The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has criticized President Goodluck
Jonathan for embarking on
a trip to Brazil for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development at a
time Nigeria is facing what
amounts to a national emergency, as citizens continue to die from gun
and bomb attacks in several cities.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Tuesday by its National Publicity
Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the
party said the decision by the President to travel two days after
dozens of innocent Nigerians, including
women and children, were killed or maimed by suicide bombers in Kaduna
state, is a sign of insensitive
and confused leadership.
It said the fact that the trip was announced by the presidency as the
Yobe state capital, Damaturu, was
being terrorized by attackers raised serious concerns about the
Jonathan Administration’s commitment to
the security and welfare of the citizenry, which is the rason d’etre
of any government.
ACN said the President should have cancelled the trip as a symbolic
act of a caring leadership and out
of respect for the souls that were lost – and are still being lost –
within the space of a few days, wondering:
whether the President has become helpless and inured to the fate of
”Again, we are constrained to ask whether this President is getting
quality advice from the myriad of aides
surrounding him, or whether, like his benefactor, Olusegun Obasanjo,
he has decided he may not even take
any advice from his advisers.
”In other climes, the usual thing is for leaders to cancel foreign
trips or rush home from such trips when their
countries suffer tragedies.
”In April 2010, Chinese President Hu Jintao cut short his Latin
American tour and returned home after a strong
earthquake hit the west of China; This year, South Sudanese President
Salva Kiir returned home early from his
visit to China, due to the rising tension along the border of his
country with Sudan, and even a phone-hacking
scandal was enough for British Prime Minister David Cameron to cut
short an African trade tour and return
home in 2011.
”Since our own President has not even left Nigeria when these latest
tragedies broke, it is inexplicable that he will
still hop into a plane with a huge entourage and fly out. He should
realise that he is attending the conference because
he is the President of Nigeria, not because he is Dr. Jonathan.
Therefore, Nigeria’s paramount interest dictates that
he stays at home and oversees efforts to prevent the precarious
situation in Kaduna from degenerating into an all-out
religious war,” the party said.
Meanwhile, ACN has expressed concern over the worsening terrorist
attacks that have continued to take deadly
tolls on human lives, after the latest attacks in Kaduna and Yobe
states left many dead.
The party said it may be time for the security agencies to look beyond
Boko Haram, and consider the possibility that
some elements are hell bent on triggering an ethnic and religious
crisis in the country, thus making it ungovernable.
”Are there elements within and outside the Jonathan Administration
who may be benefitting from this mindless killings?
Is the recent escalation linked to the huge sum of money (almost a
quarter of the budget) allocated to security in the
current budget? Are there fifth columnists within the Jonathan
Administration who are fuelling this crisis, considering that
the President himself has said his government has been infiltrated by
Boko Haram? These and other questions must be
answered by security agencies as part of efforts to end this festering
crisis,” it said.