The All Progressives Congress (APC) has faulted Ijaw national leader, Chief Edwin Clark, for allegedly brazenly goading President Goodluck Jonathan to declare full state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.
In a statement yesterday in Lagos by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party noted that apart from goading the president to commit an unconstitutional act, Clark was also working to help the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to devise an undemocratic way to win the 2015 general elections by forcefully ejecting elected officials in the states.
It said the Ijaw leader’s outburst against the Attorney-General of the Federation – Mohammed Adoke – for “misadvising” President Jonathan on the declaration of emergency in the three states was not aimed at clipping the wings of the insurgents but “simply to give an unfair advantage to a party that has given the chief juicy patronage, so that his gravy train will not derail”.
APC said contrary to insinuations by the Federal Government, the three state governments controlled by the party have given the troops deployed to their states unprecedented support – in cash and kind – without which the war on terror there may have been harder to fight.
It said: “The Borno State Government, for example, has provided equipment and logistics worth N10 billion to the military, and this includes the provision of Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs), 400 brand new patrol vehicles, regular fuelling, provision of accommodation for soldiers and cash as immediate palliatives to families of slain soldiers, training, kitting and payment of stipends to civilian volunteers and robust intelligence support for the military using residents, hunters, vigilantes and the traditional institutions.
“It, therefore, baffles any informed observer how this massive support could have hindered the fight against Boko Haram, as Chief Clark insinuated in his unnecessary diatribe, which he made with his usual flair”.
APC posed some questions begging for answers.
“Will the removal of the elected officials in the three states improve security in the states and immediately end the insurgency? Will it make the Army better equipped? Will it provide better intelligence? Will it scare Boko Haram away? Will it increase the number of troops? Will it improve military logistics and planning? Will it inspire the people or build their confidence and sense of security? Will it translate to a better trained and nimble military force?
“Won’t the removal of the officials eliminate a critical logistic and coordination infrastructure? Won’t it eliminate the very support system the military has depended on in those states? Won’t it eliminate a major rallying point and support system for the victims and residents of these states? Won’t it eliminate a major interface that even the military itself uses to engage the people? Won’t it eliminate a critical component of coordination and intelligence gathering? Won’t it eliminate the most critical resource for succour, support and alleviation to the communities suffering under this terrorist siege?” the party asked.
Mohammed said the simple answer to the orchestrated rabble rousing by the ever pesky Chief Clark is that he and his ilk are seeking to give an undue advantage to the PDP ahead of the next general elections.
The APC spokesman added that this is because the three states currently under emergency rule are all opposition states where the PDP knows it cannot win free, fair and transparent elections either today or at a future date.
The statement enjoined elder statesmen to rise above the fray and put national interest above sectional considerations in their efforts to help seek an end to the insurgency that has claimed over 12,000 innocent lives since 2009.
The opposition party also said it is the same mindset as Chief Clark’s that has largely limited the Jonathan Administration’s efforts to decisively deal with the Boko Haram insurgency.
“From the onset, the Jonathan Administration resorted to crying wolf where there is none, labelling the opposition and the so-called Northern elites of being the sponsors of Boko Haram and trying desperately to label it as a religious war. When that fails, the same government now wants to profit from the same insurgency it blames on the opposition and others. There is no way the Jonathan administration can eat its cake and have it”, the party said.
It added: “Removing the Governors of the three states under a state of emergency and replacing them with PDP members or those with sympathy for the party, as the Clarks of this world are advocating, cannot be the panacea to the terrorist activities of Boko Haram. It can only give the ruling party an unfair electoral advantage and further worsen the anti-terror fight.
“We, therefore, reject this satanic postulation and again reiterate our stand that Boko Haram is an enemy of Nigeria, of Christians and Muslims, Northerners and Southerners, the rich and the poor, the elite and the ordinary citizens, hence we must all forge a common national front against the bandits rather than engage in divisive and partisan tactics”.