Musdapha Ilo, Maiduguri
Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State and his counterpart in Yobe State, Ibrahim Gaidam, have criticised Ijaw elder statesman, Edwin Clark, for calling on President Goodluck Jonathan to declare a full scale of state of emergency in the three troubled northeast states.
Clark last Thursday also urged the presidency to appoint military administrators for Borno, Adamawa, Yobe States in the bid to curb the activities of the Boko Haram sects in the region.
He said, “There is nothing like partial declaration of a state of emergency in the 1999 Constitution; what section 305(c) of the 1999 Constitution contemplates is the recourse to “…extraordinary measures to restore peace and security” where there is “breakdown of public order and public safety”. This in effect means that all democratic institutions should be suspended to permit the military exercise full control until peace and order returns.”
Clark also appealed to the leadership and members of the National Assembly to give their support to this position, by passing a resolution approving the proclamation of extension of state of emergency in the states by the president in the interest of peace, security, national stability, cohesion and unity.
He stressed that securing and safeguarding the lives of the citizens of Nigeria is a more sacred duty than considerations of political expediency and accused the State Governors of the affected states of playing deadly politics with lives of innocent citizens.
Governor Godswill Akapbio of Akwa-Ibom State, had also supported this position.
But responding, governors Nyako and Gaidem, have described Clark’s comment as “unthoughtful, provocative, diversionary, totally out of sync with democratic norms and values and unfortunate.”
The governors in a joint press statement issued by their spokesperson, Ahmad Sajoh and Abdullahi Bego, said it was mind boggling that Clark and Akpabio who are beneficiaries of constitutionalism and democracy in Nigeria, would seek to put both in jeopardy on the altar of personal interests.
“As a former senator, Mr. Clark would ordinarily be assumed to understand the meaning of the provisions of section 305 of the 1999 Constitution which gives the President the power to declare a state of emergency in all or parts of the country. One would also assume that Mr. Clark would know that a state of emergency is also not exclusively applicable to security situations,” the governors said.
The governors of the affected states insist they were democratically elected as governors by millions of people in their respective states and currently represent and serve more than ten million, hence they should be allowed to fulfil their obligations to the people without further interference.
They noted that the security crisis in the three north-eastern states is widely seen and believed to be criminal rather than religious or political, adding that the situation has never led to a breakdown in governance in the three states or resulted in dangerous power struggle among politicians to warrant a complete takeover.
“Given that the maintenance and promotion of security is a collective responsibility, the governors deserve commendation for what they have done and continue to do rather than the kind of contempt and disrespect shown by people such as Mr. Edwin Clark, who have no proper and reasonable understanding of the issues at stake,” the statement said.
It read further, “Governors Gaidam and Nyako therefore reject and condemn in their totality the anti-democratic sentiments expressed by Mr. Edwin Clark. The governors call on Mr. Clark, now in his 80’s, to use his age and experience by contributing to the peace and unity of the nation rather than stoking tensions and being a voice for division and disunity.”
The governors also reaffirmed their determination to continue to mobilize all available resources and to partner with all stakeholders, especially security agencies to ensure the restoration of peace to the region and the nation in general.