The National Security Adviser, Owoye Azazi, has come come under severe criticisms over his comment Friday that undemocratic practices in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party triggered the recurring deadly activities of the extremist Boko Haram sect.
Mr. Azazi had while speaking at the South-South Economic Summit in Asaba, Delta State, said the worsening insecurity in the north eastern part of the country, exacerbated by the frequent and deadly attacks of the dreaded sect across the country, could be traced to the politics of exclusion of the ruling PDP.
But speaking today during a visit to the bombed premises of THISDAY Newspapers in Abuja, President Goodluck Jonathan said Nigerians should ask Mr. Azazi to expatiate on his claims that the ruling party’s unsavoury politics was responsible for the country’s intractable security challenges.
“People need to ask NSA to explain what he really meant,” Mr. Jonathan said.
“I have read it from the papers. I don’t believe it is the undemocratic practices of the PDP that gave rise to this or any other militant groups.”
The president said although he had read the comments attributed to Mr. Azazi, he was yet to believe that the NSA really meant what he said.
Mr. Jonathan said as far as he was concerned, Mr. Azazi could have miscommunicated, failing to articulate his thoughts accurately.
“Sometimes, you have something in your mind you want to communicate but the way you communicate it , different people will give different interpretations,” the President said.
He however added that the NSA’s dissection of the ruling party was wrong, saying “the PDP is one of the most democratic parties” in existence.
Shortly after the President spoke, the national headquarters of the PDP issued a sternly worded statement, saying Mr. Azazi’s statement was “a very poor reflection of the foundation and the internal workings of the Party as well as a wrong deduction on the roots of security challenges in the country.”
Spokesperson for the party, Olisa Metuh, said no one should blame the party for the country’s current security challenges as the PDP “remained the strongest catalyst for the unity and progress of Nigeria.”
Mr. Metuh said, “We wish to state without any ambiguity that our great Party remains the only political party in Nigeria that is not owned by any ethnic group, person or group of persons. All Nigerians are equal stakeholders.
“All our special National Conventions for the election of our Presidential flag bearers since 1998 have seen candidates emerge on the strength of National unity, a common motif which envisages that every section of the country, majority or minority can aspire to the highest political office in our fatherland via a well entrenched rotation and zoning principle in the constitution of our party.”
Saying it remains united in support of Mr. Jonathan, the party urged Mr. Azazi to focus on his job if he is to continue to enjoy the backing of the ruling party.