This is no time for pro-Jonathan rallies – ACF warns TAN
The Pan-Northern group, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), has opposed plan by Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN), a non governmental organisation, to hold nationwide rallies in support of President Goodluck Jonathan for a second term in office.
The rally is expected to kick off today, Saturday, in Awka, Anambra State.
ACF in a statement issued on Friday in Kaduna by its National Publicity Secretary, Muhammad Ibrahim, said considering the state of the nation and the mood of Nigerians, home and abroad, “this is no time for rallies”.
“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. Patrick Sawyer calls for sober reflection, prayers and support to confront the challenges rather than the solidarity rally being planned by TAN”.
The Northern group said while TAN members were entitled to their rights as other citizens, the current situation in the land did 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.
“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 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 in the North-East and the Ebola threat.
“Nigerians at this time need to unite and support Government efforts in 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”.
ACF further 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)”.
It credits President Jonathan with “sterling human qualities, democratic credentials and landmark accomplishments” that are “currently under marketed and under advertised”.
The first of its rallies tagged ‘Nigerians Demand’ is scheduled for today, Saturday, in Awka, Anambra State in the South-East.
The South-West version comes up next Saturday in Ibadan, to be followed by the South-South on August 30.
Others are: Northcentral: September 9, Minna; Northeast: September 20, Gombe; and Northwest: September 27 in Kano.
ACF statement came four days after the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) gave President Goodluck Jonathan up till the end of October to bring back the Chibok girls and stop Boko Haram or forget 2015.
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