The Presidency and leading opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, on Monday took their battle for the 2015 elections to Washington D.C., in the United States of America.
The forum on Nigeria’s preparations for the 2015 elections, degenerated to a war of words, after opposition leaders in the country pointed at alleged failings of President Goodluck Jonathan in governance and his sincerity towards free and fair elections.
The forum held under the auspices of the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies, CSIS nearly boiled over after Dr. Doyin Okupe who led the presidency and PDP delegation warned APC not to bring the personality of the president into the forum.
Dr. Okupe who had started by claiming that he would not wash the country’s dirty linen in public, however, exploded when Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the APC spokesman, hinted at the administration’s failure to address transparency issues including the alleged missing $20 billion oil revenue and other indiscretions and failings of the government…
“Alhaji Lai Mohammed should not cast aspersions on the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria because if he does that, he knows me and what I can do,” Okupe said as he went on to project the 2011 elections as the best in the country’s history which he said, were only dented by violence inspired by opposition politicians.
Nigeria’s ambassador to the United States, Prof. Ade Adefuye in his summary of the discussions praised the two sides saying that the articulation of the two parties was reflective of the high level of political discourse in Nigeria. He nevertheless warned the two sides not to wash the country’s image in public.
Okupe had a Senior Special Assistant to the President, Sanya Awosan and Fred Majemite, Political Adviser to the Governor of Delta State on the panel. Besides Mohammed, the APC was represented by Senator Babafemi Ojodu, APC, Ekiti Central. The event was attended by Nigerian professionals, American specialists on Africa and state department officials among others.
Faulting Okupe’s assertion that the problems of Nigeria should be internalised, Ojudu said: “We cannot be an island of our own”.