The All Progressives Congress (APC) has described as utterly callous and insensitive the ongoing campaign by a pro-Jonathan group, GEJites, for the president’s re-election right at the same spot where the #BringBackOurGirls, campaigners have been gathering daily to protest the safe return of the over 200 Chibok schoolgirls.
In a statement issued yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the message being conveyed to all Nigerians is that the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan takes priority over anything else, including the security and welfare of the citizens.
‘’Were this not to be so, no responsible group will choose this time, when over 200 schoolgirls have been missing for over 80 days and the terror group Boko Haram is daily killing and maiming Nigerians, to launch a misguided re-election campaign for the president. If their daughters were among the missing school girls, will they be launching a political campaign for re-election rather than pushing for the girls’ release?
‘’To show their contempt for decency and as if they were intent on inflicting more pain on the parents and guardians of the missing girls, they decided to position their campaign instrument, wheel-mounted electronic billboards, right at the Unity Fountain in Abuja where committed and patriotic Nigerians have been holding their own daily campaign for the safe return of the girls,’’ it said.
The APC said: “It is clear that the Jonathan administration, that has surpassed itself in sheer cluelessness in providing purposeful leadership to stop the daily carnage in the country and ensuring the return of the missing girls, has apparently been secretly funding different groups to campaign for it.
‘’First, there is the Protectors of Nigerian Posterity, then the Goodluck Initiative for Transformation 2015 and now the GEJites. With the expensive newspaper, television and social media adverts that these nebulous groups are running, it is clear they are being financed from a bottomless war chest, to which taxpayers have been unwilling contributors.
‘’It is sad that a government that apparently cannot adequately fund the war on terror, a government that has lost the initiative to terrorists, a government that cannot provide jobs for its teeming army of unemployed, a government that is running Nigeria aground has suddenly found huge funds to engage in a re-election campaign that is going nowhere, touting tokenism as achievements,’’ the party said.
It said if the administration does not endorse the callousness and insensitivity of the groups, it should publicly dissociate itself from them and then call them to order.
APC also raised the alarm that the federal government was losing the war on terror, which has progressively gotten worse since the abduction of the Chibok girls over 80 days ago.
‘’Almost on a daily basis now, these terrorists have been striking at places and times of their own choosing, even as they are becoming more emboldened to carry their terror campaign right into the heart of the nation’s capital, Abuja. Innocent Nigerians are being killed and maimed in high numbers across several states
‘’Instead of cashing in on the global outcry that followed the abduction of the over 200 Chibok schoolgirls to galvanise national and international action, not just support, the Jonathan administration has been chasing shadows, pointing accusing fingers at innocent groups and people; harassing the media and curtailing individual freedoms.
‘’One misguided pro-Jonathan commentator even said the attacks are occurring in states under the control of the APC, as if Bauchi and Kaduna are APC states. We have said it before and we will repeat it here: Boko Haram is a clear and present danger to all Nigerians: Christians and Muslims; Men, women and children; The rich and the poor as well as people of all political leanings and of all ethnic groups.
‘’When they want to throw their bombs, they do not ask if supporters or opponents of Jonathan are there. They do not ask if supporters of PDP or APC are there. They just kill, maim and destroy indiscriminately,’’ the party said.
It therefore reiterated its earlier call for a non-partisan approach to solving the Boko Haram crisis, an approach that will not factor in the 2015 political calculations, an approach that will not demonise a people of certain religion or ethnicity, an approach that will not divide Nigerians along primordial lines.
‘’This is why we have offered our hand of cooperation that is yet to be accepted by the federal government. This is why we have called for a National Security Summit of all stakeholders to proffer solutions to the Boko Haram crisis. This is why we have reminded the federal government that Boko Haram is not just a security issue, but also a social, economic and political crisis that must be tackled holistically,’’ APC said.
The party said the Jonathan administration should have the humility to admit that whatever tactics it has been using against Boko Haram are not working and then reach out to all stakeholders to find a way out of the national quagmire.
‘’The state of emergency, which has been renewed twice, has not stemmed the tide of attacks. Chibok, where schoolgirls were abducted, is not any more secured now as more attacks and abductions have taken place there. The terrorists, who used to strike on the outskirts of Abuja, have now taken their battle into the city. It is time for new thinking, new direction and new purpose in the fight against terror,’’ it said.