Four presidential aspirants of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) today warned that Nigeria’s constitutional democracy is being threatened by the behavior of President Goodluck Jonathan.

In a joint press statement, former dictator Ibrahim Babangida, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, former National Security Adviser Aliyu Gusau, and Governor Busola Saraki of Kwara State, expressed concern and alarm that Jonathan, rather than face the security lapses that led to the Abuja bombings on October 1, “has thus far displayed a high degree of lack of co-ordination, coherence and maturity going by the statements credited to its top officials.”

Drawing attention to yesterday’s arrest of Raymond Dokpesi, Babangida’s Campaign Director, as well as the statement made in South Africa by arrested former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, Mr. Henry Okah that he had been contacted by a Jonathan aide to issue a statement favourable to it, the four men warned: “Our laws have no provision for fascism or a Gestapo-style, crude violation of rights and freedom of political opponents, in the same way that the nation cannot be governed via curious, hasty, disconnected and disorganized policy   statement and incoherent actions.”

Full text of the press statement:

TEXT OF A JOINT PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED BY THE GEN IBRAHIM BABANGIDA, ATIKU ABUBAKAR, GEN ALIYU GUSAU  AND GOV. ABUBAKAR BUKOLA SARAKI’S PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN ORGANIZATIONS IN ABUJA ON TUESDAY, 5TH OCTOBER, 2010.

 

1.    Our Campaign Organizations wish to collectively reiterate our individual condemnations of the Bomb blasts that marred the celebration of Nigeria’s 50th Independence Anniversary and which claimed many lives as well as inflicting various degrees of injuries on scores more. We join millions of Nigerians in condemning this bloody and unpatriotic act which the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) has wholly claimed responsibility for.

2.    We are also concerned and alarmed that rather than face squarely the security lapses that led to this bloody event, and map out credible strategies of forestalling future occurrences, the Federal Government has thus far displayed a high degree of lack of co-ordination, coherence and maturity going by the statements credited to its top officials. We alert the nation, in this regard to the apparent contradictions in the statements credited to President Goodluck Jonathan, the Director-General of the SSS, the Police High Command and the Minister of Police Affairs.

3.    However, more alarming is the sheer politics the government is playing with the security and lives of Nigerians, and the rush to judgment which is capable of further compromising our national Security. The government is operating under the shadow of its self-inflicted siege mentality, and to assure the nation and the international community that it is in charge and on top of the situation, has begun to unleash a culture of intimidation, harassment and fear against leading political opponents as a means of silencing their voices and ensuring its success in the 2011 Presidential election.

4.    On Monday, 4th October,2010, High Chief Dr Raymond Dokpesi, the Director-General of the Ibrahim Babangida Campaign Organization was arrested, detained and subsequently released on matters purportedly connected to the 1st October bomb blasts. We recall that on 1st September, 2010, Dr. Dokpesi had in a major press conference, raised alarm that attempts will not only be made on his life, but that efforts are on-going to damage his reputation, creditability and business.  This latest attempt to demonize Dr. Dokpesi and cast him in the mould of a terrorist is a but a small part of an escalating culture of impunity, recklessness, intolerance and arbitrariness with which the Federal Government is currently associated with. And it reminds us of the 2007 election season when the then Director-General of the Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign Organization, Dr Iyorchia Ayu was accused of Terrorism and forced into self-exile to avoid a very cogent threat of extra-judicial liquidation.

5.    It is apparent that the present bellicose posture of the government stems from a deep sense of desperation, which has already been given eloquence testimony by the curious exoneration of MEND as the authors of the bomb blasts by President Jonathan. MEND not only issued a widely circulated warning about the bloody act, it wanted to unleash but had gone on to accept full responsibility for it. While MEND has not disowned its culpability in the said bloody act President Jonathan has not only appointed himself the group’s Chief Spokesperson, but had gone on to give the green light to the security agents to hunt down his perceived political opponents and rope them into the planning and execution of the bomb blasts.

6.    We also note a more dangerous dimension to the unfolding bomb blasts phenomenon. In an Aljeazera TV interview on Tuesday, 5th October, 2010, the acclaimed MEND Leader, Henry Okah, declared that he was contacted by ranking presidential aides to refute the statement that MEND was behind the bomb blasts; that he and MEND should declare that Northern political figures were behind the blasts, as a way of damaging their presidential aspiration and making it easy for president Jonathan to win the 2011 Presidential election; that President Jonathan’s hasty exoneration of MEND from the bomb blasts stemmed from the expectation that he would play along; and that when it became obvious that he will not play the script allotted to him, he was subsequently arrested and arraigned on terrorism related charges. Henry Okah’s accusations are weighty and sobering and, if true, must require an Independent Judicial Investigation. We thus alert the ECOWAS, AU and the UN to the dangerous political and security situation in Nigeria; a situation that is capable of compromising its national integrity, if not well handled.

 

 

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