President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said he would not succumb to threats and take decisions under pressure.
Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, who stated this in a series of tweets on Friday, said the national attention was needed now to deal with insecurity amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Targeting those he said were using languages such as “the nation will break up,” the media aide said that President Buhari would not take decisions against the interest of Nigerians.
He tweeted: “The presidency responds to the recurring threats to the corporate existence of the country with factions giving specific timelines for the president to do one thing or another or else, in their language, ‘the nation will break up’.
“This is to warn that such unpatriotic outbursts are both unhelpful and unwarranted as this government will not succumb to threats and take any decision out of pressure at a time when the nation’s full attention is needed to deal with the security challenges facing it at a time of the COVID-19 health crisis.
“Repeat: this administration will not take any decision against the interests of 200 million Nigerians who are the president’s first responsibility under the constitution, out of fear or threats, especially in this hour of health crisis.
“The president as an elected leader under this constitution will continue to work with patriotic Nigerians, through and in line with the parliamentary processes to find solutions to structural and other impediments to the growth and wellbeing of the nation and its people.”
However, the pan-Yoruba sociopolitical organisation, Afenifere, took exception to the presidency’s warning about the ways Nigerians deem suitable to air their views about their country’s fortune as well as their lot therein.
The organisation, through its spokesman, Mr Yinka Odumakin, cautioned the president against resort to threats and intimidation in his dealings with the citizenry.
It said: “It is high time the president realised that Nigeria is not a military barracks where he can rule by threats and intimidation. The earlier he begins to cultivate new rules of engagement the better for the polity.
“If he cannot engage the people he is supposed to be governing and not ruling, there is a gap that cannot be bridged and it is doubtful how the polity can survive under him.”
Also, the Centre for Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Crusade (CHURAC) faulted the presidency’s comment on warnings by concerned citizens that the country was on the verge of collapse.
The National President of CHURAC, which is based in the Niger Delta, Cleric Alaowei, while reacting to the presidency’s Friday’s warning, averred that presidential spokesman “did not speak for the collective interest of the 200 million Nigerians.”
He said: “The views of those dissenting voices that the country is on the brink of collapse represent the feelings of those 200 million Nigerians.
“If Garba Shehu loves Nigeria, then he should share the collective views of Nigerians.
“The truism is that Nigeria is on a sure path to irresistible break-up. The people who are telling the government to do something immediately to avert the clear impending calamity love the country more than Garba Shehu.
“Officials in the Federal Government should begin to appreciate the views of dissenting voices.
“There is apparently a near absence of governance at the centre. Unless proactive steps are taken to nip the myriads of our challenges in the bud, our continued existence as a corporate entity is a mirage.
“I share the views of those concerned Nigerians.”