President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, took exception to the threats issued by candidate of the Northern Political Leaders Forum, Atiku Abubakar, and that of former military President Ibrahim Babangida that there may be violence if the zoning arrangement agreed by the PDP was breached in the 2011 elections.
He warned that his government will no longer accept such reckless and rubbish statements from anybody no matter how highly placed.
Jonathan who spoke at the decoration of 22 Navy and Airforce Rear Admirals and Air Vice Marshals with their new ranks at the Command Officers Mess, said: “Sometimes I frown when some statements are being made by some of our citizens, especially the politicians making statements challenging the sovereignty of this nation.
“Government will no longer take that type of reckless and rubbish statements lightly because when there is crisis, we lose officers of the armed forces, we lose police officers and we lose civilians. Some of them will fly to the United States and Europe to stay and our children will die, our women will suffer and they come back to be our leaders. We will no longer accept that kind of culture.”
Reiterating that government will not allow anybody to take the country for a ride, Jonathan said: “The sovereignty of Nigeria can never be challenged by anybody. I won’t say more than that.”
Advocacy of violence
He gave the warning even as the Goodluck/Sambo Campaign organization said it was unfortunate for some one aspiring to be President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who was former vice-president and whose democratic and nationalist credentials were once touted, could descend to the level of advocating violence in a democracy.
A statement entitled ‘Politics of Desperation’, signed by Mr. Sully Abu, Director of Media and Publicity of the Campaign Organization stated: “Studiously ignored by the Nigerian people including the blocs they claim to represent, elements of the opposition to the legitimate political aspirations of President Goodluck Jonathan are upping the ante and threatening violence.
“Yesterday, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the so_called consensus candidate chosen by the gang_up of some of the aspirants, spoke of violent change if peaceful change failed. Franz Fanon, who was quoted, must be writhing in his grave. But his quote was turned on its head.
“Fanon was concerned with changing the old order, not perpetuating it. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his fellow travellers on the other hand are actually saying that if they fail in their bid to perpetuate the social and political status quo, then violence would result.
“This position is unfortunate for anyone who aspires to be President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who was former vice_president and whose democratic and nationalist credentials were once touted. The gathering, at which the pronouncements were made, the nebulously named National Stakeholders Conference, was only an extension of the gang_up of a few elements to present a so_called consensus candidate.
“Obviously, that arrangement, they now see, is doomed to failure and all round defeat stares them in the face. Otherwise, were they democrats, would they not allow their chosen candidate to face President Jonathan squarely at the PDP primaries?
“Instead, they seek to contrive a crisis even in the political party they claim allegiance to, and a party which is successfully resolving its challenges including holding two successful NEC meetings.
“Nigerians are not deceived. The annullers of elections and the motley crowd who made up the latest gathering represent none but themselves and in their desperation may go about renting crowds and urchins to stir up unnecessary dust in sponsored demonstrations. But this would not take them anywhere.
Improvement of living standards
“The preoccupation of Nigerians today is with their material conditions and the improvement of their living standards and this President Goodluck Jonathan is irrevocably committed to do. We are sure Nigerians across the country will resist the incitement of fat cats and other pampered elements who may seek to disturb the peace of the land.
“The security forces, we are sure, are alive to their responsibilities and would not countenance any breach of the peace and the antics of those who want to imperil our hard-won democracy”.
Among officers decorated at the occasion for the Navy are Rear Admiral Joe Aikhomu, Rear Admiral Austin Oyagha, Rear Admiral AOA Ikioda, Rear Admiral Johnson Olutoyin, Rear Admiral (Mrs.) Hotonu, Rear Admiral JN Amaino, Rear Admiral Gabriel Okoi, Rear Admiral Olufemi Ogunjimi, Rear Admiral Ibok Ibas, Rear Admiral Bala Mshelia, Rear Admiral James Akinwale.
For the Airforce, they are Air Vice Marshal Akinola Ogunaike, Air Vice Marshal Isiaku Umar, Air Vice Marshal Aminu Adamu, Air Vice Marshal Monday Morgan, Air Vice Marshal Christian Chukwu, Air Vice Marshal OA Idowu, Air Vice Marshal Abdullahi Shehu, Air Vice Marshal AA Iya, Air Vice Marshal Sadiq Abubakar and Air Vice Marshal IA Balogun.
Also yesterday, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Mohammed Dikko Umar, decorated 36 Air Commodores with their new ranks including Air Commodore JB Adigun, Air Commodore G Truman, Air Commodore BM Maiyafe, Air Commodore Emeka Ozoemena, Air Commodore SA Zakari, Air Commodore AO Ogunjobi and Air Commodore GM Ilyasu.
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