National Leader, Action Congress of Nigeria, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has warned loyalists and aides of President Goodluck Jonathan against taking the unity of Nigeria for granted and setting the country on fire.
Tinubu, the former Lagos State governor, said in Lagos on Thursday that the utterances of friends and aides of Jonathan had the potential of putting the unity of the country in jeopardy.
The ACN stalwart spoke as the guest of honour at the presentation of Lest I Forget: Memoirs of a Nigerian Career Diplomat,written by Amb Oladapo Fafowora. Tinubu was represented by ACN National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, and Leader, Niger Delta Peoples Volunteers Force, Alhaji Mujaheed Dokubo-Asari, were recently quoted as threatening violence in the country if Jonathan is not reelected President in 2015.
The seriousness of the “threat” of the President’s men had attracted widespread condemnation, with the House of Representatives calling for a probe while others demanded the arrest of the duo.
Tinubu, however, believed that such utterances, coming from Jonathan’s kinsmen, posed a serious threat to the unity of the country if not checked.
The ex-governor said, “By not taking it(country) for granted, we will avoid taking measures or making comments that can threaten the country’s unity.
“Unfortunately, that has not been the case in recent times. Self-acclaimed friends as well as aides of the President have been making comments that are capable of putting the unity of our country in jeopardy.
“One says if President Goodluck Jonathan is not re-elected in 2015, the tenuous peace, now being enjoyed in the Niger Delta, will not be guaranteed.
“Another builds on that, saying – with all the crudity in his being – that not only will there be no peace in the Niger Delta, there will be no peace everywhere across the country.
“Let us remember that these two are not the only ones making threatening comments ahead of the 2015 elections.”
Tinubu, who said the presence of former Head of State, Gen Yakubu Gowon, and other eminent Nigerians had made the warning timely, added that other close associates of Jonathan had taken the 2015 “threat” to a ridiculous level.
He said, “Earlier, a gregarious presidential aide boasted that he would no longer bear his name if by 2014 the new political platform called the All Progressives Congress has not vanished into thin air! These are pretty strong words.
“And without mincing words, these statements must be seen for what they are: insensitive, inciting and incendiary. One must not forget to say such threats are utterly irresponsible and unjustifiable!
“Let us remember what Jodi Picout said, ‘Words are like eggs dropped from great heights; you can no more call them back than ignore the mess they leave when they fall’.”
The former Lagos State governor noted that elder statesmen in the country should take the appropriate steps to curtail the increasing threat to the unity of the country before the nation’s democracy was undermined.
Tinubu added, “It is also important for us not to keep quiet when the dead-enders unleash these kinds of words on us. We must not allow the ethnic militias to ruin our democracy or untie our unity.
“It is said that evil triumphs when good men do nothing. It is therefore incumbent on all our acknowledged good men to speak out against these ethnic jingoists, or those that the Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka will call lickspittle.”
He added, “To the best of my knowledge, President Goodluck Jonathan was elected by Nigerians of different ethnic groups. And no one single ethnic group, whether minority or majority, can single-handedly elect a President. No ethnic warlord or groveling aide can single-handedly elect a President.
“There is strength in our unity. Let us guard it jealously. Let us work hard to keep our country united. Above all, let us not take our unity for granted.”
Tinubu described Fafowora as a committed patriot, who “left the service not in the best of circumstances”, noting that the book was “a rare enrichment of our essence as Nigerians, with our collective institutional memory”.