Monday, December 23, 2013

President Jonathan replies OBJ: Your letter is full of lies and a threat to national security

President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday formally replied the 18-page letter written to him by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, saying it was a threat national security.

The letter titled "Re: Before It is too Late," was made available to journalists by his(Jonathan) Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati in Abuja. Read Below;

I wish to formally acknowledge your letter dated December 2, 2013 and other previous correspondence similar to it.

You will recall that all the letters were brought to me by hand. Although both of us discussed some of the issues in those letters, I had not, before now,
seen the need for any formal reply since, to me, they
contained advice from a former
President to a serving President.
Obviously, you felt differently
because in your last letter, you
complained about my not acknowledging or replying your
previous letters.

It is with the greatest possible
reluctance that I now write this
reply. I am most uneasy about
embarking on this
unprecedented and
unconventional form of open communication between me and
a former leader of our country
because I know that there are
more acceptable and dignified
means of doing so.

But I feel obliged to reply your
letter for a number of reasons:
one, you formally requested for
a reply and not sending you one
will be interpreted as ignoring a
former President.

Secondly, Nigerians know the
role you have played in my
political life and given the
unfortunate tone of your letter,
clearly, the grapes have gone
sour. Therefore, my side of the story also needs to be told.

The third reason why I must
reply you in writing is that your
letter is clearly a threat to
national security as it may
deliberately or inadvertently set
the stage for subversion.

The fourth reason for this reply
is that you raised very weighty
issues, and since the letter has
been made public, Nigerians are
expressing legitimate concerns. A
response from me therefore, becomes very necessary.

The fifth reason is that this
letter may appear in biographies
and other books which political
commentators on Nigeria's
contemporary politics may write.
It is only proper for such publications to include my
comments on the issues raised in
your letter.

Sixthly, you are very unique in
terms of the governance of this
country. You were a military
Head of State for three years
and eight months, and an
elected President for eight years. That means you have
been the Head of Government of
Nigeria for about twelve years.
This must have, presumably,
exposed you to a lot of
information. Thus when you make a statement, there is the
tendency for people to take it

The seventh reason is that the
timing of your letter coincided
with other vicious releases. The
Speaker of the House of
Representatives spoke of my
"body language" encouraging corruption. A letter written to
me by the CBN Governor alleging
that NNPC, within a period of 19
months did not remit the sum of
USD49.8 billion to the federation
account, was also deliberately leaked to the public.

The eighth reason is that it
appears that your letter was
designed to incite Nigerians from
other geopolitical zones against
me and also calculated to
promote ethnic disharmony. Worse still, your letter was
designed to instigate members of
our Party, the PDP, against me.

The ninth reason is that your
letter conveys to me the feeling
that landmines have been laid
for me. Therefore, Nigerians
need to have my response to
the issues raised before the mines explode.

The tenth and final reason why
my reply is inevitable is that you
have written similar letters and
made public comments in
reference to all former
Presidents and Heads of Government starting from Alhaji
Shehu Shagari and these have
instigated different actions and
reactions. The purpose and
direction of your letter is
distinctly ominous, and before it is too late, my clarifications on
the issues need to be placed on

Let me now comment on the
issues you raised. In commenting I
wish to crave your indulgence to
compare what is happening now
to what took place before. This,
I believe, will enable Nigerians see things in better perspective
because we must know where
we are coming from so as to
appreciate where we now are,
and to allow us clearly map out
where we are going.

You raised concerns about the
security situation in the country.
I assure you that I am fully
aware of the responsibility of
government for ensuring the
security of the lives and property of citizens. My
Administration is working
assiduously to overcome current
national security challenges, the
seeds of which were sown under
previous administrations. There have been some setbacks; but
certainly there have also been
great successes in our efforts to
overcome terrorism and

Those who continue to down-
play our successes in this
regard, amongst whom you must
now be numbered, appear to
have conveniently forgotten the
depths to which security in our country had plunged before now.

At a stage, almost the entire
North-East of Nigeria was under
siege by insurgents. Bombings of
churches and public buildings in
the North and the federal capital
became an almost weekly occurrence. Our entire national
security apparatus seemed
nonplussed and unable to come
to grips with the new threat
posed by the berthing of
terrorism on our shores.

But my administration has since
brought that very unacceptable
situation under significant
control. We have overhauled our
entire national security
architecture, improved intelligence gathering, training,
funding, logistical support to our
armed forces and security
agencies, and security
collaboration with friendly
countries with very visible and positive results.

The scope and impact of
terrorist operations have been
significantly reduced and efforts
are underway to restore full
normalcy to the most affected
North Eastern region and initiate a post-crisis development
agenda, including a special
intervention programme to
boost the region's socio-
economic progress.

In doing all this, we have kept
our doors open for dialogue with
the insurgents and their
supporters through efforts such
as the work of the Presidential
Committee on Dialogue and the Peaceful Resolution of the
Security Challenges in the North-
East. You also know that the
Governor of Borno State
provided the items you
mentioned to me as carrots. Having done all this and more, it
is interesting that you still
accuse me of not acting on your
hardly original recommendation
that the carrot and stick option
be deployed to solve the Boko Haram problem.

Your suggestion that we are
pursuing a "war against violence
without understanding the root
causes of the violence and
applying solutions to deal with all
the underlying factors" is definitely misplaced because from
the onset of this administration,
we have been implementing a
multifaceted strategy against
militancy, insurgency and
terrorism that includes poverty alleviation, economic
development, education and
social reforms.

Even though basic education is
the constitutional responsibility
of States, my administration has,
as part of its efforts to address
ignorance and poor education
which have been identified as two of the factors responsible
for making some of our youth
easily available for use as cannon
fodder by insurgents and
terrorists, committed huge funds
to the provision of modern basic education schools for the Almajiri
in several Northern States. The
Federal Government under my
leadership has also set up nine
additional universities in the
Northern States and three in the Southern States in keeping
with my belief that proper
education is the surest way of
emancipating and empowering
our people.

More uncharitable persons may
even see a touch of
sanctimoniousness in your new
belief in the carrot and stick
approach to overcoming militancy
and insurgency. You have always referred to how you hit Odi in
Bayelsa State to curb militancy
in the Niger Delta. If the invasion
of Odi by the Army was the
stick, I did not see the
corresponding carrot. I was the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa
State then, and as I have always
told you, the invasion of Odi did
not solve any militancy problem
but, to some extent, escalated
it. If it had solved it, late President Yar'Adua would not
have had to come up with the
amnesty program. And while
some elements of the problem
may still be there, in general,
the situation is reasonably better.

In terms of general insecurity in
the country and particularly the
crisis in the Niger Delta, 2007
was one of the worst periods in
our history. You will recall three
incidents that happened in 2007 which seemed to have been
orchestrated to achieve sinister
objectives. Here in Abuja, a
petrol tanker loaded with explosives was to be rammed into the INEC building. But luckily for the country, an electric pole stopped the tanker from hitting the INEC building. It is clear that this incident was meant to exploit the general sense of insecurity in the nation at the time to achieve the aim of stopping the 2007 elections. It is instructive that you, on a number of occasions, alluded to this fact.
Continue reading President Jonathan replies OBJ: Your letter is full of lies and a threat to national security.

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