President Goodluck Jonathan today indicted governors from Nigeria’s North-Eastern states of inaction in the face of growing attacks by Boko Haram, an extremist Islamist group. Mr. Jonathan added that he should not be blamed for the insecurity ravaging the geo-political zone.
Mr. Jonathan made the comments during a political rally held in Bauchi, the capital of Bauchi State which is part of Nigeria’s violence-plagued Northeast zone. He said it was ironic that the governors from the zone could complain of lack of leadership at the national level when they had refused to provide leadership at the various state levels.
Mr. Jonathan’s comments came in the wake of a controversy generated at a meeting in Washington, DC between US security officials and governors from the zone. At the DC meeting, anchored by National Security Adviser Susan Rice, some of the governors accused officials of Mr. Jonathan’s administration of encouraging the continuation of Boko Haram’s terrorist activities, adding that the administration’s aim is to ensure that the people of the region do not participate in the 2015 general elections. President Jonathan’s remarks were seen as a push back to the governors’ allegation about the continued killings by members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect in the zone. He added that, as a former deputy governor and later governor of Bayelsa State, he was aware that governors are “semi autonomous,” implying that each governor should lead the fight against religious terrorism in his own state. Mr. Jonathan promised to expose some of the delinquent governors at the right time.
“The Federal Government is not in charge of primary and secondary schools,” said the president. He then added: “Yet, these boys carrying expensive guns and bullets wear clothes that [don’t cost] more than N10. Where do they get money to buy those guns?”
Continuing, Mr. Jonathan stated, “These are boys who have never been to schools. The Federal Government is not in charge of primary and secondary schools, yet these governors complain of lack of leadership. Leadership at what level?”
President Jonathan had declared a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States in a bid to stem murderous attacks by Boko Haram. The three states are controlled by the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).
Mr. Jonathan predicted that the three states would fall to the ruling PDP in the 2015 elections.