by Isi Esene
President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday described the threat issued to him by the radical Islamic sect, Boko Haram, to convert to Islam or resign as laughable, calling it a rude intimidation.
President Jonathan gave his response through his special adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati who said the president was overwhelmingly elected by voters with diverse faiths in 2011 on the strength of his campaign promises of transformation and will not be intimidated by any group to abandon his freely given mandate.
He said: “When Nigerians voted overwhelmingly for President Jonathan in the 2011 general election, they knew they were voting for a Christian. He continues to enjoy the goodwill and support of the good people of Nigeria. As President, Dr. Jonathan is the leader of both Muslims and Christians; in fact he is the leader of persons of all faiths.
“So, it amounts to sheer blackmail for any individual or group to ask the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to convert to Islam. The president cannot be intimidated by any group or individual. The president will never resign. He has the mandate of Nigerians to serve his father land and nobody should imagine that he will succumb to blackmail.”
Boko Haram is a radical militant sect which has vowed to continue its violent onslaught in different parts of the country if the people do not convert to the radical form of Islam which it advocates.
Earlier in August, the sect released a statement which said, “We wish to strongly warn people to desist from collaborating with security agents. The fact is that we are the warriors of the Almighty and even the security forces are finding it difficult to contain our activities. We want to stress that in our struggle, we only kill government functionaries, security agents, Christians and anyone who pretends to be a Muslim but engage in assisting security agents to arrest us.”
It threatened to attack specific government institutions and even Islamic religious personalities whom it suspects of collaborating with the government against the establishment of its religious ideology.