Gov Kashim Shettima
Residents of the troubled Borno State Monday warned the president not to contemplate replacing the elected governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, with a military administrator, insisting that any such decision under any guise would be resisted.
A national daily had reported that the president was considering replacing the governor with a military administrator due to explosion of attacks in recent time by the Boko Haram sect.
The plan was however denied by the presidency, with the president spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, in a chat with journalists in Abuja, insisting that such plan was not on the card.
Even with the denial of the president aide, the people of Borno State they cannot take his word as recent happenings have shown that any rumour emanating from the presidency should be taken seriously and tackle headlong in order not to be caught unawares.
Addressing a press conference yesterday, the Borno Elder Forum, said the recent suspension of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, had thought everybody a lesson, adding that if a rumour is coming from the presidency, it should be treated with all seriousness.
The elders who were led to the press conference by the forum secretary, Mali Gubio, said the president would be dragged as far as the Supreme Court should he go ahead to remove the elected governor and replace him with a military administrator.
In the communique after an emergency meeting of the elders “over the news report that the president has completed the plan to remove the democratically-elected Governor of Borno State Alhaji Kashim Shettima and appoint a military administrator to rule the state,” the forum said: “We received this news with shock and disappointment and we see the plan as evasive, diversionary and abdication of responsibility by the federal government in tackling the crisis of insurgency.
“The elders’ forum condemns in no uncertain terms this move which will lead to further escalation and complication of an already bad security situation on the ground. The elders’ forum is aware of the inaction of the federal government in bringing this conflict to a decisive end.
“There was no serious action or political will to deal with the problem of insurgency in Borno and the rest of the North-east.
“The presidency should be reminded of the illegality of this move and we see it as an arbitrary action inconsistent with good governance and democratic principles.”
“We call on the federal government to retracteethis infamous intended action. Many committees that have worked on the insurgency and submitted their reports and recommendations remain disappointed that no action has been taken by the federal government to date. We see this as an abdication of responsibility and lack of political will.”
The forum added that: “We feel that military operation is purely a professional matter and should not be politicized. Security issues are handled by constitutionally established security outfits. The Nigerian armed forces have the constitutional mandate to protect the nation under civil authority. And the governor of a state is the head of civil authority of the state and his presence does not in anyway prevent necessary military operations. Of course the President is the Commander-in-Chief and chief security officer of the nation. This implies that should there be any success or failure of the forces the bug stops at the presidents doorsteps.
“The governor of a state is only the chief security officer of his state but lacks any control over national security forces. States do not have lawful security outfits. Therefore it is an aberration and vindictive to remove the governor over issues he has no control on. The president should live up to his responsibilities by not only rescinding this intended action but also empower our military forces to bring the insurgency to an end professionally.”