Boko Haram: Saboteurs causing rift between Presidency,Shettima to undermine operations- coalition
Recent disagreements between the Presidency and the Borno State are caused by some unscrupulous elements who are bent on sabotaging ongoing military operations against the deadly Boko Haram insurgents, a coalition has alleged.
The Coalition, an umbrella of 150 clubs and associations in Borno State,stated this at a peaceful rally in Maiduguri yesterday, held in condemnation of the deaths arising from intensified attacks by the Boko Haram.
Baba gana Gambobe and Ifeanyi chukwu, coordinator and secretary of the coalition, read a joint statement, calling on President Goodluck Jonathan to embrace Governor Shettima on the basis that the President stands to gain more when peace is restored in Borno since the provision of security rests on the Federal Government based on constitutional provisions.
"We call on the President,Commander in Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, Dr Goodluck Jonathan to ignore elements that may be working to cause disaffection between the Presidency and Borno State Government as that will not do the country any good in the fight against insurgency. We know that at all times, there are elements who try to take advantage of 'openings' to sever relationships in order to make selfish benefits either materially or politically. We all know that President Jonathan and Governor Shettima share one thing in common: both are extremely humble. Therefore, any rise of nerves can only be caused by elements who do no mean well for Nigeria. It should be well understood, that Mr President's major challenge and perhaps yardstick for his choice by electorates in whatever future endeavour is how he is able to address the current security challenges in Northeast especially in Borno and Yobe States. The Governors of Borno and Yobe States also have the same challenges and political determinants. In Borno State, Mr President cannot succeed in addressing the security challenges without the support of the State Government and the Governor as well as community members who have allegiance to the Governor. On the part, Governor Shettima can also not succeed in attracting peace and even doing his routine administrative works, without the support of the President. Nothing can happen without peace. We say to Mr President that any Governor who is genuinely committed to the search of peace is his genuine friend and not his enemy because when that peace is derived, Mr President is the major political beneficiary since the Nigerian constitution places the security of lives and property squarely on the President under the exclusive legislative list. That is the reason for the suffix, 'commander in chief of Armed Forces'. Mr President should disregard and see as an enemy from within, anyone that tries to cause disaffection between the Presidency and any Governor whether in Borno,Yobe or any part of Nigeria, that is working for peace. We remember that only some months ago, Mr President was proudly making reference to the return of peace in Maiduguri and the emergence of youth volunteers called the 'Civilian JTF', who have tremendously been helping the Military as part the gains of his administration in handling the insurgency crisis. Indeed, Mr President was right. It doesn't matter the level of support Governor Shettima provided and has been providing to the Civilian JTF and soldiers. The fact remains that the President wins when peace is achieved since the onus lies on him constitutionally. We call on intensified cooperation between the Presidency and the Borno State Government and call everyone who desires peace in Nigeria to promote cordiality between all tiers of Government in this fight. We have only one enemy to whom we are all targets and we must focus on that enemy rather engage on internal wrangling that will also derail us, make us loose cohesion and at the end, we get struck" the coalition said.
The group also expressed confidence in Governor Shettima's capacity and style of handling the crisis and also commended the military for their efforts over the years in fighting insurgents in the State.
"We have been following these unfortunate events since 2009 when we had the first major crisis; we followed the isolated serial killings of targeted citizens from 2010 to 2012, the group attacks in early 2013 and the renewed violence and intensified attacks on communities,markets and schools in 2014. All these are most unfortunate and highly condemnable".
"We must also say however that in all of these happenings, we have monitored that from 2011 when the incumbent Governor of Borno State,Kashim Shettima came on board, the Government has lived up to its obligations of standing by citizens of the State, supporting those in distress and working actively and cordially with security agencies in the State to manage the unfortunate crisis. We watched on the NTA,Maiduguri and the BRTV and also read on the pages of Newspapers, when during a visit to Borno State last year, the then Chief of Army Staff, now retired Lieutenant General Azubuike Ihejirika, scored the Borno State Government very high in terms of cooperation and unflinching support to the military throughout the counter insurgency operations. We also watched on the Media when the then Director of Operations in the Defence Headquarters, Major General Lawrence Ngubane came to Borno in early 2013, he described the support of the State Government to the military as extraordinary and highly commendable. We also watched on television when the former commander of the 21 Armoured Brigade said in Marte that in Borno State, the Government treats the military as it treats the 27 local government areas. We are also here in Borno, we interact with leaders and intermediate leaders of security agencies in the State, they all tell us the level of commitment of the Government and the support they receive. Therefore, it is to our minds that the State Government acknowledges, appreciate and respects the efforts of the military. We call on the State Government to continue to support the Military and both should remain cooperative so that we can insha Allah reclaim peace in the State. We are highly confident in the capacity, passion and commitment of Governor Kashim Shettima towards the search for peace and management of situation. The Governor has been doing so much in his prompt visits and support for victims and reconstruction of their destroyed homes. We are also very confident in the readiness and patriotism of our soldiers. We remember that even Governor Shettima said last week at the State House that the Nigerian soldiers,police and all other security agencies are doing their best. We call on all those concerned to support the soldiers on ground with all the necessary military sophistication they need so that they can continually improve on their successes. We commend the Governor and the Military for facilitating the take off,management and sustainability of our patriotic and selfless youth volunteers popularly called the 'civilian JTF'. We appreciate the immeasurable sacrifice of these youths who have given their lives so we can be safe. May God pay them back in glad tidings" the group said.
The group congratulated President Jonathan and all citizens on Nigeria's 100th birthday and adding that they also commend the President for making the celebration's summit to focus entirely on human security, peace and development as well as unity of the Nation.
"We must also acknowledge the emphasis of last night's centenary events at the National Stadium in Abuja which was the unity and indivisibility of Nigeria. Especially at this time when there are misguided agitation of secession by some few unpatriotic elements, the emphasis of the celebrations on our unity is indeed very apt and commendable. Though we are all in pains due to the continued loss of lives in the Northeast geo-political zone, we must also acknowledge that we have as a nation,survived 100 years of mixed happenings and this should strengthen our fate in our determined nation and make us believe firmly that by the grace of God we shall overcome our current challenges and come out stronger. We are Nigerians and we strongly have fate in this country. No single individual or group is bigger or greater than Nigeria. We shall as the larger majority of peace loving Nigerians, defeat a few that seek to destroy us" the group said.