This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Presidency - Boko Haram Is Battle for Soul of Nigeria, Struggle for Power

The presidency yesterday described the Boko Haram insurgency and other related violent activities as the battle for the soul of Nigeria and struggle for power, but promised that the federal government would come out victorious by the end of the day.

It also said that the federal government was on the verge of setting up a non-governmental organisation (NGO) between within the next two weeks to take care of the victims of the insurgency, their families.

It noted that Corporate Nigerians would be asked to donate to the NGO.

These were disclosed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, when he paid a condolence visit to the New Telegraph over the death of it Managing Editor, Suleiman Bisala, who died in the last week bomb blast in Abuja.

According to Okupe, "Boko Haram is all about the battle for the soul of Nigeria and struggle for power and God will always assist Nigeria. But Nigeria will win this battle and come out united and stronger. Nigeria will not cease to exist because of these insurgent activities of the Boko Haram.

"Rather, the federal government will hound the insurgents to the ground. By so bombing innocent Nigerians in and around the country, including Abuja, they are trying to intimidate the people and this will not work. Government will not rest and all those associated with it will certainly pay for it", Okupe said, while calling on Nigerians to rally round the government to end the Boko Haram insurgency.

Assuring Nigerians of the determination of the federal government to overcome, Okupe further said: "Nigeria will win this war on terror and Nigeria and Nigerians will prevail. The insurgency will not dampen the spirit of the federal government to protect Nigerians and the federal government will do what it takes to guarantee the lives of all Nigerians.

"From history, such insurgencies have not prevailed. It happened in Britain about 32 years ago, it happened in Malaysia, in Sri Lanka, but the good news is that it was defeated by the collective will of the people and Nigeria and Nigerians would not be different. The federal government will surely win this battle over this mindless insurgency", Okupe explained.

According to the president's aide who said that it is difficult to understand what the Boko Haram is all about, what it stands for or who they are, said that when it started, it was said to be Muslims fighting Christians, but "it is has turned out the sect is fighting everybody, both Christians, Muslims, children, adults, there is no age limit and Nigerians are worried by the continued cause of pains.

"The last week bomb blast affected recharge cards sellers, groundnut sellers and innocent Nigerians and over 95 percent of the victims are not politicians or have anything to do with politics. These insurgents are mindless and therefore, it is time we Nigerians unite and support the federal government to kick out these murderers," Okupe said.

In the vein, the Special Adviser to the President on Political Adviser Matters, Prof. Rufai Alkali, has advised Nigerians to defend and protect the nation's democracy against desperate politicians that are working to undermine democratic governance in the country.

Speaking when he granted audience with a select a journalists in Abuja in his office at the weekend, Alkali declared that President Goodluck Jonathan had transformed the electoral process to a level where every vote counts, urging Nigerians to build on the gains.

According to him, "Since the president has committed himself to provide a level-playing field, it is our own duty also to follow suit. So far PDP has been giving the lead and we have evidence to show that over the past three years or more every effort has been made to entrench a system of open accountability in the electoral system.

"You people are living witnesses on several occasions when Mr. President, during the 2011 elections and subsequently at every opportunity he had to speak and he has said two things on two different levels.

"One, he has said that as far as he was concerned any of his ambition is not worth the blood of any citizen in this country. He has said that repeatedly and when Mr. President speaks I believe he speaks from his heart.

"Secondly, the mantra we used in the previous election has been, as the President has called it himself, one man one vote, one woman one vote, one youth one vote."

"So we thought that the line has been drawn, that issues of violence should not be part of our democratic culture at all. Issue of do or die should not be part of our democratic culture again.

"So we are calling on all Nigerians to very mindful that as we are setting our attention now towards Osun state and subsequently other elections, people should be very care that they are not be used or misused by desperate politicians."

Alkali also called on the youths to be vigilant against some desperate politicians who would want to use them during election, saying those politicians never meant well for them.

"We want urge self-restraint especially among our youths."

He emphasised the President Jonathan had also made INEC independent and free from external influence and control as part of the electoral reform process.

"Today, you know it very clearly that Prof Attahiru Jega does not report to the president of this country. You all know it and you also know that there is not a single card-carrying member of PDP in INEC headquarters.

"You also know that all the other modalities for running elections, at least, so far government has given maximum support in terms of funding and other logistics.

"Therefore, this is an open invitation for people to also play their card properly. Politicians should put Nigeria first; we should put our country first.

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