The opposition party says the government’s claim that the journalists leaked a fake document means there is an original.
The opposition Congress for Progressive Change, CPC has criticized the re-arraignment of two Leadership newspaper journalists by the federal government nearly two months after the forgery were dropped against them, as a sign that the Goodluck Jonathan administration is unserious.
A statement by CPC’s spokesperson, Rotimi Fashakin on Sunday asked “Is the volte-face by the Presidency after fifty days of apparent withdrawal of the matter not a symptom of the inimitable knee-jerk response of the Jonathan administration to serious governance issues?”
The statement added that the CPC believes that the governance of a nation state requires intelligence and far-farsightedness.
“The usual extemporaneous approach to governance by the Jonathan regime, aptly shown by this shameless volte-face, can no longer help the Nation navigate out of its multi-faceted travails. Rather than expending scarce national resources on a worthless litigation, the president should brace himself up to the task of showing enviable leadership,” it said.
The confusion that the administration employs “to hide its perfidious and capricious politics really stinks”.
The party advised the president to “cut the chase and order unconditional withdrawal of the lawsuit forthwith to save the nation from further embarrassment”.
Allegation of forgery means there is an original
The two journalists, Tony Amokeodo and Chibuzor Ukaibe, had earlier been charged in April for allegedly forging the president’s signet and headed paper upon which was a purported secret directive by Mr.Jonathan to aides to, among others, crackdown on the opposition, stifle the registration of the All Progressives Congress, APC and increase price of petroleum products.
The government later withdrew the charges.
The CPC statement also said that counts one and two in the amended charge against the journalists pointedly accused them of forgery.
“The discordant tunes from the Presidency, as a result of this saga, have variously accused the Journalists of fictitious writing, forgery and peddling in false document. The ordinary usage of ‘forgery’ suggests making an illegal copy of a document for the purpose of deception. In other words, forgery presupposes that there is an original” it said.
CPC therefore challenged the president to produce the original copy of the forged document.
“Can he (President Goodluck Jonathan), being the custodian of the seal or document allegedly forged, depose to an affidavit to authenticate the original document?” the party asked.
The President cannot sue
CPC also said with Section 308 conferring immunity on President Goodluck Jonathan, he is not also expected to sue on matters concerning his office and person when he cannot be sued.
“Can he (President Goodluck Jonathan) appear in Court and submit himself to cross-examination by the defence counsel?”