The All Progressives Congress (APC) noted yesterday that the comment credited to Information Minister, Mr. Labaran Maku that the Federal Government was spending significantly on security in three states controlled by the opposition party was a categorical declaration of the office of the president vacant by the minister.
According to APC, Maku by that statement has proved that President Goodluck Jonathan is only the president, leader and chief executive officer (CEO) of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and not of Nigeria.
Recall that at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday, while speaking with State House correspondents, Maku had drawn the attention of Nigerians to the entire money the federal government had been spending to maintain security in states controlled by the APC, just as he berated the opposition party for turning around to start playing politics with the security situation in the country.
The minister added that while 90 per cent of all insurgency was happening in states controlled by that party, 90 per cent of the #BringBackOurGirls protesters were also members of that same party even as he accused the APC of hijacking the campaigns to protests against the PDP-led federal government.
However, in a statement issued on Thursday in Lagos by its interim national publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the APC described Maku’s comment as “a tragic and insensitive statement from an honourable minister of the Federal Republic about children, some of whom are minors with neither political leaning”.
“The campaign to rescue the abducted girls has now been clearly polarized and politicized by the federal government. So sad, so unfortunate, so callous, so mean, so irresponsible, so brazen, so not parental, so not governmental”, it added.
The party regretted that this was coming from government at a time “that foreign nationals, who are not members of either PDP or APC, were spending their time and resources campaigning for the rescue of these girls”. The opposition party cited the U.S. and UK where it said Republicans, Democrats as well as Liberal Democrats, Conservatives and Labour were “united in campaigning for the rescue of our daughters”.
APC wondered who was playing politics between it and the federal government, saying if anyone must play politics at all, it should be a political party and not government.
Noting that the most astounding information from the most credible source – the minister of information – regarding government and governance in Nigeria has finally emerged.
According to the party, Maku’s utterances at the FEC briefing has confirmed what had been making the rounds in different ways, which is that “the ship of the Nigerian state continues to tether on auto-pilot without a captain in charge”.
“The vacancy exists, the head hunt has started; we the Nigerian people are the employers, we are the interviewers, and the appointment is ours to make. Our vote, our power, our voice is how we can do this. We will, we must.
“We need a president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. A president for our nation, a president who sees Nigerian citizens not as PDP or APC supporters, a president who sees children as Nigerians and Nigeria’s future, not PDP, or APC children, a president who is Nigerian, not against Nigeria; a president who comes from somewhere, but is for Nigeria, not for a locality or a party”, the statement added.
Wondering how the federal government would resort to discrimination on how much it was “spending to secure the nation based on location, political control, and perception of political preference of citizens of Nigeria”, the APC spokesman also wondered whether the country’s constitution no longer makes it “a condition precedent that a presidential candidate must score at least one quarter of all votes cast in at least two-thirds of the states of the federation in addition securing the majority of all votes cast before he or she can be declared the winner”.
Accordingly, the Mohammed declared, “So finally, truly and sadly, Nigerians now know that PDP has a president, but no one occupies the position of the office of the president, Federal Republic of Nigeria. Now we know that the PDP constitution is superior to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at least in the estimation of the Federal Executive Council”.
On the minister’s assertion that the federal government was merely a fire fighter in the war against Boko Haram, Mohammed said: “A government that characterizes itself as a fire fighter in matters of security is a failed government. Failure to defeat a failed government will only lead us to a failed state… Fire fighters are on standby until there is a fire.
“We don’t need a government on standby, we don’t need a government in idle mode; we need a government that prevents fires. The best-run societies earn their record of efficiency by showing how many years they operated without a fire, not how many fires they have put out. A self-labelled fire fighter should be put in his place — a watchtower on standby for IF a fire arises.
“Nigeria needs a government that prevents, not fights, fires. This PDP government is a failed government. The fire of corruption is engulfing the nation, insurgency is blazing hotter, terrorist flags are being hoisted on Nigerian soil, terrorists are mocking our security by repeat attacks in similar areas. They are attacking the symbols of our security — police stations and military barracks. The fire is raging, where is the self-styled fire fighter?” APC queried.
Still on the Maku’s statement that the federal government was spending significantly on security in “three APC-controlled states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa”, Mohammed said if this was so then “the rest of the world, and Nigerians perhaps, erroneously believed these were states of Nigeria, including officially recognized international borders between Nigeria and other countries.
“Now, we know that, to the president, as announced by his minister of information, they are APC states, not federating units of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Obviously, governance is according to the PDP constitution, not the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Nigerian Constitution does not recognize or demarcate, or discriminate between states on account of ethnicity, or political leaning, especially when it concerns the very important issue of security”.
More still, APC noted that what Maku probably meant was that the PDP’s constitution recognized only states where PDP governors preside over and President Jonathan is governing according to that constitution.
The statement continued: “As innocuous, and ill-conceived as this statement on behalf of FEC by Labaran Maku is, it is the most tragic, telling and fearful statement that has been, or can be, attributed to any central government in any democracy.
“All over the world, there are conflicts between separatists and central governments, and it is not uncommon to see neighbouring countries annexing portions of another country, but never has the world experienced a central government excising its own states especially on grounds of security or on grounds of political leaning.
“Imagine a U.S. President like Obama complaining about national spending on security in New York to protect the homeland after 9/11 under a Republican mayor, Rud Guliani? Or the year after year spending on border patrol and homeland protection to secure the U.S. border from drugs, guns and violent crimes in Texas or Arizona, lifelong and unwavering red (Republican) states? Nothing will be more impeachable!”
The APC spokesman further noted that, going by Maku’s statement, the Federal Executive Council in essence sees Nigerians only as PDP supporters or APC supporters.
He said: “They don’t even see us as Nigerians, a nation, or a people! This again is inconsistent with the Constitution of the Federal Republic that identifies all citizens as Nigerians, and the rest of the world recognizes us as such.
“Or how else can one explain Maku’s unguarded outburst that a ‘majority of protesters accusing the government of not doing enough on security were APC members’? Again, we are talking about the security of the homeland, and a terrorism scourge that has killed, or has in captivity, Nigerians from the east, the west, the south and the north, Christians and Muslims”.