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Leaders of the Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly (SNPA) consisting of the former Vice-President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, former Minister of Information, Chief Edwin Clark and Bishop Bolanle Gbonigi have alleged that the continuous violence in the northern part of the country is at intimidating President Goodluck Jonathan not to contest the 2015 presidential elections.
Similarly, a group known as the Peoples Movement for a New Nigeria (PMNN) led by Yahaya Ndu has called on President Jonathan and the Senate President, David Mark, to resign for their inability to manage the affairs of Nigeria.
Ndu called on Mark to declare his assets and to resign from office both as the senate president and as a Senator of Nigeria and called on the National Assembly to enact proper legislation for the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference(SNC) whose delegates must emerge by free, fair and credible elections in the constituencies.
The SNPA, in their communiqué, queried the delay in publishing the full list of the abducted female students of the Government Girls’ Secondary School in Chibok in Borno State.
In the communiqué signed in Abuja by Clark and Gbonigi which was made available to THISDAY, the Southern Nigeria leaders said: “The unrelenting security threats spearheaded by the Boko Haram terrorists, attempting to make incursions into other parts of the country outside the frontiers of the North-east region, is an orchestrated ploy to force the hands of President Jonathan to abdicate his constitutional right to seek re-election in 2015.
“Given the trend of sponsored and orchestrated unrests since the emergence of President Jonathan as the president in 2011, it is clear that these anti-democratic renegades are cultivating upscale violence through the Boko Haram terrorists to drive fear into the president to make him look weak and incompetent simply because he is succeeding beyond expectation in his transformation agenda.
“Let it be known that the people of southern Nigerian shall not allow themselves be ruled by any government that is a product of insurgency or blackmail if the sponsors of insurgency in this country think they can brown-beat and pummel the government of President Jonathan to abdicate the authority and mandate freely given to him by Nigerians to rule this country.”
On the abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls, the Southern leaders said: “There are a number of unexplained details surrounding the abduction of the over 225 students from Chibok in Borno State particularly against the backdrop of claims by WAEC officials of their initial refusal to conduct the WAEC examination for lack of adequate security.
“It is shocking that till date, the state government has not published the names and photographs of the abducted girls to facilitate their search and identification.”
The communiqué of the meeting further said the escalating security threats were not without sponsors who they alleged might probably be within and outside the government, querying that: “How else could the Boko Haram insurgents continue to use highly sophisticated equipment, arms and arsenals without the tacit facilitation by wealthy sponsors and patrons?”
In view of this, the leaders therefore urged President Jonathan, “to without further delay, extend the state of emergency in the affected states and make it full scale. Nigeria today is in a state of war against itself and therefore the full deployment of tactics and strategies is imperative to win this war if the country must remain a united country.”
They also called on the federal government to immediately close the borders of neighbouring states to forestall the continuous infiltration of the country by mercenaries.
The southern leaders further said in their communiqué that: “The federal government should act most decisively with any observed dereliction on the part of officers and men of the armed forces.
“Nonetheless, we state with firm resolve that the armed forces must be allowed to do a thorough job of not only rescuing the abducted girls but also clear Nigeria of terrorists of any mould. Nigeria must continue to exist as one secular country where nobody plays the second fiddle.” The meeting was chaired by Clark as the host Chairman and co-chaired by Gbonigi and Dr. Alex Ekwueme, who was represented by the former President of Ohanaeze, Dr. Dozie Ikedife. Others participants were Prof. ABC Nwosu, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara; Chief Emmanuel Iwaunyanwu, Bishop Ayo Ladigbolu and Senator Stella Omu.
The communiqué said the leadership would hold a consultative meeting with the leadership from the North to exchange ideas on combating the Boko Haram insurgency as soon as possible, while calling for an open inquiry to the saga of the abducted 225 girls in Chibok.