18th April, 2014
Governors of the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC were not invited to the expanded security meeting called by President Goodluck Jonathan Thursday to discuss the security problems facing the country.
“No, they were not invited,” was the curt reply of Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, who led other state chief executives elected on the platform of PDP to the meeting.
His response punctured the criticism by Olisa Metuh, the spokesman of the PDP, who attacked the APC governors as sponsors of terrorism, because they were absent at the meeting.
Reuben Abati, spokesperson for President Jonathan had indicated that all the governors of 36 States of Nigeria were invited to the meeting called in the aftermath of security scare caused by the bombing of a bus terminus in Nyanya, a suburb of Abuja last Monday and the abduction of over 100 girls by suspected Boko Haram members Monday evening.
Abati had indicated in the statement that the meeting will be attended by the all the governors of the federation.
But Akpabio told journalists after the meeting that the PDP governors requested for the meeting with the President.
“This meeting is a fallout of our meeting which we held with PDP governors and we felt that there was a need for us to meet the president and the security chiefs.
The two hour closed-door meeting of was attended by 20 governors elected on the platform of Labour Party and APGA controlled states with national security chiefs.
Akpabio who is also the Chairman of PDP Governors’ Forum added that an expanded National Security Council meeting with all State governors summoned by President Goodluck Jonathan has been rescheduled for April 23.
“Mr. President has listened to us and even said that since it is a problem that involves all the states of the federation, It is better for all the state governors to be in attendance.
“Because of that, he has graciously agreed to meet with all the 36 governors on Wednesday by 4 pm.
“Of course, you know we are very much concerned first as PDP governors and the center belongs to the PDP and so we felt that we should see our dear president and if need be, with some of the security chiefs.
“He has graciously listened to us and he said since it is a national issue, we must have all the 36 governors in attendance.
“So I believe strongly that notice will be going out and all governors will be meeting with Mr. President and service chiefs next week Wednesday; so we can sit and discuss and proffer solutions to the current insecurity in the country,” he said.
He also said the Governors did not discuss the possibility of extending the current state of emergency in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno states which is due to expire this month at the meeting.
The Governors of the three states who are members of opposition APC were not present at the meeting.
“That is a national issue and if you are to discuss it, you can’t shave a man’s head behind him. The governors of the states that are involved in emergency are not here.
“So, I believe that issue will be taken on when all the governors are around on Wednesday,” said Akpabio.
Akpabio said he personally invited governors of Ondo and Anambra states, Olusegun Mimiko and Willy Obiano who are from Labour Party and APGA respectively to the meeting.
He said he was sure that the governors from the APC controlled States would attend the rescheduled meeting.
“I do not think there is a governor who will not love to be here to also add his voice and suggestion and how we can tackle the current situation.
“We must face the situation and it is not something we can politicise; you don’t politicise security.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had in a statement issued on Thursday used the alleged boycott of the meeting by the President by the opposition Governors to reinforce its claim that APC is aiding and abetting terrorism in the country through “omission and commission”.
The accusation was contained in a statement issued by Olisa Metuh, the National Publicity Secretary of PDP on 17 April in Abuja.
Metuh said that APC demonstrated this when it shunned a meeting called by the Federal Government on Thursday to find solution to the current security challenge.
“When we said that the All Progressives Congress (APC), aids and abets terror in Nigeria by omission and commission, some Nigerians doubted us.
“But what further proof can there be of the culpability of the APC than the decision of its governors to shun the National Security Council meeting called by the president to deliberate on ways to bring the sponsors of terror and their footmen to book?
“It is important to note that APC governors do not shun meetings where the Federal Government takes care of their financial interests. But as this meeting is meant to take care of the interests of Nigerians, they shunned it,” he said.
Metuh also accused the APC of not being happy with the news that police and security agents were closing in on the perpetrators of the Nyanya blast.
“It is certainly more than curious that the APC governors, particularly those whose states are at the thick of the Boko Haram insurgency are the once who are trying to subvert meetings called to address the malaise.
“Nigerians should be conscious of their antics and read the body language of the APC. They may make the appropriate noises from time to time, but in the fight against terrorism, actions speak louder than word,” he blasted.