The All Progressives Congress (APC) has urged President Goodluck Jonathan and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to call the Niger Delta ex-militants who have threatened to wage war should President Jonathan fail his re- election bid to order.
This call came just as the APC on Sunday challenged the PDP to focus on issues and tell Nigerians how it plans to move from “the near zero governance of the past six years of the Jonathan administration to good and purposeful governance, instead of engaging in perpetual and tiring mudslinging.”
In a statement issued by the Director of Media and Publicity of the Buhari Campaign organisation, Garba Shehu, the party described as irresponsible the ultimatum by the ex-militants which it said was not only a barbaric threat on the sovereignty of the country, “but goes against the spirit and letter of the non-violence pact to which President Jonathan is a signatory.”
Shehu observed that the declaration of war against the state was causing panic and concern among Nigerians who are already embattled by so many challenges particularly insecurity, which has been begging for attention.
The APC campaign organisation reminded President Jonathan that as the commander-in-chief, it is his primary responsibility to ensure the protection of the citizens and their properties and that such open declaration of war by the ex-militants and several other acts of violence needed to be denounced by him in the interest of the democracy, unity and stability of Nigeria.
According to Shehu, “These drum beats by elements associated with President Jonathan need to change to peace beats so that the citizens, especially the youths, would realise that the sustenance of the country’s democracy is better achieved through the ballot and not the bullet.
The APC campaign leader called on Jonathan to make good on his declaration that his “re-election is not worth the blood of any Nigerian,” by calling the militants in his domain to order.
The campaign group noted that the latest threat was not an isolated act as the threat on General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) by Governor Ayo Fayose and the attacks on the party’s offices and rally in Rivers State were pointers of coordinated insurrection against the APC ahead of next month’s general election.
“It is disturbing that the president has not immediately addressed such treasonable actions by persons who in the past have taken up arms against the nation, and whose amnesty is dependent on their good behaviour and complete disarmament.
“The president needs to remember that he took an oath, as commander-in-chief, to protect Nigeria against all threats, external and internal. In this case, his silence could be misconstrued as an implicit approval of this declaration of war, seeing as the meeting of the warlords and subsequent declaration of war were from his own backyard, his home state.
“The first step the president needs to take to show seriousness in dealing with this issue is to dismiss from his government, his Special Adviser on Niger Delta, Kingsley Kuku, who presided at the meeting at which this obnoxious resolution to dismember Nigeria was taken,” Shehu added.
Meanwhile, in a statement issued on Sunday by the APC National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said it was time for the PDP to end the ‘muckraking’ and tell Nigerians how it plans to tackle the worsening insecurity in the land, the collapsing currency, with the dollar now exchanging for N215, the massive unemployment, especially among the youths, decaying infrastructure and the unprecedented corruption under President Jonathan’s watch.
“We believe that elections should be about issues that will be beneficial to the electorate, not about throwing everything but the kitchen sink at a particular candidate simply because of his soaring acceptability,” it said.
APC said the essence of the sustained campaign of calumny against Buhari by the PDP is to distract the APC from telling Nigerians how it plans to effect the much-needed change from zero to purposeful governance, and also to sweep under the carpet the glaring failures of Jonathan’s administration.
‘’In both instances, the PDP has failed, as Nigerians have refused to be swayed by all the scandal mongering by the party, while the APC has remained focused in selling its game-changing manifesto to the citizenry,’’ APC said.
The party said frankly, the PDP and President Jonathan do not have any answer to numerous serious issues raised, hence they have decided to engage in a multi-pronged approach of mudslinging, campaign for election postponement and the instigation of violence to scuttle next month’s general elections among others.
Meanwhile, a chieftain of the APC and a member of the party’s presidential campaigns committee, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, has dismissed a statement credited to for Niger Delta militants that they will declare war on Nigeria if President Goodluck Jonathan is not re-elected for a second term in office.
Obono-Obla, who joined issues with the former warlords from the oil bearing region of the country, said nobody from the geopolitical zone will go to war on account of the any eventual failure of President Jonathan to win the February 14 presidential election.
In a text made available to journalists yesterday in Calabar entitled: ‘There Will Be No War If Jonathan Loses Re-election,’ Obono-Obla, a close associate of the APC presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, said: “I was really disgusted yesterday (Saturday) evening when I read the vituperations and ranting of some so-called militants from the Niger Delta region led by the loquacious Mujahid Asari-Dukubo that they will declare war if President Jonathan fails to win the forthcoming presidential election scheduled for February 14.
“The statement by these bunches of miscreants, parading as militants committed to the defence of the cause of the Niger Delta, is outrageous, reckless, irresponsible, uncouth, and foolish and threat to national security.
“In my anxiety I called the revered Professor Tam David-West to yell him the threat by the militants to declare war if President Jonathan is defeated. The eminent professor deflated me when he calmly and collectedly told in his fast way of speaking. “Don’t mind the rascals; they can’t do anything.”
Obono-Obla, who dismissed the threat of the former militants said: “But I want to say that these so-called militants are just bluffing. No proper Niger Delta would go to war because President Jonathan loses the next election.
“I am from the Niger Delta and I know my people will never support any rebellion against the Federal Republic of Nigeria on account of the failure of President Jonathan in the next election.”
Obono-Obla continued: “You can imagine the mindset and mentality of the supporters of President Jonathan. It is so unfortunate that these are the characters that are around the president.
It is regrettably that the president has always failed to call these hooligans who claim that they support his cause to order each time they threatened national security on account of their so-called support.”
Expressing worries that the former militants who have issued the threat have not even been questioned by agencies responsible for securing the nation, the APC chieftain said: “It is equally unfathomable why the Police and the Directorate of State Security (DSS) would not take action against these hooligans each time they let loose by threatening the territorial integrity of the country on account of the election of President Jonathan!
“I am totally lost why the Governor of Bayelsa State would assemble these hooligans in the hallowed ground of Government House, Yenagoa and give them the opportunity to make reckless and foolish statements threatening the rest of the country.
“The Governor of Bayelsa being a part to this treasonable conduct of these hooligans should promptly resign as Governor of Bayelsa and give himself to the police.
“It is equally unconscionable that the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Kingsley Kuku should be an accomplice in this sordid affair!
“Is the presence of the governor and the Special Adviser an indication the assembly of these militants was endorsed by the president? Why has the President not reacted to this rebellious statement? Are these hooligans above the law?
“Now and then they show their foolishness by threatening to wage war on a country that gave their so-called “brother” the opportunity of serving in the capacity of vice-president; acting president and president! It is so sad.”
Obono-Obla said it was abnormal for any individual to threaten to fragment the country because his or her preferred candidate fails to get majority of the votes in the presidential elections.
“How can any sane person threatened to go to war against his country because the candidate he supports in an electoral contest losses election?
How do you expect that in a democratic set up you can use threats, intimidation and bravado to win votes for your candidate?
“How can these people think that they can threaten the rest of the country or intimidate the rest of the country to vote for President Jonathan?”, he queried.
Obono-Obla stated that the claim that the oil wealth of the country belongs to the Niger Delta region has no bearing with election of candidates according to the preference of the individual electorate, stressing that what Jonathan requires to get the votes of the electorate is to present his score cards, if any to the electorate to judge.
“Let me tell these war mongers that only the record of President Jonathan will win votes for him in the next election. No more, no less.
“In their small mindedness and foolishness, they claimed oil mineral belong only to the Niger Delta. This is balderdash. So, assuming the mineral oil belong to the Niger Delta; does that in itself means that the rest of the country have become conquered; at the beck and call of the Niger Delta to the extent that they would be brow beaten to support a candidate that has proven a bumbling incompetent? What twisted; warped logic! Has mineral oil become Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) in the reckoning of these traitors? The oil of the Niger Delta belong to Nigeria not the Niger Delta. The Niger Delta is part and parcel of Nigeria. It is settled that a part cannot be greater than a whole”.
Obono-Obla stated that “democracy thrives on consensus and dialogue not rhetoric of war and civil strife.”
The APC chieftain had some words for Jonathan saying, “It is right time President Jonathan came down from his high horse and explain to us in simple language why we should give him another chance in the presidential villa. All these shenanigans of scheming for the postponement of elections, instigating militants to threatened fire and brimstones, castigating the candidate of the opposition and such frivolities would not help him.”