The Federal Government yesterday warned against what it called utterances capable of causing disaffection, apparently referring to General Muhammadu Buhari’s comments predicting a standoff in the event of rigged elections in 2015.
Buhari told a visiting Niger State CPC delegation on Monday that crisis could result from the next general elections because the people would no longer tolerate rigging.
Information Minister Labaran Maku, who spoke at the State House in Abuja yesterday after the Federal Executive Council meeting, said it was undemocratic to provoke people to violence. But he said the council did not discuss Buhari.
“In no major nations of the world will politicians or parties urge people to go and fight in polling stations or defend their votes or threaten violence because democracy is civility,” he said.
Maku added: “We all know the consequences of violence in politics. We all know the consequences of lives lost in pursuit of ambitions and the nation is going through a period now that is critical and it is important that all of us who are critical stakeholders in the Nigerian project should weigh whatever we say such that it would aid national unity, national development and will aid peace particularly now in Northern Nigeria.
“Any statement that is made not only by politicians all Nigerians have a duty to ensure greater peace, greater civility in our polity because civility is important. The difference between democracy and other forms of government is that democracy is civil.”
He said the law provided ways for aggrieved people to seek redress.
“We are seeing the consequences of lack of peace in our community. At this time it is not about the Federal Government, it is the responsibilities of all Nigerians particularly those that God has elevated to positions of responsibility in the polity,” he said.
CPC says Jonathan instigating CAN against Buhari
Buhari’s party, the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), yesterday fired back at the Presidency over its reaction to comments by the former head of state.
President Jonathan’s spokesman Reuben Abati on Tuesday condemned Buhari’s statement on 2015 and labelled him a section leader. He said also Buhari was wrong to have said the Federal Government is the biggest Boko Haram.
In a statement in Abuja yesterday, CPC spokesman Rotimi Fashakin said Jonathan is the most sectional-inclined leader as all his oil ministers so far are his Ijaw kinsmen.
He said also that Jonathan’s swift exoneration of MEND in the October 1, 2010 bombing was symptomatic of a sectional leader.
“Third, so far… Jonathan has shown very generous affinity for Nigerians of Ijaw stock in terms of appointments and promotions in the Federal Public sector. There is a marked lopsidedness that smacks of clannishness and ethnocentrism by the President,” he added.
“On corruption and sleazy tendency, the Jonathan administration transcends all others before it! Nigerians are still befuddled by the impeachable show of arbitrariness by the regime in expending N2.67 trillion on fuel subsidy instead of the appropriated N240 billion in the 2011 appropriation act.”
Fashakin said Buhari’s statement that the Federal Government is the biggest Boko Haram was referring to the tendencies of trying to provoke ethno-religious pogrom in the name of Boko Haram.
“We are also aware about how the Jonathan administration has consistently used the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) under the leadership of his fellow Niger-delta Nigerian, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, to demonize (Buhari) in the despicable attempt to veil the murderous intent of the administration,” he said.
ACN backs Buhari, flays Presidency
The Action Congress of Nigeria yesterday joined the fray, saying it was in support of Buhari’s statement that 2015 elections must be credible.
Spokesman for the party Lai Mohammed said in a statement that there was no justification for the “crude, vitriolic and impudent verbal attack (on Buhari) for no other reason than his timely warning against election rigging in 2015.”
“The statement for which Gen. Buhari is now being mercilessly savaged was nothing but a warning against those who may be planning to rig the 2015 general elections, hence should not have rankled anyone who believes in free, fair and transparent polls,” Mohammed said.
“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…. If the presidency and the PDP have no intention to rig in 2015, why are they so worried about the consequences of such action?”
Referring to what he called insults hurled on Buhari by Abati, Mohammed said Presidency statements must use “civilised and elevating language, rather than beer parlour and unguarded phrases…. The insults heaped on Gen. Buhari, a former Head of State, for merely exercising his right to freedom of speech is totally unacceptable and run against the tenets of decorum and mature political discourse.”