Support for President Goodluck Jonathan’s request to the National Assembly for the extension of state of emergency in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States came from no other person than the Governor of Borno, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, who said the move was in order and reasonable.
He, however, advised the military not to lose focus because of the 2015 elections, which he said would be inconsequential if Boko Haram insurgents are allowed to succeed over Borno and its people.
Shettima made the state’s position known in a statement through his media aide, Mallam Isa Gusau on Tuesday.
The governor, who on few occasions had been upbraided by the president over his comments on the welfare of soldiers in the battlefront and the sophistry of their weapons compared to the insurgents, said Mr. Jonathan meant well by seeking the extension of emergency rule in the three states for a record fourth time.
The governor said: “The safety of our people and their continued existence are more paramount to us than being in power. I do not have doubts about the sincerity of Mr. President in seeking an extension to make it easier for our security agencies to continue their services to our father land and I think an extension is reasonable in the circumstance we have found ourselves much as it also reasonable to take stock of what previous declarations have achieved.
“No democratic government would wish to have military men roaming its streets with armoured tanks. However, we are very much aware that in most guerrilla warfare, insurgents sometimes dictate the pace because they can disguise and pretend to be friends whereas the security agencies are by their systems known, so they can be identified by citizens.
“I have strong hope that Borno will get out of this situation just as I have for the Nigerian State. The problem is however how long it takes and those who suffer while it lasts. This is why we must make common sense sacrifices as leaders, political party members and those in position of influence to help our military and security agencies to remain focused and not to make the slightest attempts of diverting their attention for whatever reason we seek to achieve.
“We must at the end never fail to remember that no matter how long, we would be required to give accounts of how best we managed our influences, whether we blindly limited our thoughts to our individual and group goals or we used our influences for our people who entrusted us with rights to decide their fate. We owe them the right to live”.
While he asked the military in the state not to lose focus, the governor also advised desperate politicians in the state to insulate troops from politics.
He added: “No election in Nigeria should be worth the live of a single Nigerian, I am sure the Nigerian military knows this and is doing everything possible to safeguard lives and property even though in the face of challenges.
“The 2015 general elections is a major factor that all stakeholders, especially security agencies must be very wary so that we don’t lose focus for a minute.
“The ultimate ambition of insurgents all over the world is to defeat constitutional governance and common sense to introduce violence, which has no respect for human lives.
“So, why political parties and politicians get involved in sometimes desperate struggles for power, we should be very thoughtful to realise the need to keep our security agencies focused on the fight against insurgency and not make them lose focus and by that, give room for our common enemies, the insurgents, to extend their violence.
“We should be human enough to remember that whereas some of us in position of authority and those with connections here and there may have security details attached which would make us less or not vulnerable to being direct victims of insurgency onslaught, there are indeed many citizens of ours who would become directly attacked should we as leaders and security agencies lose focus on fighting insurgents.
“We must be godly enough to know that for every single successful attack effected by insurgents, innocent citizens are either killed or subjected to severe suffering which include turning them into displaced persons in their own states”.
He urged politicians to be “reasonable” manage their 2015 interests in a manner that will not threaten the lives of other people, who he said may not have even felt what holding political offices offer in their many years of existence.
He further stated: “We have a sacred duty as leaders and members of political parties and other institutions, of ensuring that we protect and preserve the sanctity of our security agencies, which is this era, is to help defend the overall citizens from the pains insurgents desire to viciously inflict on all of us.
“The Nigerian military has remained focused so far but we must all allow it to remain as such. If not for the military, other security agencies and determined civilian volunteers, insurgents would perhaps have occupied the most of our territories in Borno and other areas.
“The military must not only preserve the existence of those we seek to lead when we win elections in 2015 but must be allowed to do so. Who do we lead if insurgents succeed over our citizens and occupy our territories? Of what essence will our positions of authority even be without those to be led?
“Processes towards the 2015 elections are no doubt legitimate democratic steps towards our constitutional transition but as leaders and those in position in influence, we must pursue such legitimate democratic processes with the right attitude and values, important of which should be to encourage our security agencies to remain focused on the enemy that threatens our collective existence.
“ I am optimistic that with the right focus, the patriotism of our security agencies and volunteers, the continued commitment of those in position of authority to keep providing the right tools and boots, we can together defeat insurgents and liberate ourselves of their evil intentions.
“For us in Borno State, we are focused on continuing our unflinching support for the military, the police, other security agencies and our youth volunteers because we never forget for a single day, that the 2015 elections would amount to absolutely nothing if insurgents succeed over Borno and its people”.