Mixed Reactions Greet Jonathan’s Planned Post-May 29 Foreign Trip  | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Mixed Reactions Greet Jonathan’s Planned Post-May 29 Foreign Trip 

Posted: May 16, 2015 at 9:17 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Ekene Okoro and Ifeoma Ononye   –  Lagos


The plan by President Goodluck Jonathan to embark on a short break abroad after handing over to the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, on May 29, has been greeted with mixed feelings.

To some, President Jonathan is seeking an alibi to evade any form of probe the Buhari administration might subject his tenure in office to.

Those who hold this view hinge it on the President’s remarks last weekend at a thanksgiving and farewell service organised in his honour at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Life Camp, Gwarinpa, Abuja.

At the service, the president had hinted that he and his cabinet members might come under fire from the incoming administration for what he said were the critical decisions they took while in office.

This, the president said, he was not perturbed about saying he was ready to pay the supreme price for the nation.

Hence, to his critics, the timing of the trip is suspect and the president might be nursing a subtle plan to exit the country should he be required to answer for some of his policies implemented by his administration.

But Leader of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Frederick Fasehun, came to the defence of the President, saying it would be unfair for anyone to accuse the president of such plans, even while he still occupies the number one seat in the country.

Fasehun in an interview with Saturday Independent said, “Those who share that sentiment are very unfair to President Jonathan. Jonathan is the sitting president of the country. If he wants to avoid issues, he does not have to run away.

“He would remain in office because that office enjoys immunity. So, of what use will it be for him to escape from the country when he has immunity. He needs to rest. People should not read such meaning into his vacation”.

A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Osita Okechukwu, said that the president reserves the inalienable right to go to anywhere of his choice.

“The world is a global village and he can be called back to face justice if need be,” Okechukwu added.

A source in the Presidency also insists that the trip had no hidden agenda, but would afford the president some time-off to rest.

The source said the president on return, would help rebuild the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The source quoted Jonathan as disclosing this during a closed-door meeting with members of the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) on Wednesday, May 13, 2015.

Jonathan, during the meeting, urged the party members to put the recent electoral loss behind, disclosing that even some of his aides did not vote during the elections.

He expressed optimism that PDP would bounce back, adding that he would make the trip abroad with his family and return to politics, although not immediately.

According to the source, the meeting was held to address the current crisis within the PDP due to calls for the resignation of party Chairman, Adamu Mu’azu and members of the NWC.

Some PDP chieftains had been blaming Mu’azu for the party’s electoral loss, with Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose, accusing him of selling the party to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Mu’azu is reportedly receiving treatment abroad for an undisclosed ailment.