By Dayo Benson & Kingsley Omonobi
ABUJA—PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, looked back at the October 1, anniversary bombings in Abuja and declared that he never politicized either his statements or his actions since the incident happened.
Also, he declared that the gang-up strategies adopted by the North against his presidential aspiration will fail. He also reiterated his resolve to conduct a free and credible poll come 2011.
Speaking at the commissioning of the first Bullet Proof Combat helicopter purchased for the Nigeria Police Force (Bell 412 EP) and seven Scene of Crime vehicles in Abuja, Jonathan said: “It is pertinent for me to assure fellow Nigerians that I have absolute commitment to providing Nigerians with a safe and secured environment for their lives and property. In this primary duty of government to its citizens, no stone will be left unturned.
“The dastardly act of October 1 whereby some unpatriotic elements blasted bombs that claimed innocent lives and wrecked havoc on properties will be thoroughly investigated and those responsible will be made to face the law.
“Let me use this opportunity to say that I have never played politics with this dangerous incident that calls for concern and I will never play politics with it. It is a serious crime against our nation and we must ensure that it never happens again.”
On the equipment, the President said: “The security of lives and property, maintenance of law and order are the primary responsibilities of any government and this fundamental duty is entrusted in the Nigeria police by the 1999 constitution.
“That is why at the inception of this administration we demonstrated commitment to these laudable objectives for the transformation and repositioning of the police force to attain the highest level of professionalism, dedication and discipline capable of ensuring public safety and internal security in the country.”
Four more helicopters
While noting that the Central Bank of Nigeria had accepted to partner government in the equipment of the Police, the President said the CBN will soon provide four more helicopters for the force adding that “it is within this context that the procurement of the Bell 412 EP IFR helicopter and the scene of crime vehicles should be viewed as an operational capacitation of the Nigeria police force”.
Earlier, Police Affairs Minister, Adamu Maina Waziri, had said that the combat helicopter was a twin engine 15 seater aircraft installed with armour plate protection for both pilot and passengers. He said the helicopter was also fitted with a 16 million candle light dismountable search light that enables it to undertake nocturnal surveillance operations even in bad weather.”
Northern gang-up will fail
Meanwhile, as the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, northern presidential aspirants intensify their gang-up strategies against the 2011 aspiration of President Goodluck Jonathan, the Goodluck/Sambo Campaign Organisation has said that the move would fail even as it restated its commitment to the sanctity of ballot box.
The campaign organisation’s position came even as the four northern presidential aspirants namely Gen Ibrahim Babangida, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Lt Gen Aliyu Gusau and Governor Bukola Saraki reaffirmed their commitment to emergence of a consensus candidate from the zone.
A statement by the Director of Media and Publicity, Goodluck/Sambo Presidential Campaign Organisation, Mr. Sully Abu, said the campaign group maintained that the arrangement being pursued by the four northern presidential aspirants would fail because it was not based on any principle or Programme.
Abu added the move was not in the interest of the Nigerian people “who have seen such gang_ups in the past come to nothing in spite of the unnecessary dust raised.”
He said: “The consensus arrangement being pursued is based on sheer opportunism and driven by an undemocratic and illiberal spirit. That is why they have continued to be at pains to explain that they are at work, irrevocably committed to the success of the arrangement. They have continued feverishly with their individual campaigns while they continue to protest their commitment to subsume their individual, galloping ambitions. Who is deceived?
“The consensus of Nigerians is that the ballot box will determine the next president of the country.”
Based on their conviction as to who best represents their hope for fundamental change against the disastrous policies and politics of the men of yesterday, Nigerians are by overwhelming evidence rooting for the Goodluck/Sambo ticket.
This is what is making our opponents desperate, so desperate indeed as to contemplate a gang up of people who are otherwise very strange bedfellows.”