ABUJA— GOVERNOR Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State said yesterday that it was the President and Commander-in-Chief who is in possession of the whole security report that has the final decision to make on the issue of the abducted schoolgirls from Chibok.
Fashola, who was one of the moderators at the political debate tagged: “Fixing Nigeria: The nuts and bolts” organised by the Kukah Centre, which also had the Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State in attendance, said it was the President that was in control of the Nigerian Army and the armed forces.
Although, he noted that the dimension the Chibok issue had taken had made it difficult to make a decision especially as it concerned the safety of the girls, he said the abduction had become one of the issues that should provoke debates about the method and clarity of the choices of words that should be used.
Answering questions from some of the guests on the sincerity of government in ensuring that the abducted girls regained their freedom, he said: “As far as sincerity about Chibok is concerned, honestly, let me just say that the problem that Chibok symbolises has assumed a dimension that is ordinarily outside the authority and control of government.”
He stated that on national security, he did not have the briefing that the president had, adding: “That is why I have always said that the easiest thing to do is to criticise. Do you have the facts that are at his disposal because it is only then that we can have a very serious disagreement that on this set of facts this should be my own choice.
“It is now a matter of insurgency and therefore the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Armed Forces have only one Commander-in-Chief and that is Mr. President. The buck stops on his desk on this matter and it cannot be an easy decision.
“The most I am willing to say, I can’t measure sincerity. I know it is a tough call now. The Chibok parents, who are grieving, want their children back. There are many options on the table, but I don’t also think they are expecting body bags of their children.
“It is a difficult place to be. But of course I have always said, issues of this nature may provoke a debate about the methods, and by the clarity of the choices that are being made, about the judgment calls that are also being made.”
Fashola also canvassed the need for a debate before leaders were elected, pointing that quality debate among the contestants of various positions would give the electorate the idea about the dispositions of those who want to lead and their knowledge of the problems facing the people.
According to him, democracy does not guarantee good governance as people vote for so many reasons including emotional reasons.