STATE OF EMERGENCY: Govs Gaidam, Nyako blast Clark, Akpabio

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By Soni Daniel, Regional Editor, North

Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark and Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State have incurred the wrath of the governors of Yobe and Adamawa states for asking President Goodluck Jonathan to dismantle democratic structures in the North-East to pave way for a full military takeover.

The two governors, Ibrahim Gaidam and Murtala Nyako, said Clark and Akpabio, who are supposed to be democrats, threw caution to the winds by advocating the removal of the elected representatives of the people of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa and replacement with sole administrators.

From the left, Yobe State Governor Alhaji Ibrahim Geidam; Taraba State Deputy Governor Alhaji Abubakar Danladi; Sokoto State Deputy Governor Alhaji Muktari Shagari and Plateau State Deputy Governor Ignatius Detong  during the National Economic Council  Meeting chaired by Vice President Namadi Sambo at the Aso Chambers, Presidential Villa, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida 05/03/2012

From the left, Yobe State Governor Alhaji Ibrahim Geidam; Taraba State Deputy Governor Alhaji Abubakar Danladi and others at the Aso Chambers, Presidential Villa, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida 05/03/2012

In a joint statement released in Abuja yesterday, Gaidam and Nyako berated Clark and Akpabio, accusing them of attempting to sabotage the nation’s democratic march for their parochial political interests.

The statement was signed by Abdullahi Bego, Special Adviser (Media) to Governor Ibrahim Gaidam and Ahmad Sajoh, Director of Press and Public Affairs to Governor Murtala Nyako.

The governors described the advocacy by Clark and Akpabio as ill-advised, provocative, unfortunate, diversionary and totally out of sync with democratic norms and values.

They pointed out that the contemplation of the removal of the North East governors and replacement with ‘sole administrators’ is a ‘constitutional aberration, which cannot be found in any of the 320 sections of the 1999 Constitution’.

The statement said: “Mr. Clark’s comments (and indeed Mr. Akpabio’s) therefore smack of fascism and are clearly a veiled attempt at sabotaging our nation’s democracy which should be resisted by all and sundry.

“Curiously, both Clark and Akpabio are beneficiaries of constitutionalism and democracy in Nigeria. It is therefore mind boggling that the two would seek to put both constitutionalism and democracy in jeopardy on the altar of their personal interests.”

They said that Clark made a fundamental error by comparing the situation that led to the declaration of emergency rule in Ekiti State by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration and the current security scenario in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states, saying that the two cases were not the same.

They noted that as a former Senator Clark should know that the meaning of the provisions of Section 305 of the 1999 Constitution, which gives the President the power to declare a state of emergency in all or parts of the country, does not necessarily apply to security situations.

The two governors allege that by his suggestion, Clark did not wish the President well and was out to scuttle the nation’s democracy.

The governors noted: “That Mr. Clark would gladly and blindly ignore overriding legal opinion and historical contexts and suggest something that goes against the letter and spirit of our Constitution as a democratic nation, go to show that not only is he not wishing Mr. President well.”

The governors also said Clark demonstrated crass ignorance and insensitivity to the plight of people in the North-East by suggesting that the missing Chibok school girls would not have been kidnapped if Borno State was under a ‘total state of emergency’.

They said: “Is Clark not aware that over the past 12 months, there was all manner of security presence in the three states when we witnessed some of the most heinous and despicable terrorist attacks on our schools in Mamudo, Buni Yadi and Gujba and on our towns and villages from Izge to Baga?”

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