Following the security alert raised by the United States (U.S.) and the United Kingdom (UK) about the possible terror attacks in Abuja and some parts of the country, political parties are at a crossroads if the campaign should stop or not.
Although the country is in a political season heralded by campaigns here and there from various candidates and their political parties, the security alert might stop their activities. Against this backdrop, a former Foreign Affairs Minister, Prof Bolaji Akinyemi, has called on political parties to suspend their campaigns for next year’s polls. Naija News gathered that Akinyeni made this call following security alerts issued to some expatriates in the country, adding that suspension of campaigns would be in the national interest. According to the professor of International Relations, who was on an Arise TV programme to share his views about the current security dilemma, said in other to help security agencies “parties must balance rights with responsibility.” However, the various parties have expressed their stand over the call, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were in a dilemma over the call, while the Labour Party (LP) insisted on going ahead with its rally tomorrow in Lafia, Nassawa State. For the PDP, its Presidential Campaign Organisation spokesman Kola Ologbondiyan said the issue would be referred to its security committee for necessary advice. Ologbondiyan, in a report on The Nation, said a definite decision on the matter would be taken when the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, returns from his U.S. He said: “Our presidential candidate is currently in the U.S. engaging with Nigerians in the Diaspora on ways to rescue Nigeria from the tragedy imposed by the APC administration. “Pending his arrival, the Security Committee of our Presidential Campaign Council will examine the situation and advise accordingly.” On the part of the LP leadership, ‘suspending campaigns means surrendering to terrorists.’ The LP’s Presidential Campaign Council spokesman, Dr Yunusa Tanko, reiterated the party’s stand to hold its rally tomorrow in Lafia, Nasarawa State. Tanko noted the council has mobilised both human and material resources to the campaign venue, therefore cancelling the event was out of the options. He said: “We appreciate the position of the learned professor. Interestingly, we have also observed such but at the moment we have already deployed people on the ground with the hope that the security authorities will do their job to ensure security during our campaign that we will start on Saturday (tomorrow). “At the moment there is no official statement for us to call off the campaign because we have mobilised material and human resources with the hope that security agencies will do their job.” Similarly, former National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Chekwas Okorie said the call to halt campaigns by Akinyemi, will mean Nigeria surrendering to the threats of terrorists. The APGA ex-chairman continued saying the federal government should be more proactive in handling the situation by collaborating with the countries that issued the alert to tackle the threat. Naija News, however, learnt that the APC said even though it has fully commenced its campaign, it had confidence in the security agencies to deal with the situation appropriately. The APC National Publicity Secretary Felix Morka, in a telephone interview with The Nation, said the party will be ready to comply with any advice from the country’s security agencies. He noted that “APC like any other institution is keenly monitoring the development. The security alert has been raised regarding possible terror attacks on Abuja and maybe elsewhere. As you know, APC is yet to roll out its timetable for its campaign. It is still in the works. What the party is doing is simply consulting with different sections of the party in different places around the country. “We are not yet in that full-blown campaign mood. So there is nothing to suspend. “Though the party will be cautious and vigilant and make sure that we carry out whatever engagement that needs to be conducted in close collaboration with the security agencies, by ensuring that we have complete control of any space we are carrying out any campaign. But for the campaign proper, we are yet to fully launch the itinerary of our movement. So there is nothing to suspend.”
This article was originally published on Naija News