APC Accuses Jonathan of Playing Dirty, European MP Claims Party is Funding Boko Haram

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has warned against the postponement of the 2015 general election, alleging that the Goodluck Jonathan ...

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has warned against the postponement of the 2015 general election, alleging that the Goodluck Jonathan administration is playing dirty politics with Boko Haram to defer the polls.

APC’s allegation came on the heels of a press statement by a member of the European Parliament, Franz Obermayr (MEP), accusing the main opposition party of channelling the parliament’s financial aid to Boko Haram and called on the European Commission (EC) to investigate alleged concerns over the party’s financial and political allegiance with the terror group.

The party, which reacted to a statement credited to Senate President, David Mark last week that elections under the current state of insecurity caused by the insurgents was not feasible, urged those nursing the plan to postpone the 2015 general election to drop the notion.

In a statement issued yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said those who are flying the kite of deferring the election, ostensibly because the nation is at war, are trying to imperil the nation’s democracy.

It said Nigerians would not accept, under any guise whatsoever, any scheme by desperate elected officials to get tenure elongation by subterfuge.
“Election is the lifeblood of democracy, the mechanism by which modern representative democracy operates. It is the only way for the citizenry to renew and refresh the governing process so they can get the most benefits out of democracy. Therefore, anyone that tries to sabotage this mechanism is aiming a dagger straight at the heart of democracy,” it said.
APC said the statement credited to Mark, “reflects the thinking in government circles, even though the senate president, having run into a wall of opposition over his unfortunate statement, has tried to step back from the comment”.

The party said it saw this coming, adding: “And we have said it at several fora: That the Jonathan administration has deliberately allowed the insurgency in the North-east, an opposition stronghold, to fester so he can cash in on it to get re-elected.

“Simply put, the administration has been playing dirty politics with Boko Haram, at the expense of the lives and property of the citizenry and the well-being of the nation.

“However, the administration is being too clever by half to think that Nigerians will reward it for its failure in its main reason for existence, which is the protection of the welfare and security of the citizens.
“There is just no way this government will be allowed to profit from its ineptness and conspiracy to prolong an insurgency that should have ended a long time ago.”

It said the statement by the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, that the commission had started preparing for elections even in the North-east, represented a ray of hope, but warned the electoral body to remain steadfast and not to cave in to what would be massive pressure from the Jonathan administration and its gong beaters to scuttle the 2015 elections.

APC said just like Jega had said, countries like Afghanistan and Iraq successfully held elections even though they were in a state of war, hence there is no reason why Nigeria could not organise elections because of the insurgency in a part of the country.

“We know the Jonathan administration is mortally afraid to face the electorate, having failed woefully to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people. We know many elected officials are also aware that they will be punished by the electorate because they have failed them. It is therefore easy for them to queue behind any plot to ensure the 2015 general election does not hold as planned, so they can get tenure extension.

“However, we have got news for these saboteurs: Nigerians have seen through their game and will not allow them to succeed in endangering our democracy. 2015 elections must hold as scheduled. This is not negotiable,” the party warned.

But as the party warned against the postponement of the 2015 elections, a senior member of the European Parliament has accused APC of channelling the parliament’s financial aid to Boko Haram in the North-east of Nigeria.

Obermayr also called on EC to investigate alleged concerns over the party’s financial and political allegiance with the terror group.

Obermayr of Austrian Freedom Party, currently the most popular political party in Austria, made the statements in a press release issued last week and covered widely by the European press.

Obermayr has been working closely with Stand for Peace, a Muslim-Jewish interfaith organisation dedicated to countering extremism and promoting social and religious cohesion.

He has also called on EU election observers to closely scrutinise the links between the APC and Boko Haram in the run up to the 2015 presidential election.

He said: “In Nigeria’s case, a large proportion of the subsidies from Brussels are used in the north of the country. The federal states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa in the extreme North-east of the country are precisely the areas in which Boko Haram’s campaign of terror is largely tolerated by the authorities. The aforementioned sub-republics are governed by the All Progressive Congress (APC).”

In the statement, Obermayr said all further European Parliament cooperation and funding to Nigeria should be subjected to the findings of a report into the close relationship between political parties and terrorist groups in the country, suggesting that all development aid should be immediately suspended if any wrongdoing is exposed.

Turning to individuals in APC, Obermayr raised the United States (US) Embassy memo, which alleged that former vice-president and 2015 presidential hopeful, Atiku Abubukar, received money from Al-Qaeda to “destabilise the south of the country” and the recent defection of Femi Fani-Kayode from the APC because of their “clear Islamist agenda and sympathies with Boko Haram”.

Further in the statement that highlighted widespread concern ahead of the 2015 presidential elections, he said: “Even the most senior man in the APC, former Nigerian head of state and presidential candidate, Mohammadu Buhari, was quoted in the British newspaper The Guardian back in 2001 calling for sharia law to be introduced throughout Nigeria, including the Christian-dominated south.”

The announcement from Obermayr and Stand for Peace follows a similar call from Andrew Rosindell MP of the UK parliament, for an inquiry into the relationship between members of the APC and Boko Haram.

Stand for Peace has long investigated Boko Haram and their international financial and political connections, previously exposing links between the extremist sect and the controversial UK-based charity the “Al-Muntada Trust”.

“Unfortunately, in many cases, a lot of Europe’s political decision-makers are negligent when it comes to contacts and financial aid for associations and political parties, which in reality act as camouflage organisations and as a result often open the doors to European institutions for radical Islamist groups,” was the criticism voiced by Obermayr, who has already called on the EC for greater transparency on this issue in a parliamentary survey.

- Onyebuchi Ezigbo (with agency report)

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