The All Progressives Congress (APC) has berated President Goodluck Jonathan’s outburst against Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State, during his Presidential Media Chat on Monday night, calling it unwarranted, unpresidential and petty.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said President Jonathan was wrong to have threatened, no matter how subtly, to withdraw troops from Borno, who are battling against Boko Haram insurgents and urged him to apologize to people of the state and to all Nigerians for the presidential indiscretion.
Jonathan had in direct response to a statement credited to Shettima that the Boko Haram insurgents were better armed and motivated than Nigerian troops, threatened to withdraw soldiers from the streets of Borno for one month and “let us see whether he [the governor] will be able to remain in that his Government House”, he was quoted as saying.
This, the APC said, was an indication that President Jonathan does not have a full grasp of what is expected of him as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
“Mr. President, your most important duty as President is to ensure the welfare and security of all Nigerians, irrespective of the criticisms you may face or whether or not they voted for you. Therefore, you are not doing anyone a favour by performing that duty. It is the role you swore an oath to perform.
“Also, even if you feel that the Governor should not have made the statement he made, it is incumbent upon you, as the President and the father of the nation, to take the higher road, instead of choosing a public forum to air your grievances. Wittingly or unwittingly, Mr. President, you have played into the hands of the insurgents, who must by now be gloating at the discordant tunes in government over the battle against them”, APC said.
Throwing back Jonathan’s exact words to the Governor during his media chat, the party said: “A (President) should be mindful of what they say. Yes there are issues, but no matter how frustrated you are you don’t make this kind of statement”.
The opposition party said based on the anger exhibited by President Jonathan while commenting on Gov. Shettima’s statement, the party was justified in its call on the president not to go ahead with his reported plan to remove the governor and replace him with a military administrator.
“President Jonathan should know that a leader cannot afford to be taking decisions on the basis of a perceived slight or criticism, because such decisions are most likely to be wrong and counter-productive. He should also use his enormous powers as President for the benefit of the people, not to their disadvantage.
“By his threat to pull out the troops from Borno for one month, he has further victimized the good people of the state, who have been at the receiving end of the senseless attacks by Boko Haram. A retraction of his threat and an apology to the people will be a good starting point for Mr. President to make amends”, APC said