The President is fending off calls for his resignation over the grim insecurity in the land.
The latest of such call came from the Northern chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), which criticised what it called Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s poor handling of the security challenges.
But, to the Presidency, the call is uncalled for and misguided.
It, however, sympathises with Christians for the loss of lives to Boko Haram insurgency.
CAN faulted the President’s handling of the security challenges, insisting that he has failed Nigerians and, therefore, should resign.
It argued that it had become very clear that President Jonathan was no longer capable of handling the dangers posed by the Boko Haram (Western education is sin) insurgency.
In a statement signed by its Public Relations Officer, Mr. Sunday Oibe, CAN in the 19 northern states said it was regrettable that the Boko Haram continued to thrive and got away with its murderous activities because of the support from the President.
There is no sign that Jonathan will throw in the towel. His Senior Special Assistant on Public Matters, Dr. Doyin Okupe, said yesterday that though the call by the Northern CAN “is misguided, government is compelled to sympathise with the Christian Community in the North who have suffered incessant attacks and bloodshed.”
“The call by Northern CAN for the President to resign is however misguided,” Okupe said.
He stressed that the security challenges, especially in the North, was being handled with total devotion and commitment by the security agencies.
Okupe said: “Since this menace started about a year ago, the unwavering support and commitment of President Jonathan through massive deployment of resources, acquisition of hi-tech security equipment and other infrastructure have been seriously overhauled and enhanced.
“It is a fact that 60 per cent of the programmed attacks of the Boko Haram are frustrated or stopped, even before they happen,” he stressed.
Okupe, therefore, appealed for understanding from the Christian community.
He did not specify what the President was doing about the challenges, but he went on to say Boko Haram has become very sophisticated, with its classifications into a religious, criminal and political dimensions.
Okupe also re-echoed the government’s assurance that the security challenges would soon be over, noting that it took the British government more than 28 years to contain the Irish Revolutionary Army (IRA).
The Sri-Lanka Tamil Rebels were subdued in 27 years and the Oman insurgency in Morocco was contained in more than 16 years, Okupe said.
Noting that Nigerian Armed Forces have the capacity to contain all insurgent attacks within days, Okupe stressed that such an action would be expensive at a great collateral damage to the civilian populace, hence the need for patience.
In Kaduna, a former Secretary of the Kaduna State CAN, Rev. Joseph Hayab, cautioned religious leaders against overheating the polity by calling for the President’s resignation.
The Northern CAN had in a statement by its spokesman expressed shock and disbelief over the President’s statement, asking him to resign his position because he has “failed us Christians; he has failed Nigerians and he should resign as president because, by this statement, it is very clear that he is not capable of handling the danger posed by the Boko Haram insurgency”.
“So, the President is not bothered about the killing of Christians and other Nigerians! Is it because Christians are not members of this family he is talking about? So the security agents who are being killed by the Boko Haram are not members of this family?”
Hayab, who is the Special Adviser to Kaduna State Governor on Religious Matters warned that the call for President Jonathan to resign was capable of inciting northern Christians against the Jonathan administration.
In a statement entitled “Religious leaders overheating Nigerian polity”, Hayab lashed out at renowned Islamic scholar Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, who was also reported to have asked the President to resign for, according to him, staining his hands with so much blood.
The statement reads: “Let me quickly state that as a former Secretary of CAN, Kaduna State, and also a former PRO of CAN in the 19 Northern states and the Federal Capital Territory and in my personal capacity as Special Adviser to the Kaduna State Governor on Religious Matters, that nothing could be further from the truth than these alarming headlines which are calculated to incite Northerners and especially Christians against the Jonathan Administration.
“To begin with, let us start with the Latin maxim Cui Bono (who benefits?). Northerners and the Christian populace do not benefit from the careless statement released by Oibe and Gumi. Recent statements by these duo have created serious friction between followers.
“Back to the question of who benefits? I would like to draw the attention of the public to 1 Timothy 6:5 which talks of “constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
“Most statements by these two do not represent reasonable minds in the North, be they Muslims or Christians, but are always politically motivated and sponsored.
“Members of the public should note that for these two to issue their statements on the same day is only a grand strategy to make gullible Nigerians think Christians and Muslims are fighting this Administration, or do they want us to believe it is a coincidence? Only a fool would believe that.
“Of recent, there has been hyperactivity among disgruntled politicians who covet the presidential seat and just then this strange statement came out. It is the hand of Esau but the voice of Jacob.
“But be that as it may, may I ask those who have procured this statement where they were when some persons of vile minds were activating terror with words warning of making the country “ungovernable” or of impending “bloodshed” should their political ambitions not be realised? Or is this Sheik Gumi’s way of appeasing Boko Haram for their threat against him?
“Northern CAN has no quarrel with the statement from President Jonathan that it would not be the preference of the Federal Government to send in soldiers to wipe out Boko Haram for the simple reason that Boko Haram are faceless and when soldiers are sent in to wipe out a faceless group, it is the innocent that suffers.
“We would rather the administration focus on intelligence driven covert operations that would target Boko Haram with precision which is in line with biblical principles which provides in Proverb 15:22 that “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers, they succeed.
“I note that it was wise counsel and covert intelligence that led to the capture of Abu Qaqa, Kabiru Sokoto and the killing of Habib Bama and many others.
“I call on the Federal Government and the Nigerian people to be alert and refuse to be pressured into taking actions that would pit Muslims against Christians which is what would happen if soldiers are sent in to level communities without taking into account that the innocent would be killed with the guilty. We note that when this happens, some of those now setting up such a catastrophe would be the first to condemn the government.”