[Leadership] President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday towed a different part from his National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Andrew Owoye Azazi, when he disagreed with him out-rightly on a statement credited to him in the media in which he blamed udemocratic practices in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the rise of insurgency by the Islamic extremist sect, Boko Haram in the country.
“I don’t believe that it is undemocratic practices in the PDP that could give rise to Boko Haram or any other groups. So probably, people need to ask NSA to explain what he really means. I have read it from the papers. I don’t believe it is undemocratic practices of the PDP that gave rise to this or any other militant groups” he stated.
Azazi, had at the second South-South summit in Asaba, Delta State capital, where insecurity was discussed hinted that “the extent of violence did not increase in Nigeria until when there was a declaration by the current president that he was going to contest”
But Jonathan said it was left for the NSA to explain what he meant when he declared that, while PDP got it wrong from the beginning by saying Mr. A can rule, Mr. A cannot rule, according to PDP’s convention, rules and regulations and not according to the constitution, the Zoning formula of the party created the climate for what has manifested itself in Boko haram.
Speaking when he paid a courtsey call to Thisday Newspaper office in Abuja to inspect the level of damage by last Thursday’s twin bomb attack at the papers offices in Abuja and another which affected it office in Kaduna as well as the SUN and the Moment Nespapers respectively, the president, however, noted that although he read the news in which some journalists quoted the National Security Adviser, he must read the script by himself “and listen to him (NSA)” before deciding whether Azazi said so or not.
He said, “One thing I do know, like philosophers will say that human beings disagree because people use different words to mean the same thing and use one word to mean different things. That is the primary reason for disagreement. That is why public officers like us are extremely careful because words are extremely elastic. So sometimes, you have something in your mind you want to communicate but the way you communicate it , different people will give different interpretations. That is why some human beings who don’t think are quarrelsome. When they hear something, they only understand it in one way. They don’t give the opportunity to look the other way.”
PDP, ACN, APGA, CPC etc, are abstract terms. They are not human beings. The focus should be on the human factor. There is a particilar set of human beings in the parties who promised Nigerians hell-holes if their selfish craves are not achieved. And that is the bottomline. The names of the parties can change tomorrow to anything. But the behaviours of those involved will still remain the same. Nigerians should skip this lazy, unnecessary scapegoating and focus on the person and not the party.
NIGERIAN TRIBUNE UPDATE:
PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday disagreed with the position of the National Security Adviser (NSA), General Andrew Azazi,
who had blamed the present security challenges in the country on the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), with the president maintaining that the PDP does not engage in anti- democratic practices.
President Jonathan, who spoke with journalists after inspecting the scene of bomb blast at Thisday newspaper premises in Jabi, Abuja, said the NSA’s statement may have been misinterpreted but added that Gen. Azazi needed to explain what he meant.
Speaking during the South-South Economic Summit in Asaba, Delta State, on Friday, the NSA had declared, “We do not need to politicise the security challenge on our hand. Most people are not always comfortable when I say in some quarters that the PDP is to be blamed for some of these problems. The PDP got it wrong from the beginning by claiming that its convention and rules state that this person can rule and this person cannot.”
However, President Jonathan noted that even though he had only read the NSA’s comment in the newspapers, he did not think that the security chief wanted to present the PDP as being anti-democratic.
“I don’t believe that the NSA meant that the practices in the PDP are anti-democractic. I cannot comment much on what happened in the First Republic, but in the Second Republic that I marginally participated, the aborted republic, and this Third Republic that I am a key actor, I still see that the PDP is one of the most democratic parties.
“So, I don’t believe that it is the undemocratic practices in the PDP that could give rise to Boko Haram or any other groups. So, probably, people need to ask the NSA to explain what he really meant. I have read it from the papers. I don’t believe it is undemocratic practices of the PDP that gave rise to this or any other militant groups,” he said.
According to President Jonathan, “One thing I do know, like philosophers will say, is that human beings disagree because people use different words to mean the same thing and use one word to mean different things.
“That is the primary reason for disagreement. That is why public officers like us are extremely careful because words are extremely elastic. So, sometimes, you have something in your mind you want to communicate but the way you communicate it, different people will give different interpretations,” the president said.
On the attack on Thisday newspaper and other media houses, the president observed that it was part of the design by terrorists to gain world’s attention, vowing that terrorist activities would however be conquered in the country.
He recalled that “from the beginning of these terrorists’ attacks on us as a nation, I have always maintained the position that terror attack on any part of the country is a terror attack on all of us and indeed the whole world. Terrorists’ method is to ensure maximum damage that the whole world will begin to look at their direction for relevance.
“You see that this is a media house, not a government establishment. Media help to inform all of us about what is happening and of course, the media is now also a victim.
“That is why we all, as Nigerians, no matter what we do or where we come from, we must all join hands in fighting this terror. I can assure you that we will get over it; other nations have passed through it.”
The president assured that in resolving the Boko Haram problem, government would adopt global best practices which he said would involve all means necessary including dialogue, but added that those who were against dialogue with the terrorist group were also right.
Speaking to journalists after the president’s visit, the publisher of Thisday, Mr. Nduka Obiagbena, said the attack would not deter the media from defending freedom of speech in line with the constitution, saying “what is not worth dying for is not worth living for. We will continue to defend freedom of speech in line with the constitution.”
On the number of casualties, Mr. Obiagbena, said one security guard who tried to stop the suicide bomber died along with three other persons who were working around the premises, while nine persons were still in the hospital undergoing treatment while three others had been discharged.
THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has dismissed the stance of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Andrew Azazi, on the current security challenges facing the country which he had attributed to the party, saying his position was a poor reflection of the internal workings of the PDP.
In a statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary of the Party, Chief Olisa Metuh, in Abuja Saturday, the PDP said that contrary to assertions by the NSA, the PDP has remained the strongest catalyst for the unity and progress of Nigeria.
It said equity, fairness and all inclusiveness have been the cardinal operative principles of the PDP since its formation, adding that the spread of all the offices in the party and the government were a firm demonstration that the PDP was a vehicle for Nigerians to realise their political ambitions irrespective of their tribe and religion.
The PDP argued: “We wish to state without any ambiguity that our great party remains the only political party in Nigeria that is not owned by any ethnic group, person or group of persons. All Nigerians are equal stakeholders.
“All our special National conventions for the election of our presidential standard-bearers since 1998 have seen candidates emerge on the strength of national unity, a common motif which envisages that every section of the country, majority or minority, can aspire to the highest political office in our fatherland via a well entrenched rotation and zoning principle in the constitution of our party.
“We wish to add that President Jonathan emerged with overwhelming votes of delegates from every state in the country, a feat that was again repeated in April 2011 general elections which of course, have been adjudged the best in our recent history.
“It is therefore a comment in grave error, a fatal diagnosis of facts for anyone to insinuate or directly assert that a section of the membership of the PDP or its foundation predisposes that only a certain section and not others will aspire to the highest office in the country.”
According to the statement, “without fear of contradiction, the PDP is one and truly united in its support for President Goodluck Jonathan who by carriage and personal example has remained the father of all.”
The PDP observed that the issue of insecurity predated the ascension of Jonathan to the office of the president of Nigeria saying “While through the military and civilian administrations hitherto, the nation witnessed eruptions of religious violence, the Boko Haram insurgency, which itself predated the tenure of the current president, is only different in sophistication which again is aligned to the sophistication in this ugly global trend of violence.”
The statement further said the PDP has been in the vanguard of the crusade against all forms of violence. “The PDP is the only political party that has been entrenching an unambiguous clause against violence in all its electoral guidelines and examples abound of our members who have been disqualified from participating in elections for attempting violence.”
- Boko Haram Promises More Attacks on Press Freedom: Opens up on Thisday attack (transformationwatch.com)
- Nigerian Journalists Undeterred by Bombings (transformationwatch.com)
- Azazi blames bombings on 2015 (transformationwatch.com)
- “Failures And Shameless Elders”: Junaid Mohammed Blasts IBB, Abdulsalami, As Confusion Hits 2015 PDP Agenda (transformationwatch.com)
- Boko Haram: Northern govs playing to the gallery – Sani (transformationwatch.wordpress.com)