In the aftermath of the indictment of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by the national security adviser (NSA), General Andrew Owoeye Azazi (rtd), for being responsible for the rising insecurity in the country, President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday refuted the claim.
He said that the security adviser would have to explain to him what he meant by what was credited to him in the media.
“ I don’t believe that it is undemocratic practices in the PDP that could give rise to Boko Haram or any other group. So, probably, people need to ask the NSA to explain what he really meant. I have read it from the newspapers. I don’t believe that it is undemocratic practices in the PDP that gave rise to this or any other militant group,” he said.
Fielding questions from newsmen after visiting the premises of THISDAY in Abuja that was bombed on Thursday, President Jonathan said that the NSA “must read the script himself and listen to him (NSA) before deciding whether Azazi said so or not.”
Furthermore, the president said: “So until I read it, I do not believe that the NSA meant that the practices in the PDP are anti-democratic. I cannot comment much on what happened in the First Republic, but in the Second Republic that I marginally participated, the aborted republic, I marginally participated, and this Fourth Republic that I am a key actor, presently as a member of the first eleven, I still see that the PDP is one of the most democratic parties.”
The embattled NSA had stoked fire on Friday in Asaba, the capital of Delta State, at the second South-South summit, that the internal wrangling and undemocratic nature of PDP were responsible for the rise in insecurity in the country, especially the Boko Haram insurgency.
PDP, in a statement yesterday, the second in 24 hours, dismissed the NSA’s remarks, describing it as a “very poor reflection of the foundation and the internal workings of the party, as well as a wrong deduction on the roots of security challenges in the country”.
A statement signed by the party’s national publicity secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, reads in part: “We wish to state without any ambiguity that our great party remains the only political party in Nigeria that is not owned by any ethnic group, person or group of persons. All Nigerians are equal stakeholders.
All our special National conventions for the election of our presidential flag-bearers since 1998 have seen candidates emerge on the strength of national unity, common motive which envisages that every section of the country, majority or minority, can aspire to the highest political office in our fatherland via a well entrenched rotation and zoning principle in the constitution of the party.
“Our party will not relent on seeking an end to the scourge of violent attacks in the country and will continue to encourage the security agencies to do their best in the interest of the nation.
“However, it is important for us to advise appointees of government to navigate only on the terrain where their authority will not be humbled by superior knowledge, so as to avoid attracting undeserving and unnecessary ill-feelings for their principal. The PDP will not cease supporting and assisting the NSA inasmuch as he remains focused on his job of securing the lives and property of Nigerians.”
However, the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, (CNPP), the umbrella organization of all the opposition parties in the country, yesterday commended the NSA for his courage.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP SUNDAY, the national publicity secretary of CNPP, Mr. Osita Okechukwu said that what the NSA said was a confirmation of the position of the opposition political parties in the past 13 years since PDP assumed the reins of power.
Okechukwu stated: “We had maintained that PDP is not a democratic party because the party lacks the three pivots of democracy, which are representation, transparency and justice. In PDP, their understanding of representation is the representation of the ‘she-goat’ syndrome.
Representation means inclusiveness which the PDP does not recognize. The total philosophy of PDP is, food is ready and share the money is their motto. When you build a political party along that line, you are likely going to engender acrimony and alienation of the people. The tendency is for them to become angry and feel aggrieved.”
Contacted, Mr. Yinka Odumaki, the spokesman of the presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the 2011 general election, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) said that what transpired shows, ‘ the sheer disconnect between President Jonathan and the NSA to disagree publicly.”
Mr. Odumaki said that what is playing out is a confirmation of what the opposition political parties, especially the CPC, had been saying.
However, a source close to the NSA dismissed the insinuation that a big row might be brewing between President Jonathan and Azazi over the comments.
According to the source, the President believes that the NSA was merely expressing his opinion. “But we all know that what the NSA said was the truth.
However, being a military man, he summoned the courage to say what many of us know to be the truth but no one has been courageous enough to say so. I know that some big people in the PDP will not be happy, but there is nothing they can do about it. It may sound very unpalatable, but that is how it is”, the source said.