People in positions of author ity ought to be guided always by the necessities of leadership and their high offices to demonstrate appropriate etiquette in their utter ances and actions. Unbridled expres sions of incendiary sentiments capable of inciting one section of the country against the other, or against the gov ernment, ought not to be found among those holding sensitive political offices, especially in the perilous times in the country today.
It is troubling, therefore, that the Governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, recently chose to lend himself to utterly intemperate vituperations that are clearly beneath his office. His charge that the President Goodluck Jonathan administration is commit ting genocide against the North is spu rious, and has been so condemned by many well meaning Nigerians across the country. The blistering accusation, for which the governor proffered no shred of evidence, was contained in an April 16 letter to the Northern Gover nors’ Forum.
Nyako, amongst other things in the most unbecoming missive, said Jonathan was from Eastern Nigeria, which, he alleged “was responsible for killing the Northern elites on January 15, 1966.” He also faulted the strategy currently being used by the Federal Government to fight the insurgency in the North-East, describing it as a premeditated plot orchestrated to decimate the North and its citizens. He alleged that the Jonathan presidency was “confused” in its approach to tackling the insurgency in the country, even as he described the Boko Haram terrorist group as a “phantom organ isation” that does not really exist, but only a creation of the Jonathan gov ernment to undermine the North-East and ensure that elections do not hold there. He also said the ongoing mili tary operations against the insurgents were reminiscent of those of Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler.
Nyako’s outburst, even if borne out of pent-up frustrations over the heightened insecurity in the North-East, is by all standards, highly in flammatory, and a grotesque twist of well known historical facts. It is outright falsehood that has no basis in reality.
At best, the governor’s comments were sheer hateful demagoguery designed to incite one section of the country against the other, and indeed, against Jonathan and the Federal Government.
It is disheartening that Governor Nyako, a retired Naval Chief, de scended so low to make these shocking and unsubstantiated allegations. For instance, the allegation of genocide levelled against the Jonathan adminis tration, is an offence under the provi sions of section 41(a) of the Criminal Code Act Cap 77 Laws of the Federa tion 1990.
The full implications of Nyako’s accusations are troubling enough. They appear to have only one aim: to provoke animosity against the Federal Government. Besides, such unguarded utterances are capable of adversely affecting the current fight against ter rorism, as they could further embold en the terrorists and their sponsors.
One thing that has become clear from these utterances is that it has become dangerous to continue to politicise the security challenge in the country, as it could be used by uncon scionable persons to achieve selfish ethnic and political interests. In that regard, it is good that Nyako’s com ments were also condemned by his fel low governors at the recent National Security Council meeting.
Our expectation is that public offi cials, like Nyako, who have held high public offices before now would have the maturity and wisdom to avoid statements that will not help the cause of nation building. We expect those in public offices to be patriotic and seek the good of the country at all times, and not try to divide it.
However, Nigeria has grown beyond primordial considerations and the genocidal brush with which politicians like Nyako want to paint it. The coun try has come through thick and thin to where it is today.
It has survived a civil war, fallen in and out of the hands of iron-fisted mil itary adventurists, and stumbled back on the path of democracy. Nobody should set the hands of the clock back by sowing seeds of discord between the North and the rest of the country.
Altogether, we urge the Jonathan administration and all peace loving people not to be distracted by Nyako’s combustible remarks. Let all hands be on deck to keep the battle against ter rorism in the country on course.