Two opposition parties, Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, and the Congress for Progressives Change, CPC, have opposed alleged plan by the Federal Government to impose a state of emergency on some northern states where the activities of the Boko Haram have recently escalated.
The ACN advised President Goodluck Jonathan to step down if emergency rule is the only option available to the government as a response to the crisis.
Reports alleged at the weekend that the Federal Government was planning to impose a state of emergency on Borno, Yobe and Nasarawa states to check the bloody activities of the sect.
While Borno and Yobe States are ruled by the opposition All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, the CPC is in power in Nasarawa state.
The suspicion that the president is considering emergency rule in the three states was fuelled by the meeting, late last week, between the nation’s security chiefs and President, who cut short his visit to South African following the brutal murder of some police and State Security Service personnel by a militant group, Ombatse, in Nasarawa State.
The presidency, however, denied the speculation, in a statement by the Special Adviser to the president on media and publicity, Reuben Abati, at the weekend.
Mr Abati said, “No such decision has been taken and people should stop speculating. The Federal Government is studying the situations in the affected states and would take a decision that would be in the best interest of the security of not just the people of the states affected but the country.”
Apparently not convinced by the denial, ACN, in a statement by its spokesman, Lai Mohammed, on Sunday, asked Mr Jonathan to shelve the plan to declare a state of emergency in those states, if he has any, adding that doing so could give an undue advantage to the president’s Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which does not control any of the three states, rather that helping end the crisis.
The opposition party said if the imposition of emergency rule on the most affected states is the only viable option left for President Jonathan to tackle the crisis, then he should step down.
It added that the crisis has dragged on for so long because of the failure of the Jonathan administration to appropriately diagnose the problem in the first instance, coupled with an exhibition of lethargy and an appalling lack of creativity in devising measures to end it.
”Perhaps President Jonathan should emulate late US President Harry Truman by putting a sign on his desk at Aso Rock that reads ‘The buck stops here’ to remind him that he bears the ultimate responsibility for the security situation in the country today, instead of any attempt to blame some state governors in the affected states,” ACN said.
”Imposing a state of emergency on the states that have been mentioned, like Borno, Yobe and Nasarawa States will amount to shifting responsibility and unduly victimizing the governors of those states, who have done perhaps more than the President, in dealing with the crisis, even though they are not in charge of any security apparatus.
”It is important to state here that the President virtually abandoned the states as they reeled under the effects of the Boko Haram onslaught. For about two years after assuming office, he refused to visit the states until the APC Governors blazed the trail and left him with no option but to follow suit.
”It is also important to warn that since the listed states are not under the control of the PDP and – going by precedence – President Jonathan is sure to appoint card-carrying PDP members to preside over the affairs of the state in the event that he imposes emergency rule on them, it will amount to robbing the citizens of those states of their mandate and capturing more states for the PDP..
”In any case, the affected states are already heavily militarized with the massive deployment of troops there to battle the Boko Haram insurgency, and one wonders what else will change if they are put under emergency rule….beyond just removing elected officials like Obasanjo did wantonly during his tenure.”
ACN said if the President still finds the state of emergency option the most viable despite the arguments to the contrary, then he should go further by also putting Abuja, where the police headquarters, a military barracks and the UN complex have been bombed; the states in the south where kidnapping has become a daily occurrence as well as the areas where the nation’s crude oil are being stolen in millions of barrels under the state of emergency.
It, however, advised Mr Jonathan to stick to dialogue in dealing with the Boko Haram crisis, with the hope that a determined pursuit of the new measures, rather than a half-hearted, made-for-klieg lights posturing, will help end the crisis.
Also in a statement by its spokesman, Rotimi Fashakin on Sunday, the CPC insisted that there is every reason to believe that Mr Jonathan is contemplating imposing emergency in the three states and wondered what administrators, when appointed, would achieve given the present scenario in the states.
The statement said, “There is every reason to believe that the President is contemplating declaration of emergency in three states- Borno, Yobe and Nasarawa – that have been embroiled lately in orgies of violence with attendant fatalities.
“First, as a party, we condemn in strong terms these orgies of violence in these States.
“Second, our hearts go out to the families of those whose lives have been cut short by these insurgencies. We commiserate with the gallant servicemen and women that paid the supreme sacrifice in Yobe, Borno and Nasarawa states while in the service of the nation. We are sure that their labour and sacrifice shall not be in vain.
“Third, we wish to alert the nation about the sinister plot to invoke emergency rule in these states. The question is: what is the new thing that an administrator will hope to achieve given the present scenario of militarization in these states?
“Should this not be interpreted as another knee-jack response of this administration to situations that require out-of-the-box thinking? Is this approach not to be interpreted as a pre-meditated consequence of ineptitude of this regime?”
CPC recalled that the late National Security Adviser, Owoye Azazi, alerted the nation “about the politics of the People’s Democratic Party PDP being the locus of the insecurity in the nation State,” adding “what did the Federal Government do to stymie the odiousness of the politics of the ruling party other than merely sacking the messenger?”
CPC noted “as a party, we have noticed a dangerous trend that the states mainly embroiled in these spates of insecurity are mainly non-PDP states which further fuels the notion that these insurgencies are purposely orchestrated to create the ambience for the declaration of emergency rule in the states.
“On the basis of the foregoing therefore, the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, is vehemently opposed to any declaration of State of emergency because we are convinced that it is not only puerile but meant for self-serving purposes.
“In this vein, therefore, we reject in its totality this intent at declaring any state of emergency and request the President, as the Leader of the PDP, to consult within his Party for the panacea to the nation’s security nightmare.”