Nigeria News

We’ll arrest Shekau before elections, President says

President Goodluck Jonathan has said that the leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau will be arrested before the upcoming general elections.

Jonathan also admitted that he underestimated the threat posed by Boko Haram.

The President stated this during an interview with ThisDay on Friday, February 20, in Lagos.

Excerpts below:

MR PRESIDENT, Elections have been postponed following the security advice of the military who have said they need to secure the North-east. But the question people are asking is: ‘what had not been achieved in six years, how is it going to be achieved in six weeks in the fight against Boko Haram’ ?

In the Council of State meeting when the issue was raised, after the INEC chairman spoke, they asked the Chief of Defence staff to speak. He did not actually specify that the elections should be postponed because of the fight against Boko Haram. He said for the 14th February election, we could not guarantee the security; he did not tell us that it was only because they wanted to rout Boko Haram in the North-east.

So nobody is saying that we must win the war against Boko Haram hundred per cent. We cannot expect to win the war against such terror hundred per cent before the elections anyway but we will not allow them keep all the territories they hold. My belief is that by 28th of next month, when the elections will be conducted Boko Haram may not even be in a position to attack any town, God willing.

Shekau, in a video, just threatened to disrupt the elections. What is your government doing about this?

God willing we will catch Shekau before the elections.

A lot of people see your misreading and poor handling of the Boko Haram insurgency and your soft stance on corruption as having played a role in driving Buhari’s growth in stature and giving you, an incumbent President, a serious run for your money. Do you accept that as President there are certain things you did not manage properly?

I think the thing that has brought this government down with both Nigerians and non-Nigerians, is the issue of Boko Haram. Probably at the beginning, we and I mean myself and the team, we underrated the capacity of the Boko Haram. Capacity not in terms of what they have in Nigeria, but their international linkages, we underrated that and thought that we were dealing with some local elements that we could overrun.

Are you happy that Obasanjo has left PDP?

I don’t like to comment on Chief Obasanjo, he’s my father. I am here because God wanted me to be here, but God used people to do the work.

First and foremost, Nigerians voted for me; at least I got the majority vote and that’s why I am here. So many people played different roles. Obasanjo also played some roles in my life from my days as a deputy governor to get to where I am. today So I wouldn’t want to make comments about Obasanjo. I believe overtime, over the years, Obasanjo himself will begin to speak differently on some of these issues that are at the moment being controversial.

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