Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: 2015 - ACN Slams Jonathan's Aide Over Threat of Violence

Reactions from the political arena have continued to trail the statement credited to the Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta and Chairman, presidential amnesty programme, Mr Kingsely Kuku, calling on the U.S. and the International community to support the President in 2015. He gave this as a condition for peace in the Niger Delta region and Nigeria as a country.

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) on Saturday decried the statement, noting that it was most unfortunate and sad.

The party's National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Muhammed while speaking to our reporter on phone queried the capacity in which the Special Adviser to make the statement, saying if he had spoken in his capacity as special adviser to the president it was very sad because he should be speaking in his capacity for the Federal Republic of Nigeria, not for a section of the country.

The ACN spokesperson said "If he was talking as a politician I can understand. It would be his right to say oh, Jonathan must be re-elected and whatever reasons he wants to ascribe for it is welcome. But we are running a democracy and the people of Nigeria will decide, come 2015 who is going to be their president. No amount of threat can take away from people of Nigeria their constitutional right to choose leaders of their choice."

Speaking in same vein, a former deputy governor in Kebbi State, Alhaji Suleiman Muhammed Argungu described the statement as baseless. He argued that in the first instance it's not Jonathan who granted amnesty to the militants in the Niger Delta, it was late President Umar Yar'adua.

"So if he is talking about peace in the region it was Yar'adua who brought peace there through his amnesty programme. He should also not forget that Nigeria is a democratic country and PDP, which the president belongs to is not the only party in Nigeria. Of recent, the opposition parties have merged into one political party, nobody is sure that PDP will remain in power in 2015.

He said it was most unfortunate for a special adviser to the president of the federal republic of Nigeria to have made such statement that is capable of provoking the nation's relative peace. "Nobody or a section of the country can threaten the others into making anybody president in 2015, I think he needs to be reminded about this." The former deputy governor said. Mr Kuku had on Thursday at session with officials of U.S. State Department in Washington urged the American government not to be distracted by the activities of the terror cells in parts of the northern Nigeria to take its attention off the Niger Delta.

He warned that except the president gets a second term there would be no peace in the Niger Delta because only a Jonathan presidency can guarantee peace in the region hence the compelling need to persuade him to seek a re-election in 2015.

According to him "Terrorism is a global phenomenon. President Jonathan inherited the situation in northern Nigeria and he has adopted a multifaceted approach to tackle this unfortunate situation and profound results are being achieved. But I insist that this must not distract the U.S. and international community from giving the Niger Delta region the requisite attention.

"However, if we allow anything to hurt the peace in Niger Delta, Nigeria's economy will be endangered and energy, security in Nigeria even America will not be guaranteed. The attention and interest of U.S. in Nigeria must remain in the stability of Niger Delta and the easiest way to do this is to encourage President Jonathan to complete an eight year term." Also reacting to this statement, a former governorship candidate of the National Democratic Party (NDP) in Kebbi State, Alhaji Salihu Isa Nataro said the statement was not only reckless but capable of further undermining the fragile peace in the country. He said it was wrong of the president's aide to think that only when Jonathan is re-elected that peace can reign in the Niger Delta region.

"But will his stay in power as well guarantee peace in other parts of Nigeria? I think people like him should be mindful of their utterances. In his capacity, he should know that Nigerians cannot be compelled by any section of the country to choose a particular person as their leader.

"If the constitution permits him to run for the presidency in 2015 and Nigerians feels that he has performed and decided that he should be given another chance fine. But Nigerians cannot be threatened to either vote for Jonathan or expect violence as Mr. Kuku is advocating. I think he should know that no particular section of this country has monopoly of violence and at advantage in terms of natural and human resources than the other sections," he said.

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