President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday promised that the nation’s security forces would completely wipe out members of the extremist Boko Haram sect from Adamawa and Yobe states before the date for the rescheduled general elections.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has now fixed March 28 and April 11 as dates for the elections.
The president also promised that in the case of Borno State, which has been worse hit by the insurgency, at least 70 per cent of the state would be reclaimed before the elections.
Jonathan made the promise during a cocktail he organised for members of the diplomatic corps at the forecourt of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to him, the security forces would carry out the operation in order to ensure that elections hold in the three affected states.
He said, “This period will give them (security forces) the opportunity to clean up the three states. If at all they cannot clean up the three states, at least two states will be recovered completely and more local governments even from the remaining state so that elections could be conducted even in Borno State.
“Even if we don’t take over all the territories in Borno State, definitely in Adamawa and Yobe states we will take over completely and even Borno State, the headquarters of Boko Haram, even if we don’t take over completely at least 70 per cent of that state will be free for elections to be conducted.
“This is because democracy can only be meaningful if people are allowed to select who rules them”.
President Jonathan boasted that his administration would defeat insurgency the same way it defeated the deadly Ebola Virus Disease.
He said the whole world would see his administration’s achievement in that area very soon.
The president explained that his administration recognised the real threats terrorism posed to the nation’s development and national security, adding that insurgency had become the biggest manifestation of terrorism not only in Nigeria but also in the region.
He also said activities of the sect had further shown that no single country could effectively tackle terrorism and insurgency by itself.
Jonathan stressed why the Federal Government was collaborating with its neighbours, sub-regional allies and other partners beyond the region to deal with what he described as mortal challenge to Nigeria’s security and development.
“We are already beginning to turn the trend. Let me reassure you very clearly that we will surely win the war against Boko Haram. We are moving faster now, in the next few weeks, the whole world will know that we are totally committed and that we are in a position to save our people”, he added.
On the polls shift, the president told members of the diplomatic corps that it was a decision taken in the best interest of the country.