ACN To PDP: Stop Using Religion To Destabilise Southwest

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The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has warned the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against continuing to play the religious card in its desperate and ongoing attempt to destabilize the South-west, saying the consequences of such a misadventure will be too grave for the nation.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Monday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the concocted accusations against Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola, that he is trying to Islamize the state and also engineer secession, are part of the PDP’s grand plan to use religion as a destabilizing force in the South-west in particular and the whole country in Nigeria.

It said the fact that the PDP desperadoes and their collaborators in the security services could even try to link Governor Aregbesola with Boko Haram is an indication of how low they are willing to sink just to carry out their nefarious plot.

ACN also expressed surprise that in its desperation, the PDP ensured that its collaborators in the security services, in routing their imaginary security report, bypassed the normal channel of communication on national security issues.

“The South-west as a region does not have a history of religious intolerance as, in most families, adherents of the various faith have co-existed peacefully through the ages. It is therefore curious that a party that prides itself as pan-Nigeria will seek to end the age-long religious tolerance in this region just for political expediency,’’ ACN said.

The party said any keen observer of the way the PDP-controlled federal government has handled the Boko Haram crisis will not be too surprised that the party’s goons in the South-west, backed by their clueless bosses at the federal level, are resorting to religion in their inordinate quest to ‘recapture’ the region they so mindlessly plundered in their first coming.

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“The Boko Haram crisis has become the meal ticket for the PDP and its chop-I-chop members, what with the huge chunk (about a quarter of the 2012 budget) allocated to ‘combating’ it. It is also the party’s trump card for maintaining a stranglehold on the nation, hence its flame must be kept aglow at all costs, human or material.

“It is also common knowledge that President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP has frittered away the goodwill that followed him into office, through a succession of poorly-thought-out policies. With his eyes firmly set on another mandate even when he has not justified the current one, he and his party believe that his surest ticket to another mandate is to keep the flame of Boko Haram burning, and continue misinforming the international community that the crisis is rooted in religion, rather than in years of irresponsible governance, the type of which the PDP has foisted on Nigeria since 1999.

“That is why the PDP federal government has paid only a lip service to all efforts to find a lasting solution to the Boko Haram crisis.

It was the government’s insincerity (the mediators said so and the government did not deny) that led to the collapse of the most recent attempt to resolve the crisis. In the post-911 world, the best way to attract sympathy from the international community is to put the terrorism badge on any acts of brigandage or social disorder and then link it with religion.

“However, the game is up for the PDP, and the party will know this if it bothers to read between the lines the recent apt characterization of the Boko Haram crisis by the Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs at the US State Department, Mr. Johnnie Carson,’’ ACN said.

The party therefore warned: “PDP should stop exploiting religion for whatever purpose. It should stop encouraging those who are bent on exploiting it to destabilize our country. And as Mr. Carson rightly advised, let us make it impossible for Boko Haram or any group whatsoever to ‘capitalize on popular frustration with leaders, poor government service delivery and the dismal living conditions’ of many of our citizens. The only way to do this is good governance, not scare mongering. We hope the PDP is listening.’’