The Adamawa State Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, gubernatorial candidate, Nuhu Ribadu, has lauded the efforts of President Goodluck Jonathan and security operatives for routing the Boko Haram insurgents from occupied territories with minimal collateral damage.
He said both the political leadership and the armed forces deserve a vote of confidence from Nigerians as they stepped up efforts to totally dislodge the insurgents from communities they hitherto occupied.
The Nigerian military recently dislodged the Boko Haram from several communities in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states.
Mr. Ribadu spoke at the weekend in Mubi, Adamawa State, when he visited Paka in Maiha Local Government Area, Mubi in Mubi North Local Government Area and Gella in Mubi South Local Government Area, to commiserate with the people affected by the insurgents’ occupation of the towns.
He said the Adamawa State Governor, Bala Ngilari, has demonstrated strong leadership in the fight against the insurgency by cooperating with the security agencies and pioneering strategic civilian involvement in tackling the insurgency.
Mr. Ribadu, however, warned against tampering with the present federal government leadership which, he said, may affect the tempo of the ongoing counterinsurgency operation.
“Political stability is key to peace and security, more so at a time of instability like what we are witnessing today. We cannot afford to disrupt this operation midstream. This tide should be allowed to continue.
“I have worked in many crisis zones, including Afghanistan, I know what insurgency is all about. It is unfortunate that at a time the country should unite for action against the insurgents we were busy apportioning blame. That is why I refrained from any comment about this all this while,” Mr. Ribadu said.
Terrorism, he explained, is a global phenomenon which is difficult to overcome, adding that “No country has succeeded in eliminating terrorism altogether and within a short time. The victory may not be total and immediate. It is a gradual process.”
“It is sad that politics is brought into this issue of insurgency. Those making unguarded comments do not know that they are hurting us, we that are living in the epicentre of this insurgency.
“The people living in this part of the country have suffered for too long, those hauling words from their comfort zones should please shut up and give us chance to confront what directly affects us,” he said.
Mr. Ribadu also thanked those he called the real heroes of the war against the insurgency, which includes “the military, police and our gallant members of the vigilante who sacrificed a lot and even lost their lives.”
“I am proud to associate myself with you,” he added.
On the strategy of routing the terrorists who had stayed in so communities for many months, Mr. Ribadu said, “The President never wanted to have large number of collateral damage. He is a careful leader who quietly took this very measured strategy without grandstanding. Today, we see the result of this matured way of handling this difficult war, which has pushed out the terrorists with minimal civilian casualty.
“The President took his time to build this strong coalition of bringing together our neighbouring countries. The result is for everyone to see. We have seen that the table is now turned against the terrorists, and they are on the run.
“Our security agencies are doing extremely great work and we should unite in applauding them. They have operated in the most difficult situations but they are winning even though the world refused to help us.
“Now, it is about consolidation of this success on how to restore life in these affected communities and bring about stability. The President has already established the Victims Support Fund and he has a marshal plan on how to consolidate on this military successes.
“President Goodluck Jonathan is a very compassionate and kind-hearted person but it is being misunderstood to mean something else. But to me, it is an attribute of a good leader. We have seen the President demonstrating compassion in a number of ways. Our lives have been turned upside down here. He has visited us, he has assured us of his commitment to restore back our lives. And I believe he will live up to those promises.”
Traditional, religious and business leaders from the three local governments who received Mr. Ribadu expressed appreciation for the visit, as they showed optimism that with a leader of Mr. Ribadu’s calibre, the state can address myriad of its developmental and security challenges.