JONATHAN WARNS IBB, ATIKU OVER INCITING STATEMENTS
President Goodluck Jonathan has sounded a note of warning to those making inciting statements, challenging Nigeria's sovereignty as a nation and warned his government would no longer 'take that kind of rubbish lightly.'
The president, who was speaking at the decoration ceremony of some newly promoted Nigerian Navy and Air Force Admirals and Air Vice Marshals yesterday in Abuja, said those who made such incendiary utterances were always the first to take their families abroad to stay until other people's children and families suffered and died as a result of their mischief.
He was apparently reacting to perceived inciting statements by former president Ibrahim Babangida and former vice president and presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar.
Atiku had, while speaking at the National Stakeholders Conference organised by the Adamu Ciroma-led Northern Political Leaders Forum (NPLF) in Abuja, on Wednesday, warned the Federal Government on the likelihood of violence in next year's election, saying, 'those who make peaceful change impossible, make violent change inevitable.'
President Jonathan warned: 'We will no longer allow that kind of culture. I will not allow anybody to take the country for a ride. And sometimes, I frown at some people making statements, especially those of us who are politicians making statements, challenging the sovereignty of this nation.
'Government will no longer take that kind of rubbish lightly. Because when we have crisis, we lose army officers, police officers and some of us who are the cause of the trouble are the people flying to the United States to go and stay until other peoples' children will die, other people's wives will suffer then they come back to be our leaders. We will no longer allow that kind of culture. I will not allow anybody to take the country for a ride.'
President Jonathan, while decrying inciting utterances by some politicians in recent times, said Nigeria was bigger than any individual. He called on those guilty of such inciting statements to focus on how to move the country forward and not toe the path of destruction. The president commended the role played by the Nigerian military to keep the nation one, saying but for the role played by the Nigerian Armed Forces in international peace support operations all over the world, Nigeria would not have been recognised as the giant of Africa.
He said the country, more than ever before, was ready to take her rightful place in the African sub-region, adding that the whole world was looking up to Nigeria to settle the political situation in Cote d' Ivoire. 'We have to thank the military for keeping the country together. You have shown leadership in the whole of Africa.
As for what is happening in Cote d' Ivoire everyday, presidents all over the world are calling on me because they feel it is only Nigeria that can solve the problem of that country. That tells you how others rate Nigeria and we have no reason to derail. 'I have to commend the military for doing that. We have that standing role in the society because of the role the military is playing.'
The president, who personally decorated the first female rear admiral in the Nigerian Navy with her new rank, said his administration was conferring with the leadership of the Nigerian Armed Forces to commence the admission of women into the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) to be trained as regular combatant officers.