Abuja — The Presidency has expressed worry over comments credited to the chairman of the Northern Governors Forum and Governor of Niger State, Dr. Babangida Muazu Aliyu, backing former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), over his comments in respect of 2015 election.
Buhari, who was the presidential candidate of the Congress for Progre-ssive Change (CPC) in the last election, had said there would be violence in 2015 if the perceived rigging of the 2011 elections repeated itself in 2015. He had said: "if what happened in 2011 should again happen in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon would all be soaked in blood."
President Goodluck Jonathan - speaking through his Special Adviser on Media, Dr. Reuben Abati - and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) both reacted to that statement, calling Buhari a "serial election-loser" and a man in the throes of "command withdrawal symptom," respectively.
The Northern States Governors' Forum after a one-day meeting in Kaduna on Thursday frowned on what it described as inflammatory statements "capable of destroying the nation's fragile unity and peace".
But Governor Aliyu in a question and answer session with journalists after the meeting of the governors said Buhari's reaction was the natural thing to do and urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure the 2015 elections were credible.
His comments were reported by some newspapers as representing the position of the Northern governors.
But THISDAY learnt that some senior officials in the Presidency and the office of the National Security Adviser were alarmed at the utterances of the Niger State governor and have demanded for a video recording of his address to the media.
According to a source who spoke to THISDAY, "we are worried that at a time when the entire nation is condemning what General Buhari said, a serving governor who is a member of the PDP is justifying the utterances calling for bloody revolution".
The source said: "On our part, what we are doing is to ensure that he was not quoted out of context and therefore, we have asked that copies of the video and audio recordings are sent to us," explaining that it was still doubtful that the chairman of the Northern Governors Forum will justify such comments that he said is capable of inciting the people.
"This measure is to avoid any blame game, because if you cross-check the communiqué of their meeting, then you will see where the governors were cautioning prominent Nigerians against inciting statements."
The source explained further, "if this type of comments are not clearly addressed, then, this will be like an added impetus to the likes of Buhari to incite people during and after election.
"All of us are living witnesses to the post-election violence that took place in some parts of the North after the presidential election and the violent loss of lives and property. We are indeed worried and not much would be done until when we get the video and audio tapes of the meeting."
He explained that the comments of the Niger State governor, which is presumed as the position of the Northern governors, should not be encouraged.
Aliyu said after the Northern Governors meeting: "Again, certain facts are understood; that if this happens, that would happen. I think it is a natural thing to do. May be those who may be too concerned (about what Gen. Buhari said) have not looked at what other eminent Nigerians have been talking about.
"I saw one that said Nigeria is going to be Somalianised. I saw another one who has been talking like there would be war tomorrow. So, for me, that statement should be taken on its own value. Do not go and do bad election. I think that is the thing I will take from there.
"All of us who are involved in elections - political parties, contestants and the voters themselves - must be careful so that whatever we do, the semblance of good will be there. But, again, like I said, certain people are in a position that certain vocabularies they use, they should be careful about. So, both ways let us take it on our own stride and ensure that future elections are seen to be transparent and are seen to be good."
Meanwhile, President Jonathan yesterday warned against playing politics with issues that concern the well being of Nigeria and charged that all hands should be on deck to build it into the desired nation rather than to abandon it for better climes.
He therefore charged the present crop of leaders to always put the development and progress of the country above every other consideration so as to change the country for the better.
Jonathan spoke at the funeral service of Mrs. Theresa Ekpeluchi Chime, mother of Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State at St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral Catholic Church, Udi, Enugu State.
Jonathan called for stock taking since independence to know how the country has fared and to take proper bearing saying, "all of us must assess our journey since independence and change the country rather than thinking of escaping abroad."
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, he stressed the need for the resuscitation of family values in emulation of Mrs. Chime whose motherly care bred his children to become useful members of the society.
The President extolled the late woman described the deceased as a woman who did not allow social pressure deprive her children parental care on account. Crowded schedule in their various endeavours and commended Nigerians to the virtues of love, care and kindness.
Chime in his speech canvassed more support for programmes of Jonathan who he expressed gratitude for his presence and prayed for God to grant him the wisdom and boldness to lead the country aright.
In his sermon, Reverend Nnamdi Nwankwo extolled the life of devoted service of the deceased who he said has taught the living how to live being a symbol of love, accountability and transparency all her days on earth.
Nwankwo regretted the level of corruption and infrastructural decay in the country but insisted that rather than the cries of division, what was needed was "conscientious reformation and not revolution."