2nd November, 2014
Nigeria’s main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has called for an independent inquiry to unravel the circumstances surrounding the apparently fake ceasefire deal announced by President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration on 17 October, now that the sect’s leadership, Abubakar Shekau has described as an impostor the man with whom the phantom deal was negotiated.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said Nigerians will like to know how the Jonathan administration got swindled by an impostor, who the major players were and what the government plans to do to address what has now become a monumental national and international embarrassment.
“President Jonathan owes Nigerians an explanation on what has now turned to be an unprecedented global faux pas. Engaging in cheap damage control by insisting on the genuineness of the deal will only amount to taking Nigerians for a ride,” the party said.
APC said the saddest part of what has now turned out to be a fake deal is that it gave false hopes to the parents of the 218 school girls who remain in Boko Haram captivity that their children’s release was imminent, especially
as the government even announced a specific date for the release of the girls.
“Now the parents and indeed all Nigerians have been victimised for the umpteenth time by the same government that has failed in its main reason for existence, which is the security and welfare of the citizenry,” the party said, recalling its earlier warning to the Jonathan administration not to use the girls as pawns on its political chess board.
APC wondered whether the government sought to buy time and gain political mileage by knowingly negotiating with a man who has no authority to do so on behalf of Boko Haram, as claimed by the sect’s leadership, in which case the government will be guilty of political fraud, or whether the government was not competent enough to know who to negotiate with, which will only reinforce the perception of this federal government as being blatantly incompetent.
“The ceasefire deal with Boko Haram was announced at the highest level of the military and supported by the political authority on Oct. 17th. Now that it has been described as a fluke, there is every indication that the Jonathan administration was swindled by someone masquerading as a Boko Haram negotiator, while the administration itself went ahead to fool Nigerians as well as the international community. Whatever happens, the sole responsibility falls on the administration.
“Following the gleeful announcement of the deal and despite the doubts surrounding it, our party deliberately refrained from commenting on it and even wished it was real so that our long-suffering people can get some respite from the devilish terror group that has dispatched thousands into their early graves, maimed even many more and ruined the economic and social life of a large chunk of the society.
“When Boko Haram continued to carry out deadly attacks and annex territories, despite the so-called ceasefire, we waited for the government to tell Nigerians what was happening, but there was no convincing explanation. When the date announced for the release of the girls passed, we waited for the government to tell Nigerians what the problem was, but all we got from the easily excitable and trifling presidential spokesmen was platitude
“Now that the deal is said to be a fluke and everything points to that, the Jonathan administration must be contrite enough to own up to its gaffe, if indeed it is one, or its contrived deceit, and also face the possible consequences from a stupefied citizenry. It cannot and must not just be another forgotten instance
in a series of gaffes by a serial bumbling government,” the statement read.