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Buhari has failed — Northern Elders Forum

Valentine Chinyem



Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has said that President Muhammadu Buhari has failed the country, saying poverty, particularly in the North and massive social insecurity have worsened under his administration.

The forum recalled that it warned Nigerians before the 2019 general elections, on President Buhari’s lack of competence.

The NEF noted that the relationship between insecurity and poverty is fundamental, but the Buhari-led administration did not appear to have any idea on what will provide relief or solution.

The forum also demanded overhaul of the security and public safety agencies’ leaderships, and the injection of higher levels of competence, integrity and accountability in the manner the country’s troops and the police and security agencies deal with security challenges.

Addressing a press conference in Zaria yesterday, Chairman of Northern Elders Forum, Professor Ango Abdullahi, who read the position of the forum, through Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed said: “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.

“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 voices and organise through 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.”

The NEF further appealed to religious leaders and citizens not to fall into the trap of insurgents who set the citizens’ against each other, saying, “We condemn the tactic of targeting Christians and publicising their executions by an insurgency seeking to exploit our different faiths. We also condemn the murder of thousands of Muslims and Christians in communities which the insurgency has made permanent targets in the last decade.”

On policing the country, the forum expressed support for the idea of improving the policing capacities of the nation.

On the recent disagreements between the Kano State government and the Emir of Kano, the forum said it was looking forward to engaging with the governor on the matter.

On the 2023 elections, it noted that the political manoeuvers around the elections targets the North as a region available for exploitation saying, “We want to make it clear that people of the North will be very careful in committing to persons seeking their support on the basis of their region or wealth. The North knows its interests, and will stand together to elect only persons who meet the standards and interests of the people of the North. No politician should assume that they are entitled to our support unless they show a clear understanding and a commitment to deal with our problems and meet our aspirations.”

Meanwhile, the presidency has described the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) led by Professor Ango Abdullahi as a quasi-organisation that boasts of no credible membership and whose leader is akin to a general without troops.

Presidential spokesman Femi Adesina, in a statement issued yesterday in reaction to a release by Prof. Abdullahi on issues relating to the North, and the country at large, said the one-man army called NEF had not only shown its antipathy against President Muhammadu Buhari but also its preference for another candidate before the 2019 presidential election.

Adesina, who said “they all got beaten together” in the last election, said Nigerians don’t need “a paper tiger to tell them anything”.

The statement partly read: “Professor Ango Abdullahi on Sunday signed a long-winding statement on many issues relating to the North, and purportedly to the country.

“The former vice chancellor signed the statement under the banner of Northern Elders Forum (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.

“NEF is merely waving a flag that is at half-mast. President Buhari steadily and steadfastly focuses on the task of retooling Nigeria, and discerning Nigerians know the true state of the nation.”