The camps of President Goodluck Jonathan and General Ibrahim Babangida are now locked in a verbal duel after Chief Raymond Dokpesi, the Director-General, IBB 2011 Presidential Campaign Organisation alleged, yesterday, that the president was after his life. Dokpesi also said a vote for the president is a vote for anarchy. But the president’s chief spokesman, Mr. Ima Noboro, dismissed Chief Dokpesi allegation as a tissue of lies.
“Nigerians know those who are the “masters”in the art of political violence and it is not President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan,”Niboro said last night.
Chief Dokpesi who fired the first salvo had told reporters in Abuja that “No body has the monopoly of violence. The moment you begin to intimidate a fellow contestant like IBB, what you expect is that the North will also come out with their own aggression and innocent Nigerians will be made to clash. The ordinary people from the South South are not involved”.
“A vote for Jonathan is a vote for anarchy. It is a call for disintegration of Nigeria. The people that are promoting that campaign do not have the love of Nigeria. And it is time for all right thinking Nigerians to come out to defend the integrity, the Unity of this country, no matter what the cost might be.
“This country needs to be united for business to thrive, for people to live in peace and for all to lay claims to success. You cannot achieve this by intimidation”, he said.
On alleged threat to his life and his branding as a persona non grata in the Niger Delta, Dokpesi vowed that he would not be intimidated or daunted by threats from any quarters for supporting General Babangida for the election. He alleged that rigging of the 2011 general elections had begun with the Jonathan Campaign Organization.
On his suspension by the South South Elders and Leaders Forum, he said, “I am sure that Admiral Akhigbe cannot stand up and tell anybody that he was a party and part and parcel of an agreement to threaten, to intimidate, to maim and to kill members of my family. I also want to clearly state that there were three serving ministers present at that meeting even when I never belong, I do not want to belong and will never belong to a group called South-South Elders and Leaders forum.
“I was born into one united Nigeria; I want to ever live in Nigeria in peace. The names (of those involved in south-south Elders Forum) are clearly written in newspapers. I know the source, because I was chairman, South South Peoples Assembly. There is no point in mentioning Cynthia Whyte. It is from the Villa that they made the contacts on that one, and requested that that statement should be issued. It is directly from the Villa.
“I am bold. They don’t know me very well. If they do they would have realized that this kind of threat can only charge me, can only make me to be bolder and continue what I am doing in the interest of Nigeria. I am not daunted. I am not shaken and I say Shege.
Threat to my life
He said: “The unfolding scenario is definitely and actively supported by the Jonathan group campaigners. I also wish to state that at 9.30 pm yesterday, my relations and children received some telephone calls threatening to kidnap my first son Raymond Dokpesi Jnr. by Monday 13, if I do not step down as Director General of this Campaign Organization. If Jonathan’s group are doing well, if they are sure of victory, why should they recourse to intimidation. Why do they have to resort to blackmail. It is an indication that they are facing a lot of challenges and problems and they have only been running propaganda.
He confessed that he had no direct evidence that President Jonathan was involved in the plot to intimidate him but added, “I will not rule out the possibility that he is aware.”
He also said former President Olusegun Obasanjo stopped Dr. Peter Odili from emerging as the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in 2007 because of the 2002 zoning arrangement.
Dokpesi who noted that when it became obvious that the former governor of Rivers State, Odili was going to win the primaries, the attention of ex-President Obasanjo was drawn to the fact that there was a standing zoning arrangement in 2002 that the South would govern for eight years and thereafter the North for eight years before it would move to the South South in 2015.
“I was Chairman of South-South Peoples Assembly. The policy we pursued when I was Chairman was covered in what we called the Calabar Declaration. At that Calabar Declaration, the objectives were to sustain true federalism; two, to seek or increase derivation; three, to cover the coastal cities and areas in the South-South that have been left behind as a result of exploitation of mineral resources, especially crude oil and gas.
“And we went on to say, to be able to achieve this, what will be the best vehicle and we said we wanted to have a President of Nigeria from the South-South. We carried out massive campaign under my leadership. And Nigeria was gracious enough, was kind enough to say, look, we have heard your cry, and Obasanjo said he had heard the cry of the people of the South-South and that at the appropriate time, the matter would be addressed.
How Obasanjo stopped Odili in 2007
“In December when PDP Primaries was to be held, Dr Odili was a frontline Presidential aspirant, and an acceptable candidate across the federation of Nigeria. We gathered at the Eagle Square for the PDP Convention, and on the 14th December in the evening, Obasanjo had congratulated Odili, stating that four security reports had indicated that if we had gone into polls, Odili would win.
“However, he asked Odili to go and that he would meet with party leaders in preparations for the 2007 presidential primaries. By the time Odili was invited back, he was told that the leadership of the party had drawn Obasanjo’s attention to a 2002 agreement that since the south was having 8 years presidency that the north was also going to have 8 years presidency.
“On that basis and coupled with the constitutional amendment of the PDP as enshrined in section 7.2 (c) that there was going to be power sharing, Obasanjo then told Odili that he would not allow him to contest the PDP primaries, because if he had contested, he would have won and that would have destabilized the peace and stability of Nigeria.”
According to Dokpesi, Peter Odili had to listen and made a personal sacrifice, adding, “and Dr. Odili had to make that sacrifice and accepted in the interest of unity and stability of this country. The South South then had an opportunity to present the vice president of the county for 8 years and then be able to present the President of this country beginning from 2015.
Speaking further on the development, he said, “the acceptance speech which our late President, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was going to read clearly stated Dr. Peter Odili as the running mate. It was on the floor of the Eagle Square that it was muted that the personality of Dr. Peter Odili might be too strong and over bearing for Alhaji Yar’Adua. “Many people including four governors from the South-South zone prevailed on Obasanjo to make sure that Dr. Odili did not get the position. And for the South-South zone, that was how eventually Dr. Goodluck Jonathan emerged.
“Donald Duke of Cross River at that time, was involved in the Presidential race; Obong Victor Attah from Akwa Ibom was involved in the Presidential race; Odili from Rivers was involved in the Presidential race; Edo and Delta state governors who were not involved strongly supported Yar’Adua. So, the only person who was not involved was Jonathan. He came in to separate those who were fighting. That was how he emerged. And though unfortunately, we lost the President (Yar’Adua), but, it must be stated that the Presidency was zoned to the North.
“And I have cause to draw the attention to President Goodluck Jonathan to the fact that it will be wrong to say throw away zoning. If we do that, is it possible that Bayelsa with eight local government areas will produce a president in 774 local government areas? With Jigawa with about 34, you see, this is a fundamental point of departure because if I am asking for equity, justice for the people of the South-South, I cannot mete it out to any other part of the country. It will not be fair and it won’t be just on my own part.
Dokpesi: A tissue of lies
But in a swift reaction, Mr. Ima Niboro, Chief spokesman for President Jonathan, said:
“Our attention has been drawn to statements by the Director General of the General Ibrahim Babangida campaign organisation, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, to the effect that the Presidency is after his life.
“He is also alleged to have said that there is a plot to kidnap his son, as a means of forcing him to abandon the Babangida campaign. Obviously, these are lies, and it beats us hollow what Dokpesi stands to gain by them beyond introducing chilling and quite sinister dimensions to the contest for the presidency in 2011.
“Nigerians know those who are the “Masters” in the art of political violence and it is not President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. Nigeria had enough of such deadly power games under the jack boots of dictators past, and in embracing democracy and freedom, we have said a resounding NO to them once and for all.
“Nigerians are also aware of the inclinations of the political family Dokpesi belongs to in the South South, and their past roles as purveyors of violence and political “militancy”. Everyone knows that
Jonathan has never been associated with such distasteful things.
“We also note Dokpesi’s claim that the tax authorities are after him, and ask that he nurses no fears since we assume he has been paying his taxes as at when due. We are after all, a law abiding society, and no one should fear the taxman if their taxes are up to date. Making unsubstantiated claims would not stop the tax authorities from doing their jobs.
“This is our position. And we stand resolutely by it”.
With reports from Vanguard