Governors of states under the control of the All Progressives Congress have urged President Goodluck Jonathan, to play his part as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and do whatever is necessary to protect Nigerians.
The governors said this when they visited some of the victims of the Nyanya Motor Park bomb explosion at the National Hospital, Abuja. Four Boko Haram members carried out the bombing which left more than 89 people dead and over 246 others injured on Monday.
The APC governors, who were led on the visit by Owelle Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, described the explosion as unfortunate and said they had decided to set up a trust fund to support the victims’ families.
They said through Okorocha that they had observed that the spate of killings had reached a worrisome level and therefore must be stopped because it was not doing the country any good.
Noting that this was not the time to apportion blame, Okorocha advised all Nigerians irrespective of their party or religious affiliation, to close ranks to ensure the safety of lives and property in the nation.
He said, “We also want to request Mr. President and Commander-in-Chief to defend that part of our constitution that guarantees the safety of lives and property of Nigerians.
“We urge him to show leadership at this moment by doing whatever is within his capacity and capabilities as a President, to fish out those who were involved in this act. Just as we are talking about what happened in Nyanya on Monday, a few hours ago we also learnt about the kidnap of 100 young girls.
“Some reports even say it is 200. A nation cannot live like that. While we urge all Nigerians to remain calm and prayerful, we should unite at this moment to fight this evil.
“Our nation has experienced an increasing loss of lives; almost on a daily basis, we hear one ugly story or the other about the loss of lives.
“For the Nyanya incident, we the APC governors join millions of Nigerians to condemn this unholy act which does not do our nation any good.
“This is not the time to talk about (playing) politics with peoples’ lives. We appeal to all Nigerians irrespective of political party and religion to come together and unite to fight this evil of the moment which has afflicted our nation.”
He promised that the APC governors would join forces with other democrats to ensure that the bad story ended as soon as possible.
Also, the governor of Nasarawa State, Alhaji Tanko Al-Makura, called for vigilance among Nigerians.
Al-Makura said “In a lot of countries that have advanced, everybody has taken the issue of security seriously. Everyone must contribute his own quota in bringing about the protection of the country.
“My advice is that we should be more careful. We should be more observant. Once more we condemn this act.”
Others on the visit were Governors Babatunde Fashola (Lagos), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) and the Deputy Governor of Borno State, Alhaji Zanna Mustapha.
But as the APC governors challenged Jonathan to find an end to the insurgency in the country, the Federal Government said Jonathan’s presence at a Peoples Democratic Party’s rally in Kano on Tuesday was a loud statement to terrorists that they could not succeed in their bid to stop it from working.
The Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, said this in an interview with State House correspondents shortly after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting.
Barely 24 hours after the motor park explosion, the President led the Peoples Democratic Party chiefs to Kano where they received former Governor Ibrahim Shekarau, who recently defected from the APC to the PDP.
The development drew the ire of the APC and many who accused Jonathan of being insensitive.
But Maku said the President’s critics were not fair in their judgment.
He recalled that Jonathan had on the day of the incident called off his planned trip to Ibadan for the centenary birthday of the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Odulana Odugade.
The minister added that the President visited the scene of the incident personally to assess the situation.
He argued that Jonathan himself had suffered psychologically by the acts which he claimed were meant to demoralise and destabilise his government.
The minister argued that terrorists would continue to unleash violence on the country once they knew that government would stop working any time they struck.
He urged politicians to stop exploiting the nation’s darkest moment to score cheap political points.
Maku said, “You will notice that whenever there is any significant story, something will just come negatively. So the purpose is to demoralise, disrupt government, society and to set people against each other and create paralysis.
“If we are to say we will do nothing because of the strike, then it means that terrorists would have successes in putting a stall each time they strike.
“Going to Kano was a loud statement that terrorists would not stop this country from moving and from working.
“On the day it happened, the President had already suspended all his activities and focused on it. Politicians will still want to exploit even the most dark moment for political advantage and this is what we should not do.
“We should not be exploiting the emotions of citizens for cheap political points. People will use everything including murder, trauma like what we have gone through to score cheap political points and this is really very sad.
“Politicians must not exploit the suffering of people just to score cheap political points.
“The President is mourning and is already working with everybody and with every institution to ensure that we not only meet the needs of the living and care for those who have survived but continuously work to perfect our security architecture to ensure greater safety of Nigerians.”
However, the Peoples Democratic Party described a statement by the APC portraying Jonathan as ‘heartless’ for travelling to Kano for a political rally as yet another demonstration of the party’s support for the terrorist agenda against the country.
The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, added that it was common knowledge that those backing attacks always seek to impose a reign of terror in order to cow the President, dictate the tempo of government and ultimately shut down governance.
It said the PDP-led Federal Government could not in anyway be cowed or intimidated to abandon its mandate