The Pan-Northern socio-political organization, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), has again expressed its opposition to the plan to hold rallies across the nation by a group to drum up support for President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term in office.
Voicing its opposition, the ACF yesterday said that the general mood of the nation was not favorable to such rallies, which is the organized by the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN), a non-governmental organisation.
“The present mood of the nation in the face of insecurity challenges of daily attacks on innocent souls by Boko Haram insurgents in the North, ritual killings in the West, kidnappings of prominent persons in the South South and armed robbery in the East and the sudden entry of Ebola virus into the country through one Mr. Sawyer calls for sober reflection, prayers and support to confront the challenges rather than the solidarity rally being planned by TAN”, ACF said in a statement in Kaduna by its National Publicity Secretary, Muhammad Ibrahim.
The ACF said yesterday that while TAN members as Nigerians are entitled to their rights as other citizens, the present situation in the country does not call for celebrations and political rally in support of any cause or any political office holder at this material time of security, social and health challenges.
“Moreover. INEC is yet to lift the ban on political rallies as per the provisions of our constitution and the Electoral Act”, it added.
Enumerating the insecurity challenge in the North, ACF said: “Towns and villages are being wiped out, innocent people and including security personnel are being attacked and killed on daily basis in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states that have been under an emergency rule in the last 14 months.
“The Federal and States Government combined effort in tackling the security challenges is yet to achieve the desired result and some Nigerians are busy planning celebrations.
“The over 200 Chibok girls kidnapped 120 days ago are still in captivity of the Boko Haram insurgents, another 100 young men have recently been kidnapped at Baga Borno state, young girls are being used as suicide bombers, prominent persons are being killed or kidnapped for ransom, Damboa, Gwoza and many towns in Borno and Yobe states are being occupied by insurgents and Ebola virus is taking its toll on those who had primary or secondary contacts with the prime victim”.
ACF pointed out that the organisers of the planned rallies would serve Nigeria better for now if they could pay attention to the plight of other Nigerians under siege of Boko Haram insurgents, the daily killing of security personnel and innocent souls by insurgents, destruction of property and displacements of 400,000 persons due to insurgency the North East and the Ebola threat.
“Nigerians at this time need to unite and support Government efforts tackling the above menace not solidarity rallies”, it said and warned about “the likely security threat and logistic burden such political rally will place on our security personnel that are already over stretched with the issue of terrorist activities nationwide”.
It asked TAN members to “be human, sensitive and have a rethink on their planned solidarity rally in the six geopolitical zones and shift it to a more appropriate time especially the ones for Kano. Minna and Gombe for the sake of Nigerians under siege of insurgency and other challenges” and urged politicians and the generality of Nigerians to respect and obey the letters of our constitution in all our dealings in order to deepen our democracy, enthrone the rule of law and promote peace, unity and development.
TAN describes itself as “a non-governmental organization designed to promote good governance. It consists of individuals of impeccable character fostering the continuation of transformation by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ).
After the completion of today’s rally in Awka, the train moves to the South-West next Saturday in Ibadan, Oyo State, to be followed by the South-South on August 30.
The others are: North-Central, September 9 in Minna, Niger State; North-East, September 20 in Gombe; and North-West, September 27 in Kano.