The All Progressives Congress (APC) governors’ absence at Thursday’s scheduled National Security Council meeting called by President Goodluck Jonathan to address the spate of insecurity currently facing the country has forced the President to move the meeting to next week.
Although the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors, Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State said the APC governors were not invited to the meeting but assured that an invitation has been extended to them for next Wednesday‘s rescheduled meeting at 4pm.
Today, the President had first met with Vice President Namadi Sambo, the Minister of Defence, Lt.-Gen Aliyu Gusau, the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.), Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Pius Anyim, the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, the Service Chiefs, the Inspector-General of Police,Mohammed Abubakar, the Director-General of the State Security Services, Ita Ekpeyong, the Director-General of National Intelligence Agency, Minister of Interior, Abba Moro; Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Abduljelili Adesiyan, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wali, at 11ambefore the extended meeting including the governors at 2pm at the First Lady Conference Room, that reviewed the security situation in the country as well as ongoing national security measures and operations with a view to determining the best way forward.
The meeting started at about 2 p.m. And end at 4.30 p.m. with 15 PDP governors, one All Progressives Grand Alliance governor, one Labour Party governor, two PDP deputy governors and an acting governor in attendance.
They are Gabriel Suswan (Benue), Martin Elechi (Ebonyi) Ramalan Yero (Kaduna), Isa Yuguda(Bauchi), Theodore Orji (Abia), Ibrahim Dankwanbo (Gombe), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Liyel Imoke (Cross River), Willie Obiano (Anambra) and Idris Wada (Kogi).
Others are Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo), Ibrahim Shema (Katsina), Jonah Jang (Plateau), Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Sullivan Chime (Enugu), Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Garba Umar (Acting governor, Taraba), John Jonah (Deputy Governor, Bayelsa) and Kebbi State Deputy Governor.
Fielding questions from State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, Akpabio said yesterday’s meeting was at the insistence of the PDP governors to meet President Jonathan and the Security chiefs on the security situation in the country.
He said, “This is a fall of our meeting which we held with PDP governors and we felt that there was a need for us to meet Mr. President and also meet with security chiefs.
“Mr. President has listened to us and even said that since is a problem that involves all the state of the federation. It is better for all the state governors to be in attendance. Because of that he has graciously agreed to meet with all the 36 states governors of the federation on Wednesday by 4pm.
“Of course you know we are very much concern first as PDP governors and the center belongs to the PDP and so we felt that we should see our dear president and if need be with some of the security chiefs.
“He has graciously listened to us and he said since is a national issue we must have all the 36 governors in attendance. So I believe strongly, notice will be going out and all governors will be meeting with Mr. President and service chiefs next week Wednesday so we can sit and discuss and profer solutions to the current insecurity in the country. I believe it will come to an end.
On whether the state of emergency which ends on Saturday came up for discussion, he said “no he didn’t go into details with us. Of course you know that is a national issue and if you discuss you cannot shave a man’s head behind him. The governors of the state that are involved in emergency are not here. So I believe that issue will be taken on when all the governors are around on Wednesday”.
On why the APC governors were not in the meeting he said, “no no no they were not invited. You know there was an initial requisition of this meeting by the PDP governors, this was as a fall out of our own meeting. And so it wasn’t something that was extended to all and that is why I said they have been invited on Wednesday. We just wanted to meet with our president and some service chiefs to hear our views and also make some suggestions. Now he is insisting which is right too, that is a national issue because it must be handled nationally and that is why all the governors must be here.
“I don’t think there is a governor who will not love to be here to also add his voice and suggestion on how we can tackle the current situation.
“We must face the situation and it is not something we can politicise, you don’t politicise security. All hands must be on deck, the entire country every single Nigerian must contribute it’s quota towards bringing the current situation to an end.
“I believe that if you are not a soldier you can also be an informant. And of course you know that this thing is becoming like an HIV if you are not infected you are affected. Your children are also involved, your grandchildren and relations. If people are now attacking schools to disrupt the lives of children how will you not be concern. A market woman is affected when motorparks are being bombed, so there is no way any governor in Nigeria will not be concerned and will not show interest.
“In bringing this situation to an end, all Nigerians must know that we must be our brothers keepers as far as security is concern.
“The meeting is a fall out of our meeting. You know there was initial call for governors to attend, I invited them. But Mr. President has invited all the governors to the next meeting on Wednesday”.
Also speaking, Abia Governor said, ”We under took a essential discussion on the security of the nation that is exactly what we did. Details are not for public because they are security issues. Of course no governor is happy with what has happened but bear in mind that the meeting is at the instant of the PDP Governors. We took a decision when we went to Jigawa and we requested the president to invite us to a meeting with the security chiefs. That is why we are here. We initiated the meeting for clearance”.