Chibok Girls: APC, Presidency in fire-for-fire
A statement issued by Nigeria’s opposition party, the All Progressives Congress accusing President Goodluck Jonathan of abdicating his responsibility by passing the buck over the unrelenting terrorist attacks in Nigeria, has spurred a counter statement from the presidency.
In a statement late on Sunday, The Presidency accused the APC of dishonesty and playing politics with insurgency and terrorism.
“It is very clear that the APC is being dishonest. Its intention is to play politics with insurgency and terrorism, said Dr. Reuben Abati, Presidential adviser on media.
“I think the question needs to be pointedly asked: `What country does the APC belong to? “What country is the APC seeking to preside over? As it appears, the APC seems blinded by its own narrow ambition and that is why in recent times, you can find some persons purportedly speaking for the APC making completely illogical and unreasonable statements.
But it appears that Abati’s response was not in consonance with the issue the APC had raised in the statement by interim spokesman, Lai Mohammed.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) had accused the Jonathan-led Federal Government of abdicating its responsibility to Nigerian citizens with the statement attributed to the President on Thursday that those who are calling for the safe return of the kidnapped Chibok girls should address their protests to the abductors, rather than to the President or the government he leads.
The party said it is now logical to conclude that at this point, there is absolutely no hope for Nigeria and her citizens under this capricious government.
”A government that is unwilling to take any responsibility for anything, and one that is unwilling to recognize that its raison d’etre is to ensure the welfare and security of its citizens has simply abdicated its responsibility, and should not be counted upon to do all that is necessary to rescue the over 200 girls who were abducted under its watch,” it said.
”If the Jonathan-led government is right, then anytime a country suffers from deadly flooding, for example, the people should rather blame the sea or the sea goddess instead of looking up to their government for succour. If the Jonathan-led government is right, then the US, Britain France, China as well as the UN, which have all been asking the government to do more to secure the homeland, are wrong and do not understand the concept of governance. Certainly, there is a problem somewhere,” the party said.
Abati in his response latched on ‘abdication’ , without considering the contextual use of the word by the APC.
“If you look at the statement by Lai Muhammed, he is accusing the government of abdicating its responsibilities. President Jonathan has never at any time abdicated responsibilities. He has consistently made it clear that the safety of every Nigerian is important to him, that the security of lives and property is central to all the goals and objectives of this administration,” he said.
Abati noted that while the opposition could claim that part of its duties was to criticise the government of the day, APC had made it clear that its duty was to pull down the Jonathan government.
He recalled that when the bombing in Nyanya, Abuja, and the abduction of the girls at Chibok, occurred, the president called a Special National Security Council meeting.
He said that Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, who spoke on behalf of APC at the meeting made it clear that the party had resolved in an earlier meeting that terrorism was an issue that was above partisanship. The governor, according to Abati, had said that APC resolved that the issue of terrorism required a bipartisan approach and that everyone involved must rise above partisanship.
“Since that meeting, we have not seen any evidence either from the party or the leaders of the party that the APC meant what its members at that security meeting said,” he said. Abati also faulted the opposition’s claim that the president was against talking about his administration in the efforts at fighting terrorism.
“In his statement to the BringBackOurGirls campaigners in Abuja, he said that they should be united against terrorism and Boko Haram.
“That was his message. He was not abdicating responsibility.He was not saying they should not talk about government responsibility and talk only about Boko Haram,” he said.
Abati berated the APC and its spokesman, Mohammed for accusing the President of incompetence and corruption without any evidence to back it up.
He accused the APC spokesman of lacking the capability to query the president’s competence.
“People who have never run a poultry are grandstanding about running a country. Lai Muhammed is not in the position to talk about competence,’’ Abati said.
As if anticipating Abati’s response, the APC had said it will neither be browbeaten nor blackmailed into abdicating its own responsibility as a virile opposition party by keeping quiet even as the government continues on the dangerous path of running the nation aground.
”There seems to be a grand plot by the Jonathan Administration to silence all criticisms and sweep all ongoing corruption investigations and government incompetence under the carpet under the guise of uniting to fight terrorism.
”This is fraudulent as President Jonathan is only trying to profit from his own corruption and incompetence. While we are ready to partner with the Administration and join all Nigerians in the fight against terrorism, especially in efforts to ensure the safe return of the missing girls, we refuse to be cowed or tricked into submission and allow the looting of our resources and the bad governance to continue unchallenged.
”A government that is quick to accuse others of failing to sympathize with the victims of the insurgency that it had allowed to fester has no qualms campaigning aggressively for a second term of office for a President who has made a failure of his first term. A government that rushes to the media to condemn even an INEC-sanctioned rally, rather than the illegal rallies it engages in, has no shame running a daily advert, under the guise of the hitherto unknown Protectors of Nigerian Posterity, thus showing no respect for the mood of the nation.
”If the Jonathan and the PDP want to be taken seriously, they should ask their campaigners to apply the brakes out of respect for the mood of the nation. They should try to make a success of their yet-unfinished term of office before even seeking another.
”President Jonathan and the PDP cannot continue with their campaigns and then continue to blackmail us into keeping quiet. If anyone is exploiting the national tragedy, it is Jonathan and the PDP. If anyone is politicizing the insurgency, it is Jonathan and the PDP! Thankfully, Nigerians are aware of this double-standard of this feckless, clueless and incompetent federal government,” the party said.