Barely three days after his reply to former president Olusegun Obasanjo's letter to him, President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday fired yet another 'shot'.
In apparent reference to Obasanjo inferring that Nigeria does not belong to him alone, President Jonathan said the nation does not belong to politicians, but to the common man and woman.
Obasanjo's letter to Jonathan on December 2, 2013, as well the latter's reply raised very weighty issues regarding national security.
The former president is reportedly being investigated over some of the allegations made in his letter to the president.
According to Jonathan, politicians who think they own the country make unguarded statements and write letters they are not supposed to write.
Jonathan, who stated this when he attended a Christmas service at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Life Camp, Abuja, also declared that Nigeria was not the property of any politicians.
He said, "For us at this time, especially we the politicians who think we own this country, we'll begin to think about our next election and doing what we ought not to do, making statements we are supposed not to make and writing letters we are not supposed to write.
"I call on the clergymen and statesmen who really own this country, because this country belongs to our statesmen, the traditional rulers, our religious leaders and men and women and youths.
Nigeria doesn't belong to any politician or group of politicians. So, we will continue to urge you to continue to pray for this country."
Jonathan noted that the security situation in the country would have been worse if terrorists' activities had not been effectively contained, even as he added that after the bombing of the force headquarters in Abuja, the next target would have been the Aso Rock Presidential Villa.
"The primate mentioned a number of issues that deal with a number of nations that deal with crises. For those who know about terrorism, countries that are infested with terror hardly get out of it.
If you look at Pakistan, we even go there to train our soldiers. In some parts of Pakistan, as we are even talking now, there appears to be no government. So, this country could have been worse.
"Look at the incidents in Abuja; even the police headquarters was bombed and the UN building right here in the seat of government. Maybe the next target would have been State House.
So we have to thank God that we have been able to bring it to a reasonable level," he said.
Admitting that there were still security challenges in the country, the president said, "Though we are far from getting through, as there are a lot of challenges, but we have to thank God.
The primate said if it were to be like Syria; look at South Sudan too. They were part of Sudan and they felt that they were being dominated.
They have resources; there is oil in parts of South Sudan. They carried arms against the state. Finally the whole world through the UN liberated them."
Hinting that he would be attending the Security Council meeting of the African Union (AU), he said, "In fact, within this week, we will be going for a Security Council meeting under the AU.
My envoy just came back on Sunday, from where he had a conversation with them; how do we stop this madness? So, we have to thank God, even though we still have these security challenges in our country. At least, we are reasonably better.
"In terms of Nigeria, if we have crises, the primate was mentioning whether Ghana or Sierra Leone can accommodate us. Even now, Nigerians in these countries, the people who own the countries are not even comfortable with the number. From Cameroon to Senegal, Nigerians are everywhere. If not for political and diplomatic reasons, they would have even asked some of them to go.
Then assuming we have a crisis, what will be your state? Where will you go? Is it the Atlantic Ocean?
"So, I urge you to continue to pray.
I also thank the religious leaders of this country. They have been praying and I believe God has been hearing our prayers. We will do our best within the period that God has asked us to occupy the positions we are occupying."
Obasanjo's Letter To Jonathan: Al-Mustapha Reacts
Former chief security officer of the late Gen. Sani Abacha, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha has reacted to the postulation by former president Olusegun Obasanjo in his open letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, that he (Al-Mustapha) was released from prison to help the president train assassins to eliminate opposition politicians.
Al-Mustapha expressed his views while speaking with the Hausa Service of the Voice of America (VOA) yesterday in Abuja. He challenged the ex-president to a public debate on the allegation he raised that Jonathan might be training snipers.
Al-Mustapha said he was away in India receiving treatment for injuries he sustained while in detention, during the administrations of Abdulsalami Abubakar and Obasanjo, when he heard of the allegations.
"I read Obasanjo's letter and subsequent comments by Nigerians. I would have responded immediately, but I was away in India receiving treatment," he said.
He also said that although his name was not mentioned in the letter, he was sure the former president was referring to him.
"If he has anything to say on me, he should mention me directly or even challenge me and not make allusions," Al-Mustapha said.
The former presidential security chief challenged Mr Obasanjo to publicly ask him anything, saying he would provide him with answers. Al-Mustapha swore that the allegation that he was being used by President. Jonathan to train assassins was false.
"Perhaps it is Obasanjo and his cronies that are planning what he was insinuating," he added
Al-Mustapha said he had decided to forgive all those who had a hand in his incarceration while he was being tried for the murder of Kudirat Abiola, wife of the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief M.K.O Abiola.
He was initially convicted for the murder by a Lagos High Court, but was discharged and acquitted by the Court of Appeal.
He, however, added that such people, including former president Obasanjo failed to accept that fact and still harboured fears about him and what he knows about them.
"I urge everyone to pray for Obasanjo to accept my challenge to a public debate so that the truth will come out," he said.
Al-Mustapha said he was focused on helping Nigeria find its rhythm by uniting the people, especially the youth and the poor.
"From 1974 to the present, a lot of things have been buried with all sorts of lies, but all will be revealed one day," Al-Mustapha said.