Following the recent attacks on the convoy of President Goodluck Jonathan and leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Katsina and Bauchi states by suspected supporters of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), the Presidency on Friday reacted angrily, saying, “this nonsense must stop” and called on the opposition party to caution its supporters.
President of the Senate, David Mark also reacted furiously, describing the attack as “despicable desperation of the opposition.”
On its part, the leadership of the Ijaw nation rose from a meeting held in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State and declared that unless Jonathan was allowed a second term in office as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, “there will no longer be a One Nigeria.”
The Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs, Prof Rufai Ahmed Alkali in his statement captioned “This Nonsense Must Stop”, said the action of APC supporters was a negation of the non-violence peace pact signed recently in Abuja by all the presidential candidates.
The statement reads: “When the peace pact by the major political parties participating in the 2015 general elections was signed, Nigerians heaved a great sigh of relief in the belief that the tensions stocked up in the build up to the campaigns will subside.
“President Jonathan who is also the leader of the PDP blazed the trail in appending his signature to the historic document. General Muhammadu Buhari and leaders of other parties also signed, pledging a violence-free electioneering process and rejection of uncouth and inciting language.
“Unfortunately, while President Jonathan and the PDP have remained bound by the letters and spirit of the peace pact, supporters of the APC candidate are having a field day, violating all the terms of the pact and engaging in violence even on the person and entourage of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The successive incidents in Katsina and Bauchi States where irate youth supporters of the APC unleashed a reign of terror on the convoy of the President are ominous wind that blows no one any good.
“A situation where any citizen of Nigeria, least of all the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will be made unsafe in any part of Nigeria is unacceptable and stands condemned.
“Were it not for the maturity and professionalism of the security personnel on the convoy of the President, an ugly scenario provoked by these hooligans would have held sway. We commend the security agents for nipping the situation in the bud.”
The Presidency called on leaders of the APC “on whose behalf these dastardly acts where executed to call their attack dogs to order, in order to avert similar reprisal measures by overzealous supporters of other Parties.”
Alkali added that Jonathan remained firmly committed to the peace pact and “has successfully reigned in his supporters to avoid violence or inciting statements.”
He said for the President, his campaign remains a quest for the total transformation of Nigeria and not an egocentric or desperate struggle to assert himself.
Alkali added: “We thank Nigerians for the rousing welcome accorded the President in all locations where the campaign team had visited so far. While the APC has continued to whip up sentiments and run a divisive campaign, we are satisfied with the show of love, support and solidarity shown by all Nigerians at our campaign venues.”
“Finally, we shall not allow desperate people to distract us from our drive to connect with Nigerian people and lift them to greater heights. This nonsense must stop.”
Mark: Attack on Jonathan's Convoy Shows Opposition's Despicable Desperation…
The President of the Senate said the attacks on Jonathan and the PDP leadership were an affront on democracy and a betrayal of the peace pact entered into by the political parties and their candidates.
Mark, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Paul Mumeh, made the remark at the flag off of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) PDP presidential and National Assembly campaign in Bwari Area Council of FCT.
He said the conduct of supporters of the opposition party should be condemned by any right thinking member of the society.
Mark said: "We condemn these unwarranted violent attacks on the PDP and its candidates. They have campaigned in other parts of the country without molestation. We should be allowed to campaign freely. The opposition must stop this desperation and allow Nigerians to decide.
"This election must not be a do or die affair. The campaign is an avenue to tell the electorate what you have done and what you intend to do for them. It should not be turned to a battle field.
"Any democracy that stops Nigerians from moving round freely is not the type of democracy we want. Nigerians must be free to go to the South and to the North without hindrance. Those who want to encourage hatred amongst Nigerians must think twice. We must allow freedom of movement.
"We must allow people to campaign anywhere they want. Those of us who are at the helm of affairs must take full responsibility for any misconduct or misdemeanour of our supporters or followers.
"Nobody should intimidate any PDP candidate anywhere in Nigeria. Campaigns should be based on issues and not attack on personalities. The PDP will never be intimidated in any part of this country. This country belongs to all of us. We are all free citizens."
Mark argued that despite the attacks, Jonathan was still the best choice for the nation and that PDP would deliver on its transformation programmes including the revival of the railway system of transportation, education, health and other social services.
Ijaw People: Return Jonathan or Forget One Nigeria…
Meanwhile, the leadership of the Ijaw nation yesterday rose from a meeting held in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, declaring that unless Jonathan was allowed a second term in office as, there will no longer be a “One Nigeria.”
Besides, the people also warned that any further attack on the President by hoodlums would be effectively retaliated.
This position was made known at a meeting facilitated by the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Kingsley Kuku in Yenagoa which had in attendance the state’s governor, Seriake Dickson, his deputy, Rear Admiral John Jonah and top government officials.
The former Ijaw warlords at the meeting included Chief Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo; Alhaji Asari Dokubo; General Boyloaf and Gen. Young-Shall-Grow.
In their speeches, they made it clear that since the oil produced on their land was the unifying factor that brings the nation together, they were ready to stop the oil from continuing to flow if the President is not allowed a second tenure.
Asari particularly charged the youth to be battle ready, “if need be, as nobody can frighten or intimidate us anymore.”
“There is power in Ijaw nation. We are going to war; everyone of us should go and purify himself,” he declared.
Also speaking, Boyloaf said: “There is one Nigeria only because our oil brings us together. Today, they are intimidating one of our own. I, Gen. Boyloaf, I am ready for them. We own the resources, yet they say we do not have the right to rule. Then, we must collect our oil back. If they say they want to take the power from us, then we will take our oil back. We are ready to match them bumper for bumper.”
Boyloaf insisted: “Gone are the days when you intimidate people with guns. We are ready. The Nigerian Army cannot police the pipelines from end to end.”
Summoning up the decisions of the leadership, Kuku made it clear that the Ijaw nation would no longer tolerate the continued attack on the President in the north, especially after the Ijaw people and nation had extend a hand of friendship to their son when his campaign train came to Bayelsa.
“We will not take lightly again what has been happening to the President in the North. We will no longer accept it anymore. For this country to remain united, they should treat our own as we have treated theirs,” he warned.
Speaking later, Dickson said he would take the message of the people to appropriate quarters, adding that he has a fair understanding of all the issues involved.