The All Progressives Congress, APC, has described as utterly insensitive and absolutely callous the decision by President Goodluck Jonathan to declare his second term ambition a day after almost 50 students were killed and about 80 injured in a suicide bombing in Potiskum, accusing the president of dancing on the graves of the students as well as of all the victims of the Boko Haram insurgency.
The party, in a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, said: “Since this president has chosen to celebrate a national tragedy, Nigerians should also be ready to celebrate his electoral failure next year”.
According to the statement, “Today, the three North-east states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe are in danger of being overrun by Boko Haram and over 650,000 Nigerians are internally displaced in those states by the insurgency.
“Yet, President Jonathan says he puts Nigerians first. Lies have never worn a bolder face. The truth is that for President Jonathan, it is Jonathan first, Jonathan second, Jonathan third, Jonathan always!” it said.
APC said by his latest act of blatant hardheartedness, President Jonathan is only continuing along his well-trodden path of acting without deep introspection.
“When about 60 students were killed in the terror attack on the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, in February 2014, President Jonathan never visited the scene to commiserate with the families of the victims. When over 80 people were killed in the first Nyanya bombing in April 2014, President Jonathan went dancing ‘Azonto’ in Kano less than 48 hours later. And when almost 300 girls were freshly abducted in Chibok, President Jonathan neither acted fast enough to rescue the girls nor visited the village. His Administration even denied anyone was abducted, until 19 days after!
“This president has therefore established a pattern of putting his political interest above the security and welfare of Nigerians who voted him into office. This president has trampled upon the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which makes the security and welfare of the citizenry the raison d’etre of the government’s existence. It is time for Nigerians to respond in kind by trampling on his political ambition and sending him back to Otuoke,” the party said.
It wondered what purpose the so-called Safe Schools Initiative of the federal government is serving when over 70 students were killed and more than 100 maimed within a week in two separate attacks targeting schools in Potiskum alone, saying: “The Safe Schools Initiative will remain a mere tokenism until the fundamental problem of insurgency, which has claimed thousands of lives, is conclusively addressed. Mr. President, what Nigerians want is not an isolated Safe Schools Initiative, but a Safe Nigeria Initiative”.
APC said it is usually the practice for leaders who seek re-election to tout the achievements that will justify their return, adding, however, that in the case of President Jonathan, there has been nothing but blood, tears, sorrow and the gnashing of teeth by Nigerians since he assumed office, hence he has nothing to showcase but lies!
The party wondered how President Jonathan could, in all good conscience, even ask Nigerians to re-elect him when he has wasted the mandate given to him in the first instance, adding that nothing shows the president’s incompetence and cluelessness more than the failure of his administration to provide security for the citizenry.
“This is undoubtedly President Jonathan’s biggest and most fundamental failure. At times it goes beyond incompetence to perhaps even collusion, or how else does one explain that the rate and intensity of attacks have increased in the three states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe since they were placed under a state of emergency last year?
“How does one explain that more lives are being lost to the insurgency at a rate that is directly proportional to the increase in spending on defence and security? From 5.07 billion US dollars in 2010 to 7.12 billion US dollars in 2014, the Boko Haram Insurgency has fuelled increases in security spending to around 25% of annual federal government budget. In light of the rebasing of Nigeria’s GDP (put at N80.3 trillion or $509.9 billion), the yearly average for 2010-14, which is $6.58 billion, is equal to 1.3% of GDP, while the total for the 5 budget years amounts to 6.5% of Nigeria’s GDP.
“Instead of asking Nigerians to vote for him again, President Jonathan should be apologizing to Nigerians for wasting their mandate and explaining why, since his administration has increased security spending; declared and renewed emergency rule, issued propaganda claiming the capture and killing of Boko Haram members (including the leader Abubakar Shekau), destruction of Boko Haram camps, and countless assurances of improving security and winning the battle against Boko Haram, the empirical realities over the same period are that Boko Haram has become more daring and audacious in its attacks”, it said.
The party said instead of the transformation that President Jonathan promised Nigerians, he has delivered transmogrification, with unprecedented corruption, runaway unemployment, erasure of hope, total darkness even with millions of Naira sunk into the power sector and trains that are grinding their way to a long-forgotten past of locomotives in an era of bullet trains.
“President Jonathan, the Nigerians who turned up at the Eagle Square on Tuesday to witness your declaration may have looked vibrant and happy. Indeed, they were, because they have come to celebrate your imminent departure from office on the strength of their votes. While saying publicly that they will support you, there is no doubt that they are saying to themselves: Never Again!” it said.