DAME PATIENCE JONATHAN
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has decried the melodramatic
intervention of First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan in the abduction of
over 200 school girls as distracting, counter-productive and
calibrated to scapegoat others with the sole intention of exculpating
her husband rather than finding the girls.
?Make no mistake about it, there is nothing wrong in the First Lady,
as a woman and the mother of the nation, playing a role in resolving
the unfortunate abduction of the girls, but that role must be within
the realms of social activism, not in policy making or conduct of
state affairs,? the party said in a statement issued in Lagos on
Tuesday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai
It warned that melodrama, highlighted by the shedding of
made-for-television crocodile tears, cannot and will not bring the
girls back safely to their parents.
?What will bring them back is a purposeful and sustained effort by
the Federal Government, which has hitherto been tentative and
lethargic. Therefore, enough of the distracting, absurd and
overbearing show that the First Lady has put up in the past few
days,? APC said.
The party advised the First Lady to stop grand standing and to get
real by leading a protest of other First Ladies from all the 36 states
of the Federation from the Eagle Square to Aso Rock to pressure her
husband, President Goodluck Jonathan, on whose laps falls the
responsibility of leading the nation to find the girls, to act fast.
It also urged the First Lady to stop apportioning blames at this time
so that all efforts can be geared towards finding the girls
?Our dear First Lady needs to be told clearly that her husband, the
President, is the nation?s Chief Security Officer. Our dear First Lady
needs to be informed that because Borno State, where the unfortunate
abduction took place, is under a state of emergency, her husband, the
President, has automatically assumed all security powers. It is
therefore wrong for our dear First Lady to be threatening to march on
Borno to ask the Governor to produce the girls. That march should be
to Aso Rock instead,? APC said.
The party wondered where the First Lady derived the powers to summon
elected and appointed officials to Aso Rock to answer her queries over
the missing girls, saying by doing so, she is usurping the President?s
constitutional role, making him to look weak and ineffective in
conducting the affairs of state and also making Nigeria the butt of
jokes in the international community.
?The First Lady has summoned the Borno State Police Commissioner; the
Divisional Police Officer for Chibok; the Borno State Commissioner for
Education, the relevant Local Government Chairman, the school
principal and the school gate man, among others. Where did she derive
the authority or power to issue such summons? Does she know the
implication of forcing security officials to divulge, on public
television, sensitive information that could even hamper the search
for the girls? How can a Police Commissioner, who is not accountable
to the Governor of a state, be subject to the First Lady? Where in the
Constitution, or any law for that matter, is the role and powers of
the First Lady delineated or articulated?? it queried.
APC said if the First Lady would not heed the advice to stop summoning
public officials to her executive chambers, then the officials should
stop honouring such illegal and unconstitutional summons.
The party also took the First Lady to task over her comments that
anytime she comes out, like a masquerade, something happens, wondering
why then she did not deem it necessary to have come out in the first
few days of the girls? abduction so that ?something would have
?Apparently, the First Lady believed, as she revealed on public
television and as it has been insinuated in certain quarters, that the
girls? abduction was a ruse aimed at embarrassing her husband, hence
neither she nor her husband took the whole tragedy seriously. That
explained their delay in acting.
?Now that the Boko Haram terrorists have claimed responsibility for
the abduction and even threatened to sell the girls, the nation hopes
that the First Lady and her husband now believe this is no
?politics?,? it said
Meanwhile, the APC has condemned the clamour to release the names and
pictures of the girls by those who are apparently doubting their
abduction, including PDP National Women Leader Kema Chikwe.
The party said while publishing the names and pictures of the girls
would not in any way facilitate their rescue, it would succeed in
stigmatizing them for life when eventually they are found and returned
?These girls, who are mostly within the age-range of 16-18, are
children, and deserved to be protected. Any attempt to publish their
names and pictures, as being demanded in certain quarters, will
stigmatize them for life, against the backdrop of the sex slavery
conditions which many fear they may have been subjected to. Therefore,
let us spare them any more trauma than they may have been subjected to
already,? it said.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed
Interim National Publicity Secretary