The All Progressives Congress (APC) has deplored President Goodluck Jonathanâ€™s remarks against the Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, during his media chat on Monday night, calling it unwarranted, unpresidential and petty.
APCâ€™s position over the presidentâ€™s comment came just as the former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in his reaction yesterday accused the federal government of chasing shadows rather than tackling the security menace squarely.
In a statement issued yesterday by APCâ€™s interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said Jonathan was wrong to have threatened, no matter how subtly, to withdraw from Borno the troops who are battling against Boko Haram insurgents, and urged him to apologise to the people of Borno and to all Nigerians for the presidential indiscretion.
It said the threat, which was in response to the statement credited to the governor, that the soldiers need to be better equipped and more motivated, showed clearly that President Jonathan does not have a full grasp of what is expected of him as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
The party said based on the anger exhibited by the president while commenting on Shettimaâ€™s statement, the party was justified in its call on the president not to go ahead with his reported plan to remove the governor and replace him with a military administrator.
â€˜â€™Mr. President, your most important duty as President is to ensure the welfare and security of all Nigerians, irrespective of the criticisms you may face or whether or not they voted for you. Therefore, you are not doing anyone a favour by performing that duty. It is the role you swore an oath to perform.
â€˜â€™Also, even if you feel that the governor should not have made the statement he made, it is incumbent upon you, as the president and the father of the nation, to take the higher road, instead of choosing a public forum to air your grievances. Wittingly or unwittingly, Mr. President, you have played into the hands of the insurgents who must now be gloating at the discordant tunes in government over the battle against them,â€™â€™ APC said.
Using the presidentâ€™s exact words to the Governor during his media chat, the party said: â€˜â€™A (president) should be mindful of what they say. Yes there are issues, but no matter how frustrated you are you donâ€™t make this kind of statement.â€™â€™
â€˜APC said President Jonathan should know that a leader cannot afford to be taking decisions on the basis of a perceived slight or criticism, because such decisions are most likely to be wrong and counter-productive.
According to the party, the president should use his enormous powers as president for the benefit of the people, not to their disadvantage.
â€˜â€™By his threat to pull out the troops from Borno for one month, he has further victimized the good people of the state, who have been at the receiving end of the senseless attacks by Boko Haram. A retraction of his threat and an apology to the people will be a good starting point for Mr. President to make amends,â€™â€™ APC said.
Meanwhile, students of higher institutions of learning in Borno State have called on President Jonathan to take a trip to the state in order to appreciate what the people of the state are facing in the hands of the Boko Haram insurgents.
The students under the auspices of National Union of Borno State Students (NUBOSS) claimed that the president would only know the extent of the loss of the people after a visit to the affected areas.
The students said the president would only understand the frustration of Governor Kashim Shettima â€œif he pays a visit to Bama, Gwoza, Konduga or any other part of the state where the insurgents have wreaked wanton havoc.â€
Addressing a press conference in Maiduguri, the National Chairman of NUBOSS. Comrade Isah Mohammed Biu said though the president has announced that there was no plan to replace the governor with a military administration, there wonâ€™t be such call in the first instance if Federal authorities had visited the affected parts of the state.