By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
LAGOS— Criminal and politically minded insurgents in the Boko Haram group were behind last week’s rejection of the amnesty plans of the Federal Government, Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State has said.
Noting that no genuine Moslem or Christian would shed blood in the name of God, Governor Yuguda affirmed that members of the genuine Boko Haram would bring their issues to the negotiating table once the environment is provided.
Speaking to newsmen in Lagos at the weekend, Governor Yuguda also rebuffed insinuations of a crisis in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP over its 2015 presidential nomination, describing claims of a fight between him and Vice-President Namadi Sambo over the ticket as the invention of detractors.
While praising the unifying role of Chief Tony Anenih, the chairman of the Board of Trustees, BoT of the PDP, Yuguda said Anenih is seriously misunderstood by many people on account of his frankness and bluntness on issues pertaining to the party and the country.
“On the issue of Boko Haram, amnesty has been given to the real Boko Haram and I believe they are willing to accept that. That is my belief but you know there is the criminal Boko Haram and there is the real Boko Haram. But the criminal and the political Boko Haram, are the armed robbers and that arm of politicians that call themselves Boko Haram and they go about attacking people.
“Maybe, it is the criminal Boko Haram that are responding that they don’t want amnesty because they have a different intention. Some of them are gun runners, some of them are armed robbers and some of them are doing that on behalf of politicians.
So, they just hide under Boko Haram and perpetrate evil. For those that are actually Boko Haram, I would want to believe that there is something that is agitating their minds, not about killing human beings but probably there are certain things that have agitated their minds-probably joblessness- I understand some of them are university graduates of 15 years with no job.”
“Now that the president has extended that olive branch to them, I would like to believe that they are quite happy. There has to be an end to all these. Once they have accepted, we know that we have to face the criminals. Any other person that is calling himself Boko Haram, we know they are the armed robbers and the political Boko Haram. You have to understand this,” he said.
Affirming that there was nothing religious about the aspirations of the group, the governor said that no genuine Moslem or Christian would shed blood in the name of God.
“For any Muslim or Christian who picks up a weapon and says I want to kill, that man is a criminal. He is not a Muslim, he is not a Christian. And the earlier you start preaching this philosophy, the better for all of us. We must find a reason for the killing.”
“If you read the Bible from the beginning to the end, there is nowhere it said go and kill for God. Even the Bible said if you are slapped on the left, you turn the other cheek. What is the justification for the killing of people? Certainly not from the bible! As for you being a Muslim, you cannot be a Muslim without believing in the Bible. In the Koran Jesus is Isah, the son of Mary. You must believe in His mother and believe that He was given birth to by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
On the crisis rocking the PDP across the country, Yuguda rebuffed insinuations that the party was on a meltdown saying the PDP would enlarge its present tentacles to 35 of the 36 states of the country in the next round of elections.
“PDP is going to win 35 out of the 36 states of the Federation, come 2015,” he, however, shied away from naming the state that would escape the PDP’s offensive.
The governor also decried as illogical and farfetched recent reports that he was locked in a combat with Vice-President Namadi Sambo over the presidential ticket in 2015.
Asserting a long relationship with Sambo which he said flowed from a long history of cordiality between their two families, he said:
“It is the figment of imagination of somebody and this is because I look up to the vice-president as a senior brother. He is competent and is a successful architect. Why should me, Isa Yuguda have blind ambition and I am not that kind of person. I am a loyal party member, loyal to Mr. President and the vice-president,” he said.
Praising Chief Anenih’s efforts in stabilizing the PDP, he regretted the aspersions against the BoT chairman who he said is doing a good job in partnership with the national chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.
“Anenih and the chairman are elder-statesman and he is one of the very few that I know that love this country. His word is his word, but he is frank and blunt.”