Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno on Friday appealed to his supporters not to disrespect President Goodluck Jonathan or members of his entourage as the PDP holds its rally on Jan. 24.
A statement signed by the governor and made available to newsmen by his Media Assistant, Isa Gusau, in Maiduguri, said the appeal became necessary in view of recent disrespect shown to the President by some youths in Bauchi.
Shettima, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the statement, said “The call is as a result of recent incidents in Bauchi and Katsina States during which irate youths reportedly went wild against the President’s convoy,” it said.
Shettima in the statement described the act as being disrespectful, a show of intolerance and extremely bad politics.
“From what I have read or heard in the media, so far, there has not been any issue like that in any APC controlled state visited by the President and Borno should not be an exception.
“We have political differences and our differences are legitimate and based on the principles of our political parties and what we stand for.
“But we must remember that His Excellency, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, is the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and as citizens of this country, we have an obligation to respect his office and his person.
“Our millions of citizens who support the APC in Borno state, our Presidential candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, me or any of our National and State Assembly candidates, should shun any act of violence.”
The statement urged APC supporters to shun intolerance and unlawful political behaviour before, during and after the President’s visit, urging them to remain law abiding citizens of the state.
“Disrespecting the President’s convoy will not help the APC and Gen. Buhari in any way, rather, it will provide ample basis for his and our political opponents to blackmail him and the APC.
“Any true admirer of Buhari should translate his or her admiration to massive support for him when he visits Maiduguri to launch his presidential campaign.
“Buhari is not coming on Jan. 24 as earlier planned due to some adjustments made to make his activities more successful.
“Supporters of Buhari and the APC should not be involved in violence but rather should obtain their Permanent Voter Cards to cast their votes for him and APC candidates during the forthcoming general elections.
“President Jonathan is expected in Maiduguri to flag off his presidential campaign in Borno.
“I call on all APC supporters and those of Buhari never to show any act of disrespect to the President and members of his entourage.
The statement said supporters of the president’s re-election bid in the state should be allowed to freely support him in the exercise of their rights.
“Anyone who doesn’t share the PDP’s ideology and that of the President has the option of minding his or her business without any compulsion and this is legitimate but there must be no acts of intolerance.
“It is the right of every Nigerian to associate with any of the registered political parties in this country. It is the right of every Nigerian to support any candidate of his or her convictions.
“Our rights as associates of any party end where the rights of our opponents begin and theirs end where ours begin.
“Let me use this opportunity to therefore call on supporters of all political parties in Borno to abide by the principles of politics without bitterness which our laws provide.”
The statement advised youths in the area to avoid being used by politicians to perpetuate violence in the name of politics.
“Power is the most transient of all of Allah’s gifts to His creatures. We must, as citizens of Borno, remember that we have more serious challenge of insurgency that is a common threat to our lives and our communities.
“We have lost thousands of innocent citizens, many have been injured and we have thousands displaced. These should occupy our minds more as they are more than enough troubles.
“We must never allow political violence to serve as salts to our naked injuries,” Shettima was quoted as saying.