BY CLIFFORD NDUJIHE, TONY EDIKE, BEN AGANDE & PETER DURU
LAGOS — NATIONAL Security Adviser, NSA, General Andrew Azazi (rtd), yesterday received more knocks and praises in equal measure for attributing the strong wind of insecurity blowing across the land to the zoning and power sharing arrangement of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
While the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) and members of the House of Representatives on the banner of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) hailed Azazi, former Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, asked the NSA to resign and save the present Federal Government more embarrassment.
Indeed, the ACN concurred that the issue was embarrassing and lampooned the PDP-led Federal Government for handling a serous national issue with naivety.
Tsav asks Azazi to resign
To Tsav, Aziza should quit his position and save the present Federal Government more embarrassment.
In a text massage to Vanguard yesterday, Tsav faulted Azazi’s resort to making such a public utterance on the matter.
General Andrew Azazi (rtd)
His words: “The remark credited to the NSA, Gen. Aziza, that the PDP was responsible for the insurgence of Boko Haram through their zoning arrangement could be true based on intelligence available to him, but the public utterance by the NSA is irresponsibly faulty. The only honourable option left for him is to throw in the towel and resign. He has no business in government. He even appears not interested or dedicated to his job.
“Rather than open his mouth too wide, we expected the NSA to advise the President and the Federal Government on this rather than go public, an act which is capable of not only over heating the polity but also encouraging Boko Haram and their sponsors to continue in their nefarious acts.”
ACN Reps hail Azazi
Speaking on the issue, members of the ACN in the House of Representatives hailed Azazi for his frank assessment of the PDP-led government, saying he should be commended for his courage and not condemned.
In interviews with Vanguard, the lawmakers said what the NSA said was a well known fact by other political parties and Nigerians, which has been validated by an inner member of government.
According to the Minority Whip of the House, Samson Osagie, “he merely spoke the truth and he should be applauded. Besides, there is inextricable link between government policies exemplified by a party that has held the country by its jugular and the reaction of the people who are bearing the brunt of inequitable and excruciating policies of the ruling party. Azazi spoke frankly.”
Also, the Minority Leader of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, said: “Azazi has not said anything we didn’t know or haven’t said.
For Pally Iriase, with the revelation by the NSA, “the truth is coming out at last. We have always believed that until Nigerians free themselves democratically from the vice grip of this monster called PDP, we will not experience peace and progress.”
NSA, PDP have brought shame to Nigeria — ACN
Reacting, the ACN in a statement, yesterday, by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the shame brought on Nigeria by this public spat was not so much in the contents of their statements but in the fact that a ruling party and a top political appointee of the central government it controls could be so naive and uncouth over a serious national security issue.
‘’We have said it several times that the PDP and the government it controls at the centre are clueless, confused and totally incapable of piloting the affairs of this nation. Is there any better evidence of this cluelessness than what Nigerians are witnessing now?
“It does not matter how much the President tries to engage in damage control over the statement credited to his NSA, or the ever-so knee-jerk and poorly-thought-out reaction of the sinking behemoth called the PDP, the reality is that the NSA’s shocking comments reflect the thinking in the highest echelon of the Jonathan administration, that the crooked politics of the PDP is behind the Boko Haram crisis, and that it has escalated because a son of the South-South is sitting in Aso Rock.”
CNPP hails Azazi’s ‘uncommon courage’
The CNPP hailed what it described as the “uncommon courage” of General Azazi for hitting the nail on the head, telling the PDP the bitter truth that the party by conduct was “undemocratic, despotic and unabashedly exclusive.”
The group said Jonathan and his party should honourably accept the responsibility that the fierce struggle for power — do-or-die – “is the root cause of the fault lines dislocating our democracy.”
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Osita Okechukwu, the CNPP said: “We have no doubt that General Azazi, as a core trained, intelligent officer must have closely observed how since inception PDP had manipulated its primary elections and indeed general elections, alienated its members and a critical segment of the polity, contrary to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
These undemocratic and unconstitutional acts, without doubt, breed acrimony and simulate insecurity. This is the General’s message.
“In this context, we caution the PDP to neither dump the message nor the messenger; rather PDP should carefully dissect, analyze and reflect on the message placed on marble by Gen. Azazi. How can PDP innocently claim to be the strongest catalyst for unity and progress of Nigeria when the security and welfare of the people have nose-dived, the society is polarized down the line and Nigeria is dangerously sliding into a failed state? The PDP should please peruse the National Bureau of Statistics 2009 Report to determine whether Nigerians in spite of unprecedented oil revenue is better today than in 1999.”
It noted that the unfortunate outcome of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s alleged stranglehold on the party “is that since his election as president in 1999, neither PDP nor the nation has had free, fair and transparent election.”
For President Jonathan to transform the country, the CNPP said he must first transform his party, make it truly democratic and refresh his mind with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s comment before and after the 2011 presidential primaries.
“It is our candid view that the zoning arrangement of the PDP might be well intentioned, but as Gen. Azazi posited, was ill managed from the onset. For in the first instance, Chief Obasanjo was a mismatch to compensate the South West for the annulment of Chief MKO Abiola’s victory. The South-West demonstrated this in private with the then Head of State, Gen Abdulsalami Abubaker (rtd) and publicly by their voting pattern in 1999. Let the best rule the country.
“In sum, President Jonathan should look at the mirror, do soul searching and reflect in order to stamp out the Boko Haram and other anti-democratic elements in his cabinet, the legislature and the judiciary as he once told the world. This is Gen. Azazi’s message.”