The Presidency and President Goodluck Jonathan’s Campaign Organisation have condemned the burning of vehicles belonging to the organisation in Jos, the Plateau State capital.
Two buses belonging to the organisation were destroyed and burnt down at Zololo Junction along Bauchi Road in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State on Saturday by persons allegedly shouting “Sai Buhari” and “Baba Buhari oyoyo.”
Security operatives on Sunday announced the arrest of persons suspected of involvement in the act.
In a statement on Sunday, the Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Political Affairs, Rufai Alkali, said the burning of the vehicles has demonstrated the level of the desperation of the opposition and their plot to intimidate others out of the political space.
He said the incident would not deter Mr. Jonathan from ensuring free and fair elections were conducted nationwide next month.
“We have observed a dangerous trend of politically motivated violence unleashed on innocent Nigerians by supporters of those who have shown desperation to assume political power at all costs,” Mr. Alkali said.
“While we are not surprised by acts of desperation already shown by these people who have no articulate agenda for nation building, we are amazed at how quickly they are willing to manifest their evil intentions on our dear country.
“The incidence in Jos, Plateau State where our campaign vehicles were torched by irate youth supporters of the APC underscores the need for vigilance as we progress towards the General Elections. This criminal behaviour, which is meant to intimidate others and deny them their freedom of choice, stands condemned.”
The presidential aide said leaders whose utterances and conduct had encouraged this kind of behaviour must bear full responsibility for this.
He said with the way things are going, it would “seem the ultimate agenda of making Nigeria ungovernable as prophesied by these politicians is underway.”
Mr. Alkali further alleged that, “In carrying out this unpatriotic behaviour, they wish to first of all discredit the electoral process and set the stage for an orgy of violence once they fail in the elections.
“Nigerians are well aware of these antics and are fully prepared to protect their rights to freedom of choice.
“We condemn the acts of violence in Jos, Plateau State and also condemn the threats to violence in every other part of the country.”
He reiterated that the Federal Government is determined to ensure no Nigerian was prevented from campaigning in any part of the country. He, therefore, called on the law enforcement agencies to protect and guarantee the safety of every Nigerian legitimately canvassing for votes all over Nigeria.
“We invite law enforcement agencies to note the pronouncements of desperate politicians who are bent on fanning the embers of hate and threaten the peaceful conduct of the 2015 elections.
“We once more wish to reiterate the commitment of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to a peaceful and rancour free electoral process. He has said times without number that his ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian.”
Mr. Alkali also called on the members of the PDP and supporters of the president to exercise restraint and show maturity even in the face of extreme provocations.
“We must show a difference in our conduct and prove to agent provocateurs that we have the temperament and composure to tolerate dissent without decent to mob action,” he said.
He warned politicians to desist from this vicious circle of lies, rumours, intimidation and violence.
Also, the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, on Sunday condemned the Jos incident.
In a statement, the organisation’s Director of Media and Publicity, Femi Fani-Kayode, called on the presidential candidate of the APC, Muhammadu Buhari, to call his supporters to order and ensure a violence-free election.
It warned Mr. Buhari and the APC not to prepare the ground for the re-enactment of the post-election violence of 2011.
“It is on record that General Buhari’s utterances since 2011 have fuelled violence especially the post-election violence in parts of the north which claimed the lives of many youth corps members who were deployed as ad-hoc staff members for that year’s election,” the organisation said.
“It is sad that up till now General Buhari has refused to apologize to the Nigerian people for that barbaric and shameful incident or show any remorse for the actions of his supporters. He could not even bring himself to tender an apology to the families of those young corps members that were hacked to death and murdered in cold blood by his agents.
“As if that was not enough tragedy unleashed on the polity, General Buhari recently said that the ‘baboon and the dog would be soaked in blood if what happened in 2011 repeat itself in 2015.’
“The Jos attack on the campaign buses of President Goodluck Jonathan would appear to be a pointer to what the opposition APC presidential candidate is planning before and after the February 14 presidential election.”
The organisation called on well-meaning Nigerians and members of the international community “to speak forcefully against this development, which threatens our elections and democracy and which falls way below the standard of best international practices.”
None of the two statements made mention of the fact that Mr. Buhari had condemned the attack on the Jonathan campaign buses.
In a statement released few hours after the attack, Mr. Buhari said “I have received news of violence in Jos today. I condemn this violence in its entirety. I reject any supporter who resorts to violence.”