………. FCT to be ‘shut down’ as security agents seal off access roads to Eagles Square
Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan will on Tuesday (today) formally declare his bid for re-election, in a widely anticipated announcement that has been trailed by his office for weeks.
The event, in central Abuja, has been billed as “the mother of all rallies” by Jonathan’s own 205-member re-election committee, with roads shut from early morning to the evening, police said.
The Police and other security agencies plan to place part of the Central Business District, particularly, the areas around the Eagle Square, Abuja, under a lockdown for the declaration of President Goodluck Jonathan to run for a second term in office on Tuesday (today).
Already, scores of security operatives including policemen, soldiers, operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and the Department of State Service personnel had cordoned off one of the roads leading to the square.
Jonathan’s supporters took out four-page newspaper advertisements on Monday calling for Nigerians to “be a witness to history” and saying his candidacy was “in response to Nigerians’ demand”.
Nigerians endorsed Goodluck Jonathan for continuity,” the adverts ran, claiming that more than 17.8 million had so far endorsed his candidacy.
But rebel governors and lawmakers are unhappy at Jonathan, a southern Christian, seeking re-election in defiance of an unwritten rule to rotate the presidency with the Muslim majority north.
For the country’s main opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), Jonathan’s tenure has been far from a success, particularly on security and his perceived failure to tackle Boko Haram.
The violence has claimed more than 10,000 lives in five years and Jonathan has in recent months seen the apparent loss of more than a dozen towns to the militants in the far northeast.
On Monday (yesterday), a suspected Boko Haram suicide bomber killed at least 47 students in Yobe state, northeast Nigeria, in one of the worst attacks on a school teaching a so-called Western curriculum.
Jonathan came under fire for his lacklustre response to the mass abduction of 276 schoolgirls in April and his decision to be seen partying 24 hours after the kidnapping. Two hundred and nineteen of the girls are still missing.
The president has also faced criticism of his record on tackling corruption as well as poor governance and accountability, which his detractors say have got worse since he won office in 2011.
The 56-year-old has long been expected to run for another four-year term and his announcement on Tuesday will come as no surprise to Nigerians.
State governors from the ruling People’s Democratic Party and its national executive committee in September handed him a free run at the presidential nomination by backing him as the sole candidate.
Meanwhile, the police have advised Abuja residents, especially motorists, to steer clear of the Eagle Square, noting that vehicular movement would not be allowed on the roads leading to the venue of the event.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Emmanuel Ojukwu, in a statement, said that traffic would be diverted between 5am and 8pm of Tuesday.
It said, “This is to alert the public to a major event taking place at the Eagle Square, Abuja on Tuesday, November 11, 2014. “Members of the public are advised to use alternative routes, as vehicles will be diverted from most of the roads leading in and out of Eagle Square Central Business District, Abuja between 0500am and 0800pm on Tuesday, November 11, 2014.
“The Nigeria Police Force regrets any inconvenience the diversion of vehicular movements within the area may cause members of the public, as this is one of the proactive security measures put in place to avoid breakdown of law and order in the area and Abuja at large.”