Governors Murtala Nyako and Ibrahim Gaidam have condemned the recent call for their replacement with military administrators as part of of measures to curb the security challenge of Boko Haram insurgency by prominent Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark and Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State.
The Ijaw leader had last week asked President Goodluck Jonathan to sack the Governors of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa, the three States at the epicentre of Boko Haram insurgency in furtherance of State of emergency declared to enhance military fight against the Islamists last November.
The state of emergency will lapse early May and there have been arguments whether it should be extended given its limited success in curbing the activities of the insurgent group.
Clark had in the statement he released last week not only asked for the extension of the state of emergency, but declaration of what he described as “full emergency rule”, that will lead to replacement of the democratically elected state governors with appointed administrators.
Governor Akpabio was reported to have also argued for replacement of the elected Governors with appointed administrators at a meeting President Goodluck Jonathan held with PDP Governors some two weeks ago.
However in their joint reaction to the call today, the Governors of Adamawa and Yobe, described the sentiments expressed by the Ijaw leader and the Akwa Ibom State Governor as a veiled attempt to sabotage the nation’s democracy.
They also accused the octogenarian of stoking tensions, division and disunity in the statement jointly signed by Abdullahi Bego, Special Adviser on Press Affairs to Yobe Governor and Ahmad Sajoh, Director of Press Affairs to Governor Nyako.
The Governors said rather than be hindrances, they have greatly contributed to the war against insurgency in their various states for which they deserved commendation.
While calling on Nigerians to disregard the statement which they said is capable of further causing disunity in the land, the governors reaffirmed their determination to continue to mobilise all available resources and to partner with all stakeholders to ensure the restoration of peace and security in the region and the nation in general.
The joint statement reads, œThe comments made by Chief Edwin Clark last Thursday on the security situation in the northeast have come to the notice of Excellences Governors Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe State and Admiral Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State.
“Chief Edwin Clark was quoted as calling on President Goodluck Jonathan to declare what he called ˜a total state of emergency™ in the three states of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa, suspend all democratic structures and appoint sole administrators to run the affairs of the states.
“Governor Godswill Akpabio, governor of Akwa Ibom state was also reported by sections of the media to have made similar comments.
œTheir Excellences Governors Gaidam and Nyako and indeed all right thinking Nigerians consider these comments as unthoughtful, provocative, diversionary, totally out of sync with democratic norms and values and unfortunate.
œThe phrase ˜sole administrator™, as noted by many commentators, is a ˜constitutional aberration which cannot be found, even impliedly, in any of the 320 sections of the 1999 Constitution™.
“Chief Clark™s comments (and indeed Governor Akpabio™s) therefore smack of fascism and are clearly a veiled attempt at sabotaging our nation™s democracy which should be resisted by all and sundry.
œCuriously, both Clark and Akpabio are beneficiaries of constitutionalism and democracy in Nigeria. It is therefore mind boggling that the two would seek to put both constitutionalism and democracy in jeopardy on the altar of their personal interests.
œChief Clark made a very serious analytical faux pas when he tried to liken the security situation in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa States with the situation in Ekiti state when an emergency rule was declared in that state during a previous administration. The situation between now and then could not be more different.
œAs a former senator, Clark would ordinarily be assumed to understand the meaning of the provisions of section 305 of the 1999 Constitution which gives the President the power to declare a state of emergency in all or parts of the country. One would also assume that Chief Clark would know that a state of emergency is also not exclusively applicable to security situations.
œThat Chief Clark would gladly and blindly ignore overriding legal opinion and historical contexts and suggest something that goes against the letter and spirit of our Constitution as a democratic nation go to show that not only is he not wishing Mr. President well; he in fact is bent on scuttling our democracy apparently in pursuit of totally parochial, ethnic and political agenda.
œFirst, Excellences the governors of the affected states were democratically elected as governors by millions of people in their respective states. Currently, they represent and are serving more than ten million.
œSecond, the security crisis in the three north-eastern states is widely seen and believed to be criminal and insurgent rather than religious or political. It has never led to a breakdown in governance in the three states or resulted in dangerous power struggle among politicians.
œThird, the governors have always responded by doing what needed to be done to protect the life and property of the people by supporting the security agencies on the ground morally, financially and logistically even though the ongoing state of emergency means that they do not have control over security operations.
œThey have also led a very serious effort at mobilising the populations of their states to support the ongoing security effort and to pray fervently to God in mosques and churches and homes. Military commanders and security chiefs on the ground in the states can testify to this.
œGiven that the maintenance and promotion of security is a collective responsibility, the governors deserve commendation for what they have done and continue to do rather than the kind of contempt and disrespect shown by people such as Chief Edwin Clark, who have no proper and reasonable understanding of the issues at stake.
œChief Clark also demonstrated crass ignorance and insensitivity to the plight of people in the northeast by suggesting that somehow the missing Chibok school girls would not have been kidnapped if Borno State was under a ˜total state of emergency™.
Is Chief Clark not aware that over the past 12 months, there was all manner of security presence in the three states when we witnessed some of the most heinous and despicable terrorist attacks on our schools in Mamudo, Buni Yadi and Gujba and on our towns and villages from Izge to Baga?
œClearly, Mr. Clark does not appear concerned about the difficulties that our people go through daily as a result of the prevailing security situation even as people in the three affected states have continued to demonstrate commendable levels of support and partnership with the security agents on the ground.
œExcellencies Governors Gaidam and Nyako therefore reject and condemn in their totality the anti-democratic sentiments expressed by Chief Edwin Clark. The governors call on Mr. Clark, now in his 80™s, to use his age and experience by contributing to the peace and unity of the nation rather than stoking tensions and being a voice for division and disunity.
œThe governors also call on Nigerians to discountenance Chief Clark™s unstatesmanlike and unfortunate comments and to continue to support the broad based effort aimed at addressing the security challenges currently facing the country.
œThe governors reaffirm their determination to continue to mobilise all available resources and to partner with all stakeholders to ensure the restoration of peace and security in the region and the nation in general,” they concluded in the statement.
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(Post From PM News)