The President, Goodluck Jonathan has told Nigerians that no individual should be allowed to rise above the country as the nation is supreme to all personal ambition and selfish pursuits and should take precedence above all selfish goals..
The president was reacting to certain moves by People’s Democratic Party juggernauts to sweep off initiatives on the current investigations in the aftermath of Independence day bombings in Abuja, Nigeria Federal capital territory.
In an apparent assertion of political authority and initiative driving about the state of the nation, President Jonathan , who has shown extra ordinary caution in his moves and utterances since assuming inherited presidency from deceased Ex President Umaru Yar’Adua, descended heavily on the trio of Ibrahim Babangida, Bukola Saraki and Aliyu Gusua, telling them they cannot rise above the country as untouchables.
The president’s posture is indicative of a patient dog being driven by bullying colleagues, inclined to bark hard to show that his patience and silence didn’t mean signs of weakness.
The trio, Former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd); former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar; former National Security Adviser (NSA), Lt-General Aliyu Gusau (rtd) and Governor Bukola Saraki of Kwara State had resorted to unwarranted politicisation of the recent bombing capitalising on a statement made by the president in the aftermath of Abuja bombing in which he exonerated MEND.
The trio in a swift reaction reaction however accused him (Jonathan) of witch-hunt of political opponents.
A certain political top-shot is under surveillance by the nation’s security agent while High Chief Aleigho Raymond Dokpesi, the Director general of Ibrahim Babangida’s Campaign is currently on bail after being picked up by SSS in connection with relating information about the bombing. No name has been given about the identity of the politician.
In his Facebook forum to Nigerians, entitled ‘In Defence of Life, Liberty and Property’ directed to his friends on Wednesday, Jonathan told Babangida, Atiku, Gusau and Saraki that the country was bigger than them and their personal interests.
He also said that he would not succumb to any amount of blackmail from them.
“Nigeria is bigger than any individual or any collection of individuals. Nobody can hold a country of 150 million people to ransom any more. The interest of a few conceited, ill-motivated individuals cannot be bigger than our national aspirations,” he said.
The letter reads: “My dear friends on facebook, It is with a heavy heart that I read your comments and mails with respect to the sad events that occurred on the day we were celebrating 50 years of our existence as a nation and discussing the need to chart a new course for our future.
“Although the security agencies put in significant efforts to pre-empt the attacks, it is very sad that lives of innocent Nigerians were lost to this heartless act against the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Again, I offer my condolences to the families of the victims in particular and the nation in general.
“Although this is somewhat a new experience for us, especially as bombings had never taken place in the Federal Capital Territory before last Friday’s incident, security agencies have been instructed to leave no stone unturned in securing lives and property.
“Dear friends, if the aim of the attackers is to create a sense of insecurity and panic across the nation in order to advance their narrow interests, Nigerians will stand up to them and make it clear that they cannot be intimidated.
“I want to assure Nigerians that blackmail and intimidation will not stop the Federal Government from doing the right thing.
We would be failing the past, present and future generations of Nigerians if we do not get to the root of this dastardly act and seek justice the way it should be done in a civilised society such as ours.
“It is unfortunate that an unprecedented national tragedy of this nature has been politicised by people whose only interest is what they can get from the country and not what the country can get from them.
They specialise in playing one part of the country against the other and riding on sectional sentiments to promote their narrow ambitions. I believe that Nigerians have grown beyond this parochial mentality.
“To prove to you that their interests are personal and not for the people they claim to represent, you will notice that while this administration has spent considerable time and resources as well as focused attention on the recent floods in Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi and Jigawa states and the cholera epidemic in certain parts of Nigeria as well as the lead poisoning that has consumed 400 children in Zamfara State, these so-called concerned people have not been known to address any of these issues nor offer a word of succour to the victims.
This is irrefutable proof that their only focus is how to get power and not the wellbeing of the long suffering people of Nigeria whom I have sworn to Almighty God to protect.
“At this critical time, we should be mourning the dead and praying for the families left behind. What they need at this sad hour is not politics but compassion and empathy.”
Speaking at his Hill-top mansion in Minna, the Niger State capital, the former military leader insisted that the unity of the country was uppermost in his mind “than any one thinks”.
“It will be idiotic for anyone to link me to that bomb blast because I know what the unity of this country means and that was why we fought to keep it together. So, why should I get involved in such a mess?”
“Naturally, when things like this happen, people will cast their imaginative and fertile minds into action.
They are more hasty in drawing conclusions, especially when people like us are mentioned. This is the price we pay for the love of our country and as politicians.
“There were lapses somewhere, whether we like it or not. No one has disputed that government was given prior information of about four to five days about the impending disaster and yet nothing was done.
In a situation like this which has to do with human lives, you do not need more than 24 hours to remedy an impending situation.
“The British Intelligence Unit and others had warned on the impending disaster and the reaction should have been instant because such information is vital and much time is not needed to take precautionary measures.
Where the right official steps were taken, our well-trained outfits would have been tactically mobilised to react swiftly,” he fumed.
On his absence from the jubilee celebration in Abuja, he said he was put off by the “freaky spendings on the occasion by the government.”
According to Babangida, the over N6 billion spent could have been used for developmental projects rather than on Independence celebration, arguing that if the celebration had been approached the way the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua proposed, it would not have cost the country up to N1 billion.
In Abuja, the Jonathan/ Sambo Campaign Organisation has described the statement credited to the leader of Northern Political Leaders Forum, Alhaji Adamu Ciroma, that Jonathan should resign before the end of the week, as misplaced and uncalled for. He called on him to retract it immediately.
Dr. Dallahtu Tafida, the Director-General of the organisation, while fielding questions from State House correspondents yesterday, insisted that the former Finance Minister may have been misquoted “but if the story is true, it should be retracted immediately.”
“For Ciroma to ask the President to resign is too harsh. The issue of calling for impeachment is misplaced. You don’t just say you want to impeach for the sake of it. If they don’t want us to have a smooth transition, it is too bad.
After all, whether it is IBB, Atiku, Saraki , Gusau or Jonathan, whoever gets it is PDP. We have not even reached the point where we should be fighting”.