Boko Haram: Why Jonathan Did Not Sack Three Govs. - Former Attorney General
Former President Goodluck Jonathan/File

Former President Goodluck Jonathan did not remove three governors in 2013 following a state of emergency in those areas because he felt it was illegal.

Concise News understands that this statement came from a former Attorney General Mohammed Adoke.

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Jonathan had on May 13, 2013 declared a state of emergency in some selected local government areas of Adamawa, Yobe and Borno following attacks by Boko Haram insurgents.

He did not, however, remove the three governors who were members of the then-main opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).

The development brought criticisms to Jonathan from members of the then-ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

But during the launch of his book, “Burden of Service: Reminiscences of Nigeria’s former Attorney General,” Adoke said Jonathan could not remove the three governors because that would have amounted to illegality

“President Jonathan came under criticism from commentators who felt he should have removed the local government chairman as well as the governors in the affected states,” he said.

“The opportunity for Jonathan’s foes to describe him as a weak leader emerged yet again. Historically, the state of emergency was employed more as a political weapon to settle scores with opposing forces, not necessarily to address issues of actual or imminent threat to security.”

Adoke admitted that: “Nigerians were more familiar with that nefarious employment of the provision. The fact that governors in Nigeria cannot be held responsible for any breakdown of law and order is not lost on these critics.

“Governors are the Chief Security Officers of their states only in name; they do not have the requisite constitutional power of control over the security agencies. Removing them during emergency, to my mind, was simply illogical.”

President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC was to later defeat Jonathan during the 2015 presidential election.

That was the first time a sitting president would be ousted since the return of democracy in Nigeria in 1999.