State Governors And His Excellency’s Wrath By Olalekan Adetayo
President Goodluck Jonathan is obviously not happy with some state governors, especially those of them who derive pleasure in criticising him or his administration. Recent events have shown that he has drawn the battle line with these governors and has decided that he would be giving them back in the same measure at which they dole it out to him.
He started on February 24 during a media chat when he took on Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State for having the effrontery to declare publicly that the insurgents who are holding parts of the country, including his state hostage, are more equipped than security forces.
It was an angry Jonathan who described the statement as unbecoming of a state governor and threatened to withdraw soldiers from the state for one month and see whether Shettima would still remain in the Government House.
“Since the governor of Borno State felt that the Nigerian armed forces are not useful, he should tell Nigerians, I will pull them out of Borno State for one month, whether he will stay in that his Government House, just one month! Then I will go back and take over the state. If he thinks what he said is correct, then I will pull out the military from Borno State for one month. The governor should be mindful about what he is saying. Yes, there are issues. No matter how frustrated you are, you don’t make those kinds of statement,” the President had said.
Last Saturday, he also took on some unnamed governors in the troubled parts of the country, attributing the violence in their domain to their failure to provide primary and secondary education to their children. He regretted that such governors turn back to blame the violence on bad leadership. He chose to lash at them at the North East Zonal rally organised by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party in Bauchi, Bauchi State.
“Governors must make sure that our children go to primary and secondary school. Somebody hide under the colour of politics and cannot do his work for eights years. You still have so many children in your state not going to primary and secondary school and you open your mouth to say bad leadership. The Federal Government should come and make children in the primary and nursery school to go to school? Is it the Federal Government or the President that will come and send your children to secondary school?” he said.
It was however on Monday that Jonathan finally confessed that the criticisms from some state governors at a time was so tense that he would have quit his office for other people who can withstand the fire to come and take over from him if 50 per cent of the 36 state governors in the country had embarked on a similar action.
“The way some of the governors talk and behave, if 50 per cent of the governors behave that way, probably, we would have vacated this place and allow others to come and manage it for us,” Jonathan told a delegation of PDP stakeholders in the North Central who paid him a courtesy visit.
With these however, one will not be surprised if an inscription such as “State governors, beware” is written conspicuously in every part of the Villa for those who have ears among the state chief executives to hear what the spirit is saying through the man who had earlier described himself as the most criticised President in the world.
Sunday shooting: It’s no shaking for Mr. President
Residents of Asokoro, a highbrow area of the Federal Capital Territory, were rudely woken from their sleep on Sunday as the sounds of gunshots disrupted the peace that the neighbourhood is known for.
The gunshots came from the premises of the Department of State Security’s headquarters which is a stone’s throw from one of the gates that lead to the Presidential Villa.
So loud and frightening were the gunshots that people started sending messages to the social media to the effect that the seat of power could have been the target of those behind the incident. As expected, the incident led to a quick security beef-up in and around the villa with one of the access gates quickly closed to traffic and more armed soldiers deployed in strategic places. Military helicopters hovered the sky of the area known as the Three Arms Zone.
As it later turned out, the gunshots were as a result of an encounter between security operatives and some suspects in the detention facility of the DSS who engaged in jailbreak. Although authorities prefer to refer to the incident as attempted or foiled jailbreak, many suspects actually succeeded in their bid to escape from detention. This is judging by the number of those killed (officially put at 21) and those who were re-arrested. The surrounding bushes were said to have been thoroughly combed in operatives’ bid to re-arrest the fleeing suspects.
Funny enough, President Jonathan was in the Villa while the shooting spree lasted. Although, Jonathan had earlier promised that he would be worshipping in churches outside the Villa every last Sunday of the month, he still decided to take part in the service of the Aso Villa Chapel that day.
The reason was not far-fetched. That Sunday was celebrated worldwide as Mothering Sunday to honour mothers for the unique roles they play in families and the society. As usual, the Villa Chapel will not allow such opportunity to go by without members showing their love to the President’s wife, Patience; his mother, Eunice; and other female top government officials who are members of the chapel.
Understandably, Jonathan could not but wait behind to identify with his wife and mother. So by the time reports were making the rounds that he was holed up inside the Villa, insinuating that the shout-out was actually targeted at him, the President was already inside the chapel. In fact, he led some men in the church to sing special songs in honour of the mothers.
I was expecting to see or hear him spice up the special number with melodious tones from a giant-size guitar presented to him by the villa’s men during the commemoration of last year’s Father’s Day.
It took his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, to also take to the same social media to assure Nigerians that their President was safe and was in no way threatened by the incident.
“What happened at the SSS HQs has nothing to do with the Villa. President Jonathan is safe and well. Thank you for your concern and support,” Abati wrote on his Twitter handle.
Let’s do this again next Saturday. Stay away from trouble and enjoy your weekend.
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