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Published On: Wed, Sep 10th, 2014

Outrage trails Jonathan’s ban of 2015 campaign banners

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#bringbackjonathanFrom Ayodele Samuel, Lagos with agency report

Outrage has continued to trail the directive by President Goodluck Jonathan for the removal of the #BringBackJonathan posters flooding most conspicuous areas of the Federal Capital Territory. Many Nigerians believe the posters are a mockery of the #BringBackOurGirls hash tag that has helped to call global attention to the fate of the over 200 girls who were abducted by Boko Haram almost five months ago and remain in captivity.

Since Jonathan gave the order early morning yesterday, Nigerians from across the country continued to voice their resentments over what many alleged to be the height of insensitivity on the side of the president and his handlers, who, despite the horrendous experience of the abducted girls and their parents, went ahead to not only trivialize the matter but also assault the sensibilities of the victims as well as Nigerians.

First to fire the salvo, a former Education Minister and a co-founder of the #BringBackOurGirls group, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili chided President Goodluck Jonathan, over his swift order that the offensive #BringBackJonathan signs be removed, describing the president’s action as “deceitful and callous”.

She stated that the President cannot claim ignorance of the hashtag that was allegedly initiated by his aide, Dr. Doyin Okupe, justifying her claims by posting some of the earlier tweets of Dr. Okupe.

On its part, leading opposition political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), described as a good first step the President’s directive, which the party said, is a mockery of the #BringBackOurGirls hash tag that has helped to call global attention to the fate of the over 200 girls who were abducted by Boko Haram almost five months ago and still remain in captivity.

In a statement issued in London yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party, however, said the President made a mockery of his administration and his country by waiting for an international condemnation of the shameless and brazen usurpation of the BringBackOurGirls hash tag before issuing the directive for it to stop.

“Had the US newspaper, Washington Post not written a stinging editorial skewing the Jonathan administration for appropriating the BringBackOurGirls hash tag for his re-election, the administration would have continued its brazenness without regards to the feelings of the parents of the girls or indeed the Nigerian people.

APC said belated as the President’s directive on BringBackJonathan hash tag is, it is a good first step that must be quickly followed by another directive ordering the so-called Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN) to immediately stop its rallies that have offended the sensibilities and intelligence of Nigerians.

The party said the noisy and sycophantic rallies being held across the nation, ostensibly to collect signatures from Nigerians urging President Jonathan to seek re-election, contrast with the challenges currently facing the nation, which is being dismembered town by town by the terrorist group Boko Haram.

“Nigeria is in a state of war, a state of anarchy, a state of loss never witnessed since the end of the unfortunate civil war in 1970. Terrorists are capturing towns after towns and hoisting their flags over the seized territories; our troops are engaged in an epic battle to ward off the terrorists. Our people are being daily slaughtered by the marauding terrorists. And Ebola is very much here with us.

“Therefore, this cannot be the time for festivities and celebrations, the type being orchestrated by the government under the TAN banner. The rallies insult the troops who are battling Boko Haram. The rallies insult Nigerians, who are fervently praying for the unity of the nation in the face of the madness by the marauders. The rallies offend the sensibilities of the families of our citizens who are being mowed down daily by Boko Haram. They must stop forthwith,’’ it said.

APC wondered whether the organizers of the rallies and those who have been mocking the #BringBackOurGirls campaigners know that Nigerians are not fools, hence can see the deceit, the callousness and the insensitivity of the Jonathan administration in secretly funding the rallies and the anti-#BringBackOurGirls campaigns.

“There must be a limit to the desperation of a President to win re-election at all cost. President Jonathan must take a moment to reflect, to realize that he can only preside over a country that remains whole, not one that has been fractured or bombed out of existence by terrorists,’’ the party said.


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