Ben Agande, Abuja.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati has said that the northern elders forum on the condition for its support for president Jonathan is predicated on bringing back the abducted Chibok girls is misguided and misadvised.
In a statement in Abuja yesterday, Dr Abati said nobody was in a position to give ultimatum to the president of Nigeria.
The statement said: “Abati on the ultimatum given to President Jonathan by the Northern Elders Forum that if he fails to rescue the Chibok girls by October, he should not declare his ambition to contest the 2015 presidential poll
“Nobody is in a position to give the President of Nigeria an ultimatum. For anybody to pretend that they can give the President and the federal government of Nigeria ultimatum, such persons are engaging in a game of self delusion. Beyond that, the kind of statements they make are incorrect because it is very clear even to the blind , the deaf and the dumb that this administration has made the fight against insurgency and terrorism a high priority level engagement for the government.
“President Jonathan has personally ensured that the war against terrorism is topmost on the international agenda and that Boko Haram has become the focus of international outreach against any form of terrorism, evil acts, assault on our common humanity and civilisation. He has mobilised concerted international action. He has deployed resources at the disposal of the Nigerian government and also within the sub-region to combat.
“For him, the sanctity of human lives is what is important. And he has said it again and again that this government will leave no stone unturned, this government will stop at nothing and will do everything within its powers to ensure that the will of the insurgence does not prevail. If the Northern Elders Forum were to be a patriotic group, they would be expressing support as members of the National Assembly have done again and again and as other enlightened groups in this society have done again and again.
“For Mr. President’s efforts to bring the nightmare of terrorism to an end, if the members of the elders forum were to be patriotic, they would be carrying the flag against Boko Haram, they would be directing their frustration at terrorists and theu would be speaking with one voice to say terror is unacceptable, to say that terror is evil, they would be saying that they as ‘elders’ are prepared to support the effort of government at all levels to ensure that terrorists, both at the government level and at the community level are brought to their knees and that the affected parts of the country are made safe for everybody.
“But they are not patriotic. Hence, they have opted for a position that can cause disaffection, a position that can cause division, a position that flies in the face of the truth. They are not in a position to accuse this government of incompetence and it is not true that there is deep-seated corruption.
“If there is anything, President Jonathan has been combating corruption, has strengthened the institutions to make corruption difficult and to, over a long time, eradicate corruption. He has placed much greater emphasis on efficiency and service delivery.
“So, I think that the Northern Elders Forum is misguided, is mis-advised and I dare add that that statement, if indeed is a statement that emanated as a group position rather than the wild imagining of two persons, then I will add that it was an irresponsible contribution” he said.