The 19 northern governors on Thursday rose in defence of the Presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari.
Buhari’s party on Wednesday had described the Jonathan administration as the “most corrupt ever,” in response to the Presidency and the Peoples Democratic Party’s attacks on his person over a comment in which the retired General threatened bloodshed in 2015 if the government dared rig the elections.
The northern governors on Thursday said Buhari’s comment was in order, observing that many
more after the jump
eminent Nigerians had made worse comments.
Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, Babangida Aliyu, during a question-and-answer session with journalists after the Forum’s meeting in Kaduna, noted that Buhari had only sought to keep the Federal Government on its toes in order to ensure a free-and-fair election in 2015.
Aliyu is the governor of Niger State and a member of the PDP. Like Aliyu, the majority of the northern governors belong to the PDP.
The PDP had said that Buhari was bloodthirsty and suffering from “combat withdrawal syndrome.”
Aliyu, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, explained that what Buhari meant was that govenment should not ‘go and do bad election.’
He noted that Buhari’s statement was subject to different interpretation and cautioned eminent Nigerians against further inflammatory statements that could heat up the polity.
He said, “In a democratic system every individual has his ways and there are many of us whose ways of communication are quite different from others. Give the same statement to somebody, he may have used a different vocabulary.
“Again, certain facts are understood, that if this happens that would happen, I think it is a natural thing to do. Maybe those who may be too concerned have not looked at what other eminent Nigerians have been talking about.
“I saw one that said Nigeria is going to be Somalianised. I saw another one who has been talking like there would be war tomorrow. That statement should be taken on its own value.
“All of us who are involved in elections – political parties, contestants and voters themselves – we must all be careful so that there would be a semblance of good in whatever we do. But, again, like I said, certain people are so much in that position, they should be careful with certain vocabularies they use. So, both ways let’s take it on our own strides and ensure that future elections are seemed to be transparent and are seemed to be good.”
Buhari had made his now controversial comment while hosting members of the CPC from Niger State who had paid him a courtesy visit in Kaduna.
“God willing, by 2015, something will happen. They either conduct a free and fair election or they go a very disgraceful way. If what happened in 2011 (alleged rigging) should again happen in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon would all be soaked in blood,’’ he reportedly told his party men.
The Presidency had issued a quick response via a statement by Jonathan’s spokesman, Reuben Abati, saying Buhari’s statement was saddening and not worthy of a statesman.
The PDP, in an earlier reaction, had lambasted Buhari and asked the Federal Government to engage him in order to cure him of what the party said was “combat withdrawal syndrome” haunting the ex-head of state.
“If the retired general was suffering from combat withdrawal syndrome, then the Federal Government should allow him to lead the ECOWAS military contingent to Mali or Guinea Bissau to enable him an opportunity to exorcise the bloodletting demons apparently haunting him,” publicity secretary of the PDP, Olisa Metuh, said at press briefing in Abuja on Tuesday.
However, the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria had also on Wednesday lent its support to Buhari’s warning.
‘’We hold no brief for anyone. But it is true that if elections are rigged, as they have been so shamelessly and brazenly done by the PDP since 1999, naturally people will react, and in doing so it is impossible for anyone to predict how far things can go,” the party said in a statement by its spokesman, Lai Mohammed.
In a communiqué by the northern governors on Thursday, they noted the worsening state of security in their region and resolved to intensify efforts at finding lasting solutions to the problem by reaching out to all stakeholders.
The communiqué reads in part, “The alarming state of insecurity in the Northern states was discussed, thereafter, the Forum resolved as follows:
“We shall intensify efforts to find lasting solutions to the problem by reaching out to all stakeholders.
“The Forum cautioned eminent Nigerians against making inflammatory statement capable of affecting our fragile unity and security. We must be concerned with unity and development of the country in all ramifications.”
Meanwhile, the South-East chapter of the PDP on Thursday cautioned Buhari and described his contentious statement as “incendiary and bereft of patriotic intent.”
The PDP’s national vice-chairman in the zone, Col. Austin Akobundu (retd.), in a statement, applauded the prompt reaction of the Presidency and PDP to Buhari’s “outbursts.”
“The lamentable and wanton killing of South-Easterners, the shedding of the blood of our promising graduates on National Youth Service, soon after a similar speech by the CPC Presidential candidate after he lost the 2011 elections, informed the urgency of our speaking out now,” Akobundu said.