Nigeria not in mood for pro-Jonathan rally —ACF
The Pan-Northern group,Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF),is not amused by plan to hold rallies across the nation by a group to drum up support for President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term in office.
The rallies kick off today in Awka,Anambra State.
The ACF declared yesterday that the Nigeria is currently in no mood for such rallies,the brainchild of Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN), a non governmental organisation .
“The present mood of the nation in the face of insecurity challenges of daily attacks on innocent souls by Boko Haram insurgents in the North, ritual killings in the West, kidnappings of prominent persons in the South South and armed robbery in the East and the sudden entry of Ebola virus into the country through one Mr. Sawyer calls for sober reflection, prayers and support to confront the challenges rather than the solidarity rally being planned by TAN,” ACF said in a statement in Kaduna by its National Publicity Secretary, Muhammad Ibrahim.
The statement came four days after the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) gave President Goodluck Jonathan up till October to bring back the Chibok girls and stop Boko Haram or forget 2015.
The NEF said the military can defeat the Boko Haram terrorists – if, indeed, the government wants to subdue to sect,adding:”We are convinced that most of these conflicts are being engineered to weaken the North politically and economically by interests which intend to exploit such weaknesses for electoral benefits.”
The Presidency’s response to the NEF’s ultimatum was swift in coming.
It said Jonathan does not require any threat or ultimatum from the north or any group of persons for him to perform his job.
The Senior Special Assistant to the president on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe,said:”suggestion that the Government is carrying out any scheme to annihilate any section of the country for political gain is preposterous, contrary to common sense, divisive and essentially a deliberate attempt to disseminate “hate mentality” and cause mischief”.
The ACF said yesterday that while TAN members as Nigerians are entitled to their rights as other citizens the present situation in the country does not call for celebrations and political rally in support of any cause or any political office holder at this material time of security, social and health challenges.
“Moreover. INEC is yet to lift the ban on political rallies as per the provisions of our constitution and the Electoral Act,” it said.
Enumerating the insecurity challenge in the North,ACF said: “Towns and villages are being wiped out, innocent people and including security personnel are being attacked and killed on daily basis in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states that have been under an emergency rule in the last 14 months.
“The Federal and States Government combined effort in tackling the security challenges is yet to achieve the desired result and some Nigerians are busy planning celebrations.
“The over 200 Chibok girls kidnapped 120 days ago are still in captivity of the Boko Haram insurgents, another 100 young men have recently been kidnapped at Baga Borno state, young girls are being used as suicide bombers, prominent persons are being killed or kidnapped for ransom, Damboa, Gwoza and many towns in Borno and Yobe states are being occupied by insurgents and Ebola virus is taking its toll on those who had primary or secondary contacts with the prime victim.”
It pointed out that the organisers of the planned rallies would serve Nigeria better for now if they could pay attention to the plight of other Nigerians under siege of Boko Haram insurgents ,the daily killing of security personnel and innocent souls by insurgents, destruction of property and displacements of 400,000 persons due to insurgency the North East and the Ebola threat.
“Nigerians at this time need to unite and support Government efforts tackling the above menace not solidarity rallies,” it said and warned about “the likely security threat and logistic burden such political rally will place on our security personnel that are already over stretched with the issue of terrorist activities nationwide.
It asked TAN members to ”be human, sensitive and have a rethink on their planned solidarity rally in the six geopolitical zones and shift it to a more appropriate time especially the ones for Kano. Minna and Gombe for the sake of Nigerians under siege of insurgency and other challenges” and urged politicians and the generality of Nigerians to respect and obey the letters of our constitution in all our dealings in order to deepen our democracy, enthrone the rule of law and promote peace, unity and development.”
TAN describes itself as ” a non-governmental organization designed to promote good governance. It consists of individuals of impeccable character fostering the continuation of transformation by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ).
“The Group is comprised of professional men and women, youths, businessmen and women, artists, artisans, sportsmen and women, physically challenged persons, widows associations, Christian, Muslim and native religious groups, community, traditional and market leaders, opinion moulders and analysts, farmers, school teachers, trade unions and all masses of Nigeria committed to the ideals of good and quality leadership, order, unity, peace and progress of our nation under the Constitution.”
It credits President Jonathan with ”sterling human qualities, democratic credentials and landmark accomplishments” that are “currently under marketed and under advertised.”
This situation,it claims has ”given rise to the persistent false narrative about his leadership standing, and a myth that TAN has set out to deconstruct for Nigerians and the international community to know the truth and live by it.”
The first of its rallies tagged ‘Nigerians Demand’ is scheduled for today in Awka,Anambra State,in the Southeast.
The Southwest version comes up next Saturday in Ibadan to be followed by the Southsouth edition on August 30.
The others are :Northcentral:September 9,Minna;Northeast:September 20:Gombe ;and Northwest:September 27 in Kano.
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