The All Progressives Congress on Sunday asked President Goodluck Jonathan to stop blaming Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State for the abduction of over 200 girls from the Government Secondary School, Chibok on April 14.
Speaking during a news conference in Lagos, the Interim National Chairman of the APC, Chief Bisi Akande, said Jonathan must take full responsibility for the safety of lives and property in the country, especially in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, where there is an emergency rule.
But the Peoples Democratic Party berated APC chiefs , saying they were still playing politics with the nation’s security problems when other Nigerians had displayed a great “show of solidarity” in support of efforts to rescue the schoolgirls.
Akande however said the Jonathan administration had been found wanting in its handling of the abduction saga and the continued killings and maiming of Nigerians by Boko Haram insurgents.
He said, “Today(Sunday), we call on President Jonathan to earn his epaulette as the Commander-in-Chief and stop passing the buck. We remind him that as the Chief Security Officer of the nation, he cannot and must not pass the buck.
“We remind him that having imposed emergency rule on Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, he has assumed full responsibility for the security of lives and property in those states, and that it is disingenuous of him to point accusing fingers at the governors of those states, who cannot even move around their states freely without clearance.
“Even without the Boko Haram crisis, the nation ran itself as if on auto-pilot. The Jonathan administration did little and depended on the ingenuity of the Nigerian people to fend for themselves and cover up governmental shortcomings.
“However, a crisis has come which no amount of private ingenuity can resolve. Only government can answer this call. The time has come for strategy and action. The time has come but government has been found sorely wanting.”
According to the APC Interim National chairman, Nigeria has degenerated to the level of suffering more violence and destruction than countries that are formally at war.
He said the nation was in dire need of a bold, coherent, sincere and focused leadership.
Akande condemned Jonathan for making his first official response to the abduction of the girls 19 days after it occurred.
He said his administration was in denial, believing the girls were not kidnapped and that the whole abduction story was choreographed to embarrass him and dim his chances for re-election in 2015.
Akande also condemned the President’s wife, Patience for summoning and interrogating state officials.
Describing her actions as unconstitutional, he said it was unfortunate that the PDP kept quiet, while the world showed concern for the abducted girls.
He also renewed APC’s call on the National Assembly to probe how the huge allocations for security in the recent years had been spent, and find out whether soldiers were properly equipped.
Akande presented the party’s suggestions on how insurgency in the country could be halted.
The APC, according to him, wants the Federal Government to develop and publish a counter-terrorism strategy; build a new intelligence gathering infrastructure; improve intelligence and contingency planning; and pursue and align military with political (negotiated) solutions.
Others are a de-radicalisation of the North; regionalising response to insurgency; employing effective information management and strategic communication, an economic development plan for the North; and involvement of civilian peace-building organisations.
But the PDP, in a statement on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, condemned some APC members for “seeking political capital out of the pains of the missing schoolgirls.”
It said, “ It is troubling that at a time when all people of goodwill and good sense now speak unequivocally against terrorism in our land, some in the APC still persists in seeking political capital out of the pains of the missing schoolgirls or other incidents of terrorism.
“This is not only shameful but disgusting, disgraceful and distasteful. It is this gloating that has made many doubt the sincerity of the APC in the fight against terrorism in our country.”
The PDP added that its members believed that the interest of the nation was more paramount and that the welfare of Nigerians remained non-negotiable.
“Nigeria is bigger than any person or group of persons. We shall therefore not relent but continue to guard our unity and ensure that our determination to live in peace as one people under God is not undermined in anyway whatsoever,” it added.
The PDP however saluted Nigerians for what it termed their exceptional show of solidarity in support of efforts to ensure the rescue of the abducted girls.
It said the cry of Nigerians over the past few weeks had inspired a global response that would help to number the days of the terrorists.
According to the ruling party, Nigerians have not only demonstrated “our oneness but also our boldness and determination to surge forward as a people to rescue our land from those who aim to cow us and impose a reign of terror on our nation.”
The statement reads in part, “It is clear that once we continue to show such unity and solidarity in all our affairs, our nation will emerge stronger and ultimately take its rightful place among the comity of nations.
“We note with joy, the change of attitude on the part of some opposition leaders whose recent statements indicate that they have realised the harm their past posture and utterances caused the nation.”