El-Rufai accuses Jonathan of playing ethnic, religious politics


A former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, yesterday accused President Goodluck Jonathan of playing ethnic and religious politics as a way of diverting Nigerians’ attention from alleged bad governance going on in the country.

El-Rufai, who is now Deputy National Secretary of the All Progressive Congress (APC), also accused the President of lacking the capacity to call to order all those beating the war drum across the country.
He spoke on the Kaduna-based Liberty Radio. The former minister warned that the country having fought a civil war would find it difficult surviving another war.

He said that the ruling PDP is afraid of former military ruler, General Mohammadu Buhari and therefore will do everything possible to destroy him and brand him an ethnic and religious bigot.
He said: “There are many agents confronting the Nigerian nation. What is very worrying is the kind of rhetoric going on in this country, a lot of which are being sanctioned by the government. For example, whenever Asari Dokubo speaks, just know that a week earlier, he had been called to the Villa and whenever E.K Clark speaks, you know it is arranged.
“How can one ethnic group, the Ijaw, threaten the rest of us? We have 170 million people, I don’t know how many of that population make up the Ijaw nation, but I don’t think they are more than five million.

“How can five million people threaten us saying unless their son becomes President, there will be no Nigeria? Who are they to do that? The government keeps quiet when somebody says that. Of course, the expected reaction is that you have people from the North also threatening similar thing.
“What type of country do we have where there is no one to call people to order? It is sad. Again, it is this political strategy of Jonathan to always use ethnicity and religion whenever there is a problem.

“Whenever there is a big issue about Excess Crude account or subsidy issue, they bring this issue of ethnicity and religion. But I have not lost hope because I know that Nigerians can see through their pranks and their game and will vote them out in the next election. The challenge for the next President is to build trust among the various ethnic groups so that Nigeria can walk towards one direction.

“This country has gone through one civil war. I don’t know of any country that can survive two civil wars and those that are stealing crude oil; buying and stockpiling arms should know it is not the amount of arms you have that decides who wins a war. Otherwise, the USA would have won in Iraq, but they couldn’t and at the end they had to leave the Iraqi to solve their problems.
“So, they should think very deeply about what they are doing and learn from history. I know that Nigeria will survive these bad and incompetent leaders who steal during the day and drink and womanise at night instead of working for the Nigerian people”.

The former Minister described the PDP as a toxic party which must be destroyed. His words: “a party that has earned the highest oil revenue in Nigeria`s history, but has converted this oil revenue to personal wealth when our schools have remained closed and our educational system collapsing, our hospitals not functioning and fly abroad for medical treatment and send their children to school abroad, is a danger to the Nigerian nation.

“PDP has become a virus that is infesting and destroying the country and because they are not doing anything productive, they have changed our politics to that of ethnicity and religion to divert attention from their incompetence, lack of capacity and their looting of the treasury. So, PDP has become a clear and perfect danger to the existence of Nigeria as a nation and the prosperity of its people. So, it is toxic party and should be destroyed.
“The PDP has evolved from a party that was trying to be democratic in its practices and to have decency in its governance to one that has become a danger to the people of Nigeria and the only person they are afraid of, who is their nightmare, is Gen. Buhari.

“So, anytime Buhari makes a statement or does anything, the PDP machine will be at work to twist whatever he says in order to destroy his character and give the impression that he is a religious and ethnic zealot.

“There is nothing by way of fact that shows that Gen. Buhari is that kind of person. Buhari has been in public life for so long that if he was a religious bigot, or ethnic surrogate, it would have been clear. There is no way a man will rise to the position of a Major General in the Army and people will not know that he is preference for his ethnicity or religion or attained the position he has attained in life without people knowing he has all these qualities.”
He accused the PDP of trying to paint Buhari in bad light, adding, “They have tried everything possible to paint the man black and they are not even afraid that one day, they will stand before God and defend their action. That is why I say they are afraid of him more than God…”

He expressed concern about the future of the country, saying, “Nigeria has a population of about 170 million and every year, about six million babies are born. What this means as far as policy making is concerned is that within the next 20 years, those babies will need at least three million jobs because from the six million, one million will die from avoidable illnesses.

“Any responsible government should be thinking of these challenges. My concern is that not much is being done and the environment is not conducive at all. Electricity supply is going down and industries are dying while competition from China is killing the little industrial base that we have and our leaders are not making the environment attractive for investors.”



The Nation
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