2015: Jonathan spurns ultimatum
The Presidency joined issues yesterday with the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), which gave President Goodluck Jonathan an October deadline to rescue the over 200 Chibok school girls or forfeit his 2015 re-election bid.
The NEF demanded also an end to Boko Haram’s insurgency.
The over 200 Chibok school girls were abductedby the Boko Haram sect on April 15. They have since been in captivity, even as the government insists that it knows where they are being kept but would not do anything to put their lives at risk.
Also yesterday, the Igbo Redemption Group (IRG) condemned the ultimatum.
In a statement, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Dr. Reuben Abati, said the NEF is misguided and mis-advised. He described their contribution as misguided.
He said: “Nobody is in a position to give the President of Nigeria an ultimatum. For anybody to pretend that they can give the President and the federal government of Nigeria ultimatum, such persons are engaging in a game of self delusion.
“Beyond that, the kind of statements they make are incorrect because it is very clear even to the blind , the deaf and the dumb that this administration has made the fight against insurgency and terrorism a high priority level engagement for the government.
“President Jonathan has personally ensured that the war against terrorism is topmost on the international agenda and that Boko Haram has become the focus of international outreach against any form of terrorism, evil acts, assault on our common humanity and civilisation.”
“If the Northern Elders Forum were to be a patriotic group, they would be expressing support as members of the National Assembly have done again and again and as other enlightened groups in this society have done again and again.”
“For Mr. President’s efforts to bring the nightmare of terrorism to an end, if the members of the elders forum were to be patriotic, they would be carrying the flag against Boko Haram, they would be directing their frustration at terrorists and they would be speaking with one voice to say terror is unacceptable, to say that terror is evil, they would be saying that they as ‘elders’ are prepared to support the effort of government at all levels to ensure that terrorists, both at the government level and at the community level are brought to their knees and that the affected parts of the country are made safe for everybody.
“But they are not patriotic. Hence, they have opted for a position that can cause disaffection, a position that can cause division, a position that flies in the face of the truth. They are not in a position to accuse this government of incompetence and it is not true that there is deep-seated corruption.”
“If there is anything, President Jonathan has been combating corruption, has strengthened the institutions to make corruption difficult and to, over a long time, eradicate corruption. He has placed much greater emphasis on efficiency and service delivery.”
“So, I think that the Northern Elders Forum is misguided, is mis-advised and I dare add that that statement, if indeed is a statement that emanated as a group position rather than the wild imagining of two persons, then I will add that it was an irresponsible contribution.”
The Igbo Redemption Group said the NEF position was “unreasonable”, “unpatriotic”, divisive and “unfortunate”.
IRG leader Chief Delly Ajufo told reporters in Abuja that the northern elders’ position had confirmed the suspicion that the kidnap of the girls was meant to prevent President Jonathan from seeking re-election.
“Statements like these coming from people who cannot lay claim to any significant contribution to the growth and development of Northern Nigeria is nothing but a mark of desperation which we hopefully assume does not represent the views of right thinking leaders of the North.
“The latest attempt by the Northern Elders Forum to link the 2015 presidential bid of Dr Goodluck Jonathan to ending the Boko Haram insurgency and producing the Chibok girls is unacceptable and will only spell doom for the whole country.
“We, therefore, call on genuine leaders of the North, including traditional rulers, political and business leaders, as well other patriotic Nigerians to rise up in condemnation of these desperate parasitic politicians who do not mean well for either the North or Nigeria as a whole.”
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