— Oil pipeline protection contract is a smokescreen.
— Arrest of suspected Boko Haram members in Bayelsa government-owned house in Lagos raises red flag.
— Boko Haram baiting in the South West a dangerous ploy.
— FG allegedly pitching North against West, Christians against Muslims and making scaremongering a state policy.
(Being text of a Press Conference addressed by the National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in Lagos
on Sunday, April 7th 2013)
We are compelled to once again raise the alarm about some disturbing developments in the polity. To be sure, this is not the first time we are raising concerns about what seems a deliberate ploy in certain quarters to plunge Nigeria into a deep crisis, by instigating widespread violence and insecurity and engaging in scaremongering tactics
On January 8th, 2013 we issued a statement which said inter alia: ”For the Jonathan-led Administration, and not minding its deceptive aloofness from it all, the race for 2015 has started in earnest and it is a do-or-die affair, and all means foul and unfair are on the table to cripple the opposition, by ensuring that nothing will be left of the integrity of its key leaders even if they are fortunate to make it to 2015.”
As recently as April 2nd, 2013, we issued another statement calling attention to the plan by the Federal Government to frustrate the coming together of progressives by targetting key leaders for intimidation and harassment. We also said the Federal Government intends to ensure that elections do not hold in 2015 or they will be held under curfew.
Today, the situation is even more alarming, and it is also not unconnected with the politics of 2015.
It is no longer a secret that the PDP-led Federal Government has failed the nation in all ramifications. In the provision of social amenities and standard infrastructure, ensuring the security of lives and property, provision of jobs for our teeming unemployed youths and generally ensuring better life for our people, the party that has presided over the affairs of our nation since 1999 has fallen short. To make matters worse, the party itself is imploding as a result of its own failings, and its tattered umbrella can no longer provide shelter from the elements for its increasingly disenchanted members.
Against this background, the PDP is keenly aware that it has totally lost the confidence of all Nigerians, and the long-suffering people of this great country are now ready and eager to vote out this clueless party. Keenly aware of this fact, the PDP has now realized that if indeed the 2015 elections are free and fair and conducted in a conducive environment, there will be no chance for the party.
What is the way out for the PDP? The party has decided to go for broke: Either there will be no elections in 2015 or the polls will be conducted in an atmosphere of chaos, thereby paving the way for the PDP to do what it does best – rig the elections!
Recent events corroborate this, and I will elaborate on them.
Since the Boko Haram crisis broke out in some parts of the north, it has been largely restricted to those parts. This has made it possible to say to prospective foreign investors and others that the whole country has not been engulfed in violence and insecurity. But now, the areas that have been largely peaceful are being targetted by those who will only be happy when the whole country is in turmoil.
Let’s take the South-west for example.
Three recent events, all at the instance of the Federal Government, raise the red flag.
1. A multi-billion naira contract has suddenly been awarded for the protection of oil pipelines in the region.
2. The main beneficiary of the contract has suddenly realized that the Unity Party of Nigeria, formed by the respected statesman Chief Obafemi Awolowo, is no longer in existence, and has thus decided to revive it.
3. Just about the same time, suspected Boko Haram members have been arrested in Lagos, specifically at a house belonging to the government of Bayelsa state.
The questions that arise are:
What is the real intention of the Federal Government in awarding this oil pipeline protection contract?
Is it a mere coincidence that the main beneficiary of the multi-billion naira oil pipeline protection contract is also the same fellow who is promoting the revival of the UPN?
Could the huge contract have been meant to provide the seed money for the promoters of this party?
Is it true, as it is being alleged in certain quarters, that the essence of the contract is to recruit 30,000 youths who will ostensibly protect the pipelines, but in the real sense are ready hands to foment violence on demand in the South-west?
Is it true that the so-called revival of the UPN is to provide a platform for anarchists and end-gamers in the South-west to infiltrate the ranks of the progressives and throw the region into chaos?
Why is it that suddenly, Boko Haram suspects are popping up in Lagos, and some of those who have been arrested were residing in a building owned by the Bayelsa state government? Is the Bayelsa state government aware of this and, if so, what has it done to evict them from the building? Who are the ragamuffins paraded by security agencies as Boko Haram suspects working for?
Why have some people in the South-west been engaging in Boko Haram baiting in recent times, vociferously warning that if Boko Haram comes to the region, they will be crushed? Is it a coincidence that this Boko Haram baiting has become stronger since the oil pipeline contract was awarded?
Who are the brains behind the continuous efforts to sabotage the merger of the progressives? Who bankrolled the tatterdemalions, the disreputable people who are parading themselves as African Peoples Congress? Only this morning, it was reported that a new group is trying to register APCN, in continuation of the sabotage attempts. And who are the real faces of the so-called ANPP stakeholders who have been making spurious claims concerning the All Progressives’ Congress (APC)?
Gentlemen of the press, ponder these pertinent questions, and place the stated developments in the South-west against the new threat of resurgence of violence by MEND in the Niger Delta, the worsening Boko Haram crisis in the north, and the unrelenting attempts to stop the APC, and you will understand why we have decided to raise this alarm once again.
We are also concerned by the allegation that the Federal Government may be promoting a policy of inciting some parts of the country against the other, as well as Christians against Muslims. We sincerely hope this is not true.
May we also use this opportunity to restate our stand, that the Boko Haram crisis – which by the way is a social rather than a religious problem – has festered either due to the ineptitude of the Federal Government or because it fits into the game plan of those who are bent on erecting a road block on the path of free, fair and peaceful polls in 2015.
1. We make bold to say that the stand of the PDP is that having seen the handwriting on the wall, the party realizes it cannot win any free and fair elections in Nigeria in 2015. PDP and its stalwarts are therefore perfecting a sinister plan that will make free and fair elections impossible in 2015, or if at all the elections will be held, they will hold under curfew to give the party the cover it needs to rig the polls.
2. Also being considered is a plan under which emergency rule will be imposed on most parts of the country, following which elections will
be put in abeyance, paving the way for tenure elongation. Instigation of violence in hitherto peaceful parts of the country is one of the means to achieve this plan.
3. We are therefore alerting the good people of Nigeria as well as friends of the country around the world to closely monitor events as they unfold in the days ahead, along the lines that we have enunciated above.
4. On our part, we will be keenly watching events as they unfold, either in the South-west or elsewhere. After all, it is said that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. In this regard, we call on all our supporters, all progressives and indeed all Nigerians to be vigilant. We will also like to warn that no nation can survive a combination of ethnic and religious conflagration, and that those who will instigate crisis to push a personal and selfish agenda risk being consumed by it.
5. We say NO to violence! We say NO to do-or-die politics! We say NO to any anti-democratic measures as a means of retaining power at all cost.
6. And lest we are misunderstood, the constitution of our great country allows freedom of association and anyone who so desires can form
a party. But where the purpose of the party being formed is to instigate chaos and scuttle democracy, every right thinking person must be concerned!
I thank you for your attention.