A group of elders from northern Nigeria on Sunday came after President Muhammadu Buhari over rising insecurity and poverty in the nation.
The group, under the aegis of Northern Elders Forum (NEF), chaired by Professor Ango Abdullahi disclosed that the President appears incompetent to address the lingering security situation, with much emphasis on the northern part of the country.
This is not the first, elders across the country, including the Sultan of Sokoto, Alh. Sa’ad Abubakar III, who doubles as President of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) will decry the state of national security.
But the forum stated that it, therefore, became imperative to make their position known as Buhari refused to consider plights and demands of the masses on the major issues of public concern.
“The forum regrets that by any standard of judgement, the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has failed the nation in the vital area of improving its security. Poverty, particularly in the North, and massive social security has worsened under this administration,” Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmad, the forum’s Director, Advocacy and Engagements stated after their meeting held in Zaria, Kaduna State.
“The relationship between insecurity and poverty is fundamental, but the administration does not appear to have any idea on what will provide relief or solution. It gives the forum no pleasure to say that it had warned Nigerians that President Buhari lacked the will, the competence and commitment to lead it into a secure and prosperous future before the 2019 elections.
“It is shocking that in spite of unprecedented consensus among Nigerians that the administration requires a new resolve, approach and leadership in the fight against the nation’s multiple security challenges, President Buhari appears either totally isolated or in deep denial over the result of his failures to secure Nigerians.”
While condemning the killings of both Christians and Muslims, Baba-Ahmad told reporters how it has become difficult for the president to fix the security situation.
The group challenged the public to continually raise their concerns against the illegalities and shortcomings of the current government.
They also asked for the replacement of the current service chiefs with more experienced and committed military personnel.
“With this type of mindset, it is difficult to see how President Buhari can accept the challenge to radically improve his handling of our security situation.
Nonetheless, we believe that Nigerians must continue to raise our voices and organize through all legitimate means to demand that the administration addresses major failings in his perception of our situation and his response to our demands for our rights to security,” Baba-Ahmad noted.
He also advised the Lagos state government to reconsider the Okada restriction. According to him, the majority of those involved in the business was from the North, thus need for northern state governors to intervene in the matter.
“The forum demands a thorough overhaul of the leadership of our security and public safety agencies, and the injection of higher levels of competence, integrity and accountability in the manner our troops and the police and security agencies deal with security challenges. We appeal to our religious leaders and fellow citizens not to fall into the trap of insurgents to set us up against each other…these are times when we must unite and resist a common enemy as well us demand that our leaders protect us all as Nigerians,” the group said.
Ango Abdullahi – General without Troops
Meanwhile, Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity has described Abdullahi as ‘General without troops’.
He stated that the university teacher is known for his controversial positions against the president, thus should not be taken seriously.
“NEF is merely waving a flag that is at half-mast,” Adesina stated. “President Buhari steadily and steadfastly focuses on the task of retooling Nigeria, and discerning Nigerians know the true state of the nation. They don’t need a paper tiger to tell them anything.”
“The former vice-chancellor signed the statement under the banner of NEF. Hearing that title, you would think the body was a conglomeration of true elders. But the truth is that NEF is just Ango Abdullahi, and Ango Abdullahi is NEF. It is a quasi-organization that boasts of no credible membership, and its leader is akin to a General without troops.”
Abdullahi has not always been a fan of the President, even before Buhari’s election in 2015. He never supported his campaign.