In reaction to the memorandum written by Adamawa State governor, Admiral Murtala Nyako, to the Northern States Governors Forum in which he accused President Goodluck Jonathan of perpetrating genocide against the north in his prosecution of the war against terror, the Presidency, on Saturday, accused the governor of conspiracy against the nation, branding him a traitor.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, said Nyako’s memo was a tissue of lies and a great betrayal to the country by one of its biggest beneficiaries.
“The letter written by Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State to his colleague northern governors, as published in some major news media, is an unmitigated leadership disaster and a sad betrayal of trust by a major beneficiary of the Nigerian nation,” Okupe stated.
He said, “The content of the governor’s letter, unfortunately, exposes him as lacking a sense of history as well as incapable of rising above parochial sentiments and possessing a morbid hatred for facts and truth in public discourse. It is extremely divisive and intentionally meant to incite one section of the country against the other.”
Okupe accused Nyako, a retired Vice Admiral and former Chief of Naval Staff, of trying to open old wounds from the country’s past with his bitter reference to the first military coup of January 15, 1966 in which some prominent Nigerians were killed.
“This is a very disgraceful remark by the governor and a pathetic embarrassment to the Nigerian military from where Nyako derives his career antecedents. It is certainly a reflection of the governor’s ignorance and unpatriotic inclinations,” the president’s aide said.
Okupe said Nyako’s reference to Boko Haram as a “phantom organisation” that does not exist was hypocritical, saying his attempt to compare the military operations against Boko Haram terrorist activities in the North-east with the actions of the German dictator Adolf Hitler “definitely defies common sense and portrays Mr. Nyako as unfit for the hallowed position of a state governor.”
The Presidency also accused Nyako of doing too little to support the war on terror for which his state as well as Borno and Yobe states have been under a state of emergency since May 14 last year, or assist victims of the insurgency.
“We also wish to remind Nigerians that this same Governor Nyako was recently quoted as having boasted openly that now that the Fulani herdsman can assemble the AK47 gun, ‘the security equilibrium in the country is now balanced.’ The same man was reported to have imported some Fulanis from outside the country and spent millions of Naira in rehabilitating, feeding, housing and catering for their welfare,” the Presidency alleged, stating, “We, therefore, urge Nigerians to ignore the senseless letter written by the Adamawa State governor whose ignoble aim is to create disaffection among Nigerians, polarise the country along ethnic lines and unkindly disparage this administration which continues to work hard to fully eliminate insurgency and destroy their support base.”
It alleged that Nyako’s repeated opposition to the state of emergency in the North-east states and calls for the withdrawal of the military from the area “without any credible alternative or security road map, is an open endorsement of the activities of the insurgents, which is meant to provide them unrestricted opportunity to further unleash terror on innocent citizens in order to precipitate chaos, further instability, mayhem and anarchy ; a situation which they intend to exploit to undermine the administration and truncate our growing democracy. This, Nigerians will surely not allow to happen.”
Meanwhile, the Director of Defence Information (DDI), Major General Chris Olukolade, has dismissed the allegations of ethno-religious biases, as contained in Nyako’s letter, as baseless and untruthful.
“There is no truth in whatsoever he is saying and it is unfortunate that such remarks should come from a man of that level,” Olukolade said, stressing, “I want to tell you that there is no iota of truth in all his allegations and that the military remains professional in all their operations. There is no ethnic colouration in all our decisions.”
There were also indications at the weekend that the security agencies might have concluded plans to probe Nyako and subsequently prosecute him at the end of his tenure – when his immunity from prosecution will lapse – over alleged links with Boko Haram.