Governors of Adamawa and Yobe state, Murtala Nyako and Ibrahim Gaidam, on Sunday expressed their disgust over Edwin Clark?s call for declaration of full-scale state of emergency that will replace the governors with sole administrators in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.
The three states have been under emergency rule since May 2013 with the democratic structures in the state remaining despite the emergency rule.
Chief Clark, an Ijaw leader and former federal commissioner, called on President Goodluck Jonathan to heed his advice and appoint the sole administrators with immediate effect.
Governors Nyako and Gaidam, who issued a joint press statement through their respective spokesmen, Ahmad Sajoh and ABdullahi Bego, said Mr. Clark made ?a very serious analytical faux pas when he tried to liken the security situation in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa States with the situation in Ekiti state when an
emergency rule was declared in that state during a previous administration.?
?The situation between now and then could not be more different?, they said.
Here is the full text of their statement;
?Mr. Edwin Clark was quoted as calling on President Goodluck Jonathan to declare what he called ?a total state of emergency? in the three states of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa, suspend all democratic structures and appoint sole
administrators to run the affairs of the states.
Mr. Godswill Akpabio, governor of Akwa Ibom state was also reported by sections of the media to have made similar comments.
?Their Excellences Governors Gaidam and Nyako and indeed all right thinking Nigerians consider these comments as unthoughtful, provocative, diversionary, totally out of sync with democratic norms and values and unfortunate. The phrase ‘sole administrator?, as noted by many commentators, is a ?constitutional aberration which cannot be found, even impliedly, in any of the 320 sections of the 1999 Constitution?. Mr. Clark?s comments (and indeed Mr. Akpabio?s) therefore smack of fascism and are clearly a veiled attempt at sabotaging our nation?s democracy which should be resisted by all and sundry.
?Curiously, both Clark and Akpabio are beneficiaries of constitutionalism and democracy in Nigeria. It is therefore mind boggling that the two would seek to put both constitutionalism and democracy in jeopardy on the altar of their 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.
?That Mr. Clark would gladly and blindly ignore overriding legal opinion and historical contexts and suggest something that goes against the letter and spirit of our Constitution as a democratic nation go to show that not only is he
not wishing Mr. President well; he in fact is bent on scuttling our democracy apparently in pursuit of totally parochial, ethnic and political agenda.
?First, Excellences the governors of the affected states were democratically elected as governors by millions of people in their respective states.
Currently, they represent and are serving more than ten million. Second, the security crisis in the three north-eastern states is widely seen and believed to be criminal and insurgent rather than religious or political. It has never led to a breakdown in governance in the three states or resulted in dangerous power struggle among politicians. Third, the governors have always responded by doing what needed to be done to protect the life and property of the people by supporting the security agencies on the ground morally, financially and logistically even though the ongoing state of emergency means that they do not have control over security operations.
?They have also led a very serious effort at mobilizing the populations of their states to support the ongoing security effort and to pray fervently to God in mosques and churches and homes. Military commanders and security chiefs
on the ground in the states can testify to this.
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.
?Mr. Clark also demonstrated crass ignorance and insensitivity to the plight of people in the northeast by suggesting that somehow the missing Chibok school girls would not have been kidnapped if Borno State was under a ?total state of emergency?. Is Mr. Clark not aware that over the past 12 months, there was all manner of security presence in the three states when we witnessed some of the most heinous and despicable terrorist attacks on our schools in Mamudo, Buni Yadi and Gujba and on our towns and villages from Izge to Baga?
?Clearly, Mr. Clark does not appear concerned about the difficulties that our people go through daily as a result of the prevailing security situation even as people in the three affected states have continued to demonstrate commendable levels of support and partnership with the security agents on the ground.
Excellences 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 call on Nigerians to discountenance Mr. Clark?s unstatesmanlike and unfortunate comments and to continue to support the broad based effort aimed at addressing the security challenges currently
facing the country.
?The governors reaffirm their determination to continue to mobilize all available resources and to partner with all stakeholders to ensure the restoration of peace and security in the region and the nation in general.?