, “There is a difference between ambition and reality. Go for your ambition, nobody is disturbing you because it is a free world. Go and compete, but don’t pull down this country called Nigeria because of your personal ambition. It is unacceptable.

“I think there is a difference between debates and insults. I reject insults and the fact that I am a public officer doesn’t give anybody the liberty to insult me. Most of the time you cannot detach the Office of the President and honour of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“There are people who are honestly trying to put things down for this country to move on. I think we can see the difference between facts and fiction.

“Let us not continue to behave as if we can pull down our own house; we as politicians and public servants should not behave as if we were picked on the streets. You don’t just go and pour acid on the faces of public officers.

“When Shagari was overthrown in 1983, there was a lot of noise that the government was not doing anything and nothing was not said about Shagari’s regime.

“Shagari was overthrown amidst lies….The greatest shame of this country is Ajaokuta Steel Complex. If Shagari was there, by 1986, he would have completed Ajaokuta.”

Credit: Fidelis Soriwei/Olusola Fabiyi/Friday Olokor/Punch