PRESS BRIEFING BY THE NORTHERN ZONE OF THE JONATHAN PROJECT HELD AT THE CHANCELLERY HOTEL, WUSE 2 ABUJA ON THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2011
Gentlemen of the Press,
Welcome to this Press Briefing by the Northern Zone of the Jonathan project. We are a team of non-partisan young professionals who have decided to throw our weight behind President Goodluck Jonathan and his administration and our goals are directed at building a responsive followership that will support the leadership in the much needed march towards ensuring that our great nation is on the right pedestal towards economic prosperity.
1. UN Building Bombing
Our attention has been brought to the spate of bombings in parts of Northern Nigeria, the most recent being the recent bombing of the UN building in Abuja by renegade elements who hide under a religious cloak to unleash terror on well meaning Nigerians and residents. It is indeed very sad that while the nation is yet recovering from the bloodletting that followed the elections widely acclaimed as the best in our recent history, these bandits are still destroying innocent lives and properties. We condemn this barbaric act in its entirety. It is shameful, devious, demonic and barbaric and a by-product of extreme cowardice and should be widely condemned by all well-meaning Nigerians. It is common knowledge that Islam is a religion of peace, therefore any such group that resorts to taking people’s life is an outright terror group and should be treated as an enemy of the state.
As progressive youths of Northern Nigeria, we are greatly appalled by these acts that have become all too rampant in our region. It is obvious that certain crumbling elements who had been thriving under the old order, seem bent on preventing the dividends of democracy from trickling down to the masses whom they have suppressed for decades. We owe it as a duty to speak up and condemn these acts of banditry and brigandage.
We stand on the teachings and the solid foundations of our fore fathers who thought it wise for us to co-exist peacefully to condemn any terror group meant to destabilize this country. Our unity is sacrosanct and we must not allow any such group to threaten the binding forces that hold us together. We also call on other well-meaning Nigerians, community leaders, religious leaders, youth leaders, etc to galvanize support and help to fish out these criminals who are bent on making Nigeria ungovernable. This country belongs to all of us and we must not sit quietly and allow certain elements disrupt our collective good and stability.
Our security apparatus MUST be overhauled and primed to forestall any further occurrence. Anyone found wanting or short of expectations should be REMOVED with immediate effect. The security units must self-cleanse itself to ensure there are no officers that compromise the integrity of the system. A situation where security personnel will aid the escape of a terror suspect is worrisome and disturbing. They must be proactive rather than just reactionary. The life of every single Nigerian is far too important to be toyed with.
We also charge all Nigerians to be their brothers’ keeper. Globally, Security Agents rely on intelligence from the public to combat terrorism. If we continue to harbor these criminals in our midst and not give them up, then very little can be achieved by the security agents. Antecedents have showed that terrorism knows no face – you might be the next victim if you don’t give them up today.
2. The Almajiri problem
We are also calling on government to as a matter of extreme urgency tackle the issue of Almajiris in the north as promised. The process of integrating these young Nigerians into the drive towards improving the economic and social well-being of their societies and the country at large needs to be fast tracked. As the Nigeria strives to achieve the vision of becoming one of the 20 top economies by the year 2020, it is important to convert all its human resource potential into real human capital.
3. Jos and Ibadan
We will also like to use this opportunity to condole with the victims of the recent crisis in Jos, the Plateaus state capital and call on the security agents within the state to ensure that all those responsible for the destructions and loss of lives are brought to justice. The blood of the innocent should not be shed in vain.
We also commiserate with the people of Ibadan, Oyo state in this trying time. As they struggle to come to terms with the destruction caused by the weekend’s flood, we urge state governments to embrace more proactive measures in combating such threats. Despite the flood warnings issued by the Nigerian Meteorological agency very early in the year, many states were caught unprepared and many lives needlessly lost.
4. Pursuing accountability in governance
Finally, as one of the projects towards ensuring accountability and responsibility in governance, Project Jonathan will soon commence the monitoring of political appointees and tracking their progress in policy implementation, project execution and all other areas that their service delivery is measured.
We will leverage on the recently signed Freedom of Information Bill to gain access to needed information and prepare and present our assessments to the country periodically.
Leader, Northern Zone
The Jonathan Project