By Jonathan Ugbal
Cross River born techpreneur and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Philip Obin has berated Mr. Femi Adesina, the spokesman to President Muhammadu Buhari for reeling out figures of Nigerians killed when the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was in power.
Mr. Adesina in a statement issued earlier in the week in response to the PDP had claimed more Nigerians have been killed under their watch than the APC.
And, Mr. Obin in a statement to CrossRiverWatch said that Mr. Adesina took the sensibilities of Nigerians for granted regarding the number of “innocent lives lost to mostly preventable crisis across Nigeria since the year 1999.”
He argued that President Buhari has not done enough in the area of security which he posited that though the challenges may have been “more enormous than anticipated,” there is no “adequate excuse.”
He averred that: “It is unfair and an act of arrogance for Femi to have spent precious time researching and counting head by head, the number of fellow Nigerians killed under Jonathan’s watch!
“Those who sincerely would say the truth know that President Buhari means business and is committed to finding a lasting solution to these violent crisis across Nigeria, but while at it, and until he finds these solutions, the least those of us who are close to him or support him can do should be to either keep apologising to Nigerians, giving them hope and letting them know some of the enduring steps this administration is taking to address these issues permanently; or we keep mute, while brainstorming and suggesting valuable ideas to the appropriate quarters; instead of wasting time counting number of deaths, thereby refreshing ugly memories, mocking the bereaved as well as offending the collective sensibilities of Nigerians.
“Nigerians already know the figures and were uncomfortable with the figures, hence they voted for President Buhari, trusting that he would find a lasting solution to the increasing figures, so Nigerians do not need to be reminded of the figures, not even by a top government official.”
He appealed to the citizenry to engage their leaders, “starting from their local councilors, chairmen, national assembly representatives and governors to assume responsibility of security within their jurisdictions and capacities, as security must be seen as everyone’s business.”
Obin who is also a Chairmanship hopeful for Biase local government area chided the Cross River State government for its handling of the communal clashes in within and inter state.
He stated that: “My own state of Cross River is undergoing the worst security crisis in decades, ranging from cult clashes to intra and inter state clashes, with over eight local government areas heavily affected and thousands of lives lost in the last three years, while the political class and government of Cross River State watch and do absolutely nothing.
“Some of the neighboring states affected by these crises have made frantic efforts over and over, to reach out to the government of Cross River state, directly and indirectly but our government here would continue to ignore or turn down every invitation to dialogue or take action.
“I recall a personal experience of how the government of Cross River state, through the deputy Governor, whose responsibility it is to look into inter state and boundary issues, chased my delegation out of government house when we cried out to the government to come to the aide of my people in Biase local government area, where communal clashes are currently ongoing and lives and property being wasted.”
Wondering the reasons behind the action, Mr. Obin said that: “The most unfortunate part is that the same deputy Governor who chased us out of his office, hails from the same affected Biase local government area and particularly the council ward where his mother comes from; even when he has received security alerts, letters and petitions over the lingering case between his Biase local government area in Cross River state and Afikpo South local government area in Ebonyi state.”
He listed some of the efforts made by the Ebonyi state government to tackle these.
“Both Afikpo South local government area and the Ebonyi state government have made efforts countless times to reach out to Biase local government area and the government of Cross River over the land dispute.
“In May, another meeting was called by the Ebonyi state government and invitations sent to the affected communities, Urugbam and Egbor communities in Erei south and north wards in Biase local government area (Cross River), and Ekoli Edda in Afikpo South local government area (Ebonyi).
“For fairness, the meeting venue was taken to Enugu state, and on the meeting day, as always, the government of Biase and Cross River State was absent, while the government of Afikpo South, and Ebonyi state, and the affected communities waited till 12 midnight and left with little or no discussion.
“Consequently, the matter has escalated, and right now, as there is total breach of security within that region as markets are closed, farmers now sit at home, economic activities completely truncated, and lives being lost,” he said.
Describing the approach of the state as “nonchalant,” Obin said this is, “gradually leading a number of communities into seeking their own and unofficial means of securing themselves – unthinking and dangerous means that would lead to what govt may not be able to contain in the nearest future.
“So, I am pleading with every well meaning Nigerian to not play politics with security, especially my own Governor, professor Ben Ayade, to kindly look into the deadly clashes going on across the entire state of Cross River, and do everything possible to return Cross River state to that envious state everyone wants to visit for leisure and business.
“Let us pressure and challenge our traditional and political leaders, especially state governors and government to not be too selfish with the huge monthly security votes they receive and play a part in security within their states and the pressure on the center would consequently reduce, too.”
The minority leader of the seventh Cross River House of Assembly, Alex Irek had accused Mr. Ayade of negligence while Ebonyi state governor, David Umahi had claimed that Mr. Ayade is rebuffing his peace moves.
The Cross River State government never replied to any of these allegations.
But, a federal lawmaker, Jarigbe Agom (PDP, Ogoja/Yala) had commended the governor for his approach to handling crisis.
Mr. Agom had taken to Facebook to say this following the renewal of the communal clash between Ukelle people in Yala local government area of Cross River State and Izzi local government area of Ebonyi state.
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