By SONI DANIEL
ABUJA—As the spate of violence escalates, particularly in the North, former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, has asked President Goodluck Jonathan to quit if he could not solve the growing security threats to lives and property in the country.
El-Rufai and Jonathan
In an exclusive interview with Vanguard yesterday, el-Rufai said it was indefensible for the government to allow innocent souls to be slaughtered daily without any response from the administration. El-Rufai spoke against the backdrop of Chief Edwin Clark’s assertion that northern leaders were not doing enough to curtail the Boko Haram sect, apparently to bring down the administration.While dismissing Clark’s allegation as untenable, the former minister warned the elder statesman to desist from making inflammatory and unverified statements capable of exposing him to ridicule instead of applause that he deserves at his age.
El-Rufai also asked the former federal information commissioner to desist from insulting northern leaders at the slightest opportunity.
According to him, Jonathan has already made it clear to Nigerians and the international community that the gale of bombings in the land was beyond the capability of his administration to handle, a situation, he described as unfortunate. He stated that other Nigerian heads of state had at different times and periods been confronted with serious challenges and they deployed appropriate state apparatus to deal with them without resorting to wrong quarters and the ordinary citizens for help. “Why is it that only President Jonathan cannot solve Nigeria’s security problem? el-Rufai asked.
“If he cannot do the job for which he was elected to do, he should consider going home. No president has ever sought the help of the ordinary people in tackling security problems in this country.
“The protection of lives and property of the citizens is the basis of any government in power and if the leadership has failed woefully to deploy the resources and information at its disposal to enforce coercive power for the benefit of the society, then it had no reason to stay on,” he stated.
He said the current situation in the country had made many Nigerians to be worried about the future of the country, warning that if urgent steps were not taken to reverse the dangerous trend, the country could be plunged into a deeper crisis.
On the controversy over the implementation of the budget, the former minister maintained that if the budget had worked, it would have brought some relief to the ordinary citizens who had almost been choked by the economic stagnation in the country. “Yes, all of us would have seen the results if the budget had been well implemented. A good economic system shows in the quality of lives of the people and does not end on the pages of newspapers,” he added. The former minister said the finance minister alone cannot change the current gloomy economic outlook in the country, as a tree cannot make a forest.
On the allegations that he was making noise preparatory to contesting the presidential election in 2015, he cautioned those making the claims to wait for 2015, pointing out however, that he was qualified to do so if he wanted.