The opposition party has criticized the president’s visit.
The Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) has described President Goodluck Jonathan’s trip to Borno and Yobe States last week as a fruitless attempt to match an earlier visit of governors of the opposition parties to Borno State capital, Maiduguri.
Mr. Jonathan paid a two-day official visit to the two states where the Islamic Sect, Boko Haram, has operated fiercely the last three years. It was his first trip to the states.
The All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN and CPC, who style themselves “progressive governors” because of the ongoing plan of their parties to merge into All Progressive Congress, had visited Maiduguri the previous week.
CPC, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Rotimi Fashakin on Sunday wondered if anything has changed in the two states since the President visited last Thursday after several postponements.
“The unanswered question remains: what has changed between the serial postponements of the President’s visit to these states in the last two years because of the predictable reason of unfavorable security reports and the decision to visit last Thursday?” the party asked.
“Was it the feat of the Progressive Governors in freely interacting with the people on the streets of Maiduguri (with minimal security presence) that made the President believe a trip to these hot-beds is possible, albeit with the aid of a 3,000-strong Police force ably led by the Inspector General of Police (IGP)?”
CPC said it was obvious that the knee-jerk response of the presidency to the “progressive governors”’ visit did not consider the necessity of a meaningful interface with the traumatized citizenry as part of such visit.
It further stated that the antecedents of the President in courageous crisis management leave much to be desired, recalling that after the bomb blast at the precinct of Eagle Square – the venue of the Independence anniversary on 1st October, 2010 – a nervous presidency shifted the subsequent celebrations to within the barricaded walls of the Aso-villa!
“The question is: with a supposition of a bomb blast around the Aso Villa, would the President’s official residence be shifted to Otuoke in Bayelsa state?” CPC said. “It is our belief that power of the President/Commander-in-Chief comes with the responsibility that transcends mere adornment with the epaulette of a Field Marshall at national ceremonies. The President, like the ancient Centurion, should never be lacking in nobility, honor and valor.”
The party also recalled that in the last three years, hundreds of Nigerians in the northern states have died, with many more suffering different degrees of disabilities, adding that many of Nigerians in these areas have been caught in the cross fire of the war beyond boundaries that have defined daily living.
“Undoubtedly, the President’s visit would serve no useful purpose and indeed very meretricious if there is no cogent plan for rehabilitating the displaced and bringing normalcy to the socio-economic life of the people.” CPC said.
“After all, the constitution is unambiguous in aptly declaring that the purpose of government shall be the welfare and security of the People! Meanwhile, it is left to be seen how the President’s visit, which was mainly about flying above the heads of the Nigerian residents in these areas, would help to solve the intractable issues on the ground.”