The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described as ‘a contextual misinterpretation of relevant facts’ the remark by the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ayo Oritsejafor, to the statement by the PDP National chairman, Bamanga Tukur, on Boko Haram and peace in Northern Nigeria.
Mr. Tukur was reported to have said that the members of the extremist Boko Haram sect are fighting for justice. The PDP National chairman described members of the terrorist group as “our sons and brothers” who are aggrieved over some injustice meted out to their leadership.
In response, the CAN president, Mr. Oritsejafor, described Mr. Tukur’s statement as “frightening” and capable of “destabilising the country”.
The PDP has however come to Mr. Tukur’s defence, describing him as man who “in words and actions has shown himself a true patriot that cannot be conceived in the mould of ethnic or religious bigotry.”
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, issued a statement on Friday in this regard.
“Over the decades, he has built bridges of friendship across religions and regions of Nigeria, etching his name as an African statesman. It is on record also, that since he was elected the National Chairman of our great Party, his message has been consistent on the imperative of unity, equity and justice for every Nigerian,” Mr. Metuh said.
The spokesman of the PDP added that Mr. Tukur “has never hidden his resolve and determination to use the historic opportunity offered by his leadership of the nation’s ruling Party to champion the ideals of the founding fathers of Nigeria that irrespective of our tongue , tribe and creed, Nigerians are one and that our diversity is our greatest strength.”
“He has spared no effort in deploring the incidence of violence in the Northern part of the country. He has stated in no uncertain terms that no reason can justify terror attacks. But he has also charged that those involved in the violence and their sponsors are our brothers, and there is therefore a need for our collective efforts,” Mr. Metuh added.
Mr. Metuh described the PDP as a party with a “membership of millions of Nigerians who are Muslims and who are also Christians.”
“There is abundant evidence that the issue of religious divisiveness in the manner the CAN President has interpreted our National Chairman, is non-existent in our great Party. In both the National Executive Committee (NEC) and the National Working Committee (NWC), the PDP has amply illustrated that Christians and Muslims can work together for the greatness of Nigeria. We therefore expect that we not only be commended but emulated by other political Parties and organisations whose activities connect directly or indirectly to the unity of the nation. We therefore urge Christians to disregard any misinterpretation of the statement of our National Chairman and continue to live in peace with their Muslim brothers.”