A more confident President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday assured the international community that the nation’s armed forces would recapture territories seized by Boko Haram in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states before the general elections.
Jonathan who spoke while hosting members of the diplomatic community in Nigeria to a cocktail party at the State House said the activities of the terrorists posed a big threat to the nation’s development.
He stressed that the adjustment of the dates of the conduct of election was necessary to provide some reasonable level of security for the smooth implementation of the exercise.
The President added that the tension that followed the announcement was therefore not necessary.
He argued that the six-week shift of the election was not meant to wipe out Boko Haram as was misconstrued in some quarters but for the military to prepare well and modify the security infrastructure.
“The security people are not saying that they will wipe out Boko Haram before elections will be conducted. But there are Boko Haram-related security issues and there were other security issues that were noticed during the period of campaigns which if we don’t prepare properly and modify the security architecture we normally use for elections, the country may go up in flames.
“This period will give them the opportunity to clean up the three states. If at all they cannot clean up the three states, at least two states will be recovered completely and more local governments even from the remaining state. So, that elections could be conducted even in Borno State.
“Even if we don’t take over all the territories in Borno State, definitely in Adamawa and Yobe states, we will take over completely. Even in Borno State, the headquarters of Boko Haram, even if we don’t take over completely, at least 70 per cent of that state will be free for elections to be conducted,” the president said.
He restated that the postponement of the general election was within the law and that the handover date remained May 29th.