The President congratulated General Abubakar for another age and appreciated his patriotism and visionary leadership style of always advocating unity, projecting maturity and wisdom on national discourse, and providing a rallying point for the future of the country.
He noted the goodwill that the former Head of State has attracted to the country, particularly sacrificing his time and resources to reach out to individuals and institutions on the need to work for the growth of Nigeria.
President Buhari prayed that God would increase his wisdom, strength, and give him long life to keep serving the country.
Former President Jonathan, in a goodwill message to General Abubakar, commended him for his efforts and contributions to the peace and unity of the country, as well as his role in promoting democracy and passion for service.
“I am pleased to join your family and friends to celebrate with you on the occasion of your 79th birthday,” he said, adding that the former Head of State “contributed to the peace and unity of Nigeria and many other African nations including Liberia, Niger, Chad, and Sudan.”
“Your role in promoting democracy is underscored by your relentless passion for service and sacrifice.
“Nigerians will continue to honour you for the role you played in our nation’s transition from military to civilian administration, which has flourished for over two decades and produced notable leaders,” the former President said.
“The proliferation of calibre of weapons not only in our sub-region, but in general, and in Nigeria in particular, is worrying,” he said.
“It is estimated that over six million of such weapons are in circulation in our country. This certainly aggravated the insecurity and led to over 80,000 deaths and also we have close to three million internally displaced persons.”
A former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alamin Daggash said security officials must be better trained to combat crime across the federation.
“In those days, we used to train for something like 18 months to two years,” he said. “Today, some of these young people are trained for only six months. And I think that is inadequate.”
Billionaire industrialist and a member of the NPC, Aliko Dangote suggested more funding for security operatives.
“There is no way for us to continue with this sort of thing while we are underfunding the police, the military,” he said. “We are also asking them to go and recruit, so when they recruit, where are they going to find the money to pay?”
The NPC is a nonprofit founded in 2014 as a response to “emerging threats occasioned by the 2015 general elections,” according to a page on its website.
Its members include the Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Mathew Kukah, among other eminent Nigerians.
The National Peace Committee will on April 7 meet with stakeholders in the Nigerian project, including traditional rulers, nonprofits, and civil society organisations.
The meeting is a “first step” towards finding a solution to the current state of insecurity across the country, Chairman of the NPC, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, said in a letter of invitation extended to the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Channels Media Group, Mr. John Momoh.
“The escalating spate of insecurity, banditry, kidnapping, regional agitations, killings of innocent citizens and other forms of violence have continued to cause deep concern to well-meaning citizens at home and abroad,” Abdusalami’s letter read.
“The NPC has been receiving requests from well-meaning Nigerians at home and abroad urging the NPC to intervene by raising its voice.
“In response, the NPC has decided as a first step to organise a meeting with the Stakeholders, Traditional Rulers, NGOs and CSOs.
“The purpose is for us to listen to one another and seek how we can chart a way forward.”
The NPC is a nonprofit founded in 2014 as a response to “emerging threats occasioned by the 2015 general elections,” according to a page on its website.
Its members include the Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Mathew Kukah, and billionaire industrialist, Aliko Dangote, among other eminent Nigerians.
Last week, General Abdusalami had met with President Muhammadu Buhari in a closed-door session at the State House in Abuja
Although no formal statement was made immediately after the meeting, its agenda may not be unconnected to the general state of insecurity across the country.
Former Head of State, Retired General Abdusalami Abubakar says negotiating with terrorists and bandits is not the best way to tackle the menace.
Speaking on Tuesday after a meeting with the Nigerian Governors’ Forum in Minna, the former president stated that the best way to solve Nigeria’s banditry and kidnapping issues is to first make sure that the crimes are not committed.
While admitting that sometimes negotiations might be used to save the lives of kidnap victims, General Abdulsalami said the nation needs tight security that can checkmate the miscreants before they strike.
Making a reference to the Kagara abduction, Abdulsalami noted that “even if anyone knows where the students are, it will be foolhardy to storm the place in a bid to fight and bring them back”, arguing that in the process some innocent lives will be lost.
He, however, urged the authorities to ensure that security is beefed up to forestall further occurrences.
According to him, the nation’s security architecture is overstretched and the Police Force is underpopulated, hence the need for support from the citizens and an increase in manpower.
General Abdulsalami appealed that all hands must be on deck to ensure that insecurity in the country is tackled appropriately. He was of the opinion that the nation must go back to the time when brotherly love existed.
“Let us go back to when we were our brothers’ keeper,” Abdulsalami pleaded.
The elder statesman said it is sad that citizens are now being seen as strangers and are looked at with suspicion when they leave their states of origin and visit other parts of the country.
The Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Kalu, has faulted the zoning of the presidency ahead of the 2023 general elections.
He described the office as an open basket for intending contestants, stressing that the idea of zoning was never constitutional nor contained in the Constitution of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Senator Kalu made the remarks on Monday in Minna, the Niger State capital where he met with former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), and former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), at their residences.
“Zoning is a party issue, every party has the right to say where they want a position to come from but in APC, there is no issue of zoning. Anybody can contest for the presidency,” he told reporters.
The former governor of Abia State added, “It has not been zoned to any region and zoning is not in the constitution of APC and as long as it is not a constitutional matter of APC, the Presidency is an open basket which anybody can fight for.”
On the issue of insecurity in the country, Senator Kalu believes there is sabotage in the system which must be urgently addressed by the authorities.
He, however, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his efforts on security and gave an assurance that the Senate would continue to push for efficiency among the security organs in the country.
The lawmaker said, “Security is a big challenge to everybody and the Senate is going to address this issue.
“Insecurity has defied any solution. I see a lot of sabotage in this issue of insecurity and I can assure you that the Senate will address the issue of sabotage.”
“The President must be very angry about what is going on; he is a known army general, top-class General and Commander in Chief. He is not happy at all and I am sure he is working to address it,” Senator Kalu stated.
He explained that his visit to the elder statesmen whom he described as his bosses was to rejoice with the former military president who turned 79 recently and to welcome the former head of state back from his medical trip.
While no journalist was allowed into General Babangida’s residence, reporters were allowed to take some footages at General Abdulsalami’s house before they were asked to leave.
Former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, has called on the Federal Government to review Nigeria’s foreign policy in the interest of the nation.
He made the appeal on Tuesday, at the maiden edition of the annual Foreign Policy Public Lecture by the Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria (ARCAN) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja.
According to him, the lecture is timely, considering these current times of uncertainty in global affairs.
Also speaking at the event, President of the association, Ambassador Oladapo Fafowora, said the decline in the quality of Nigeria’s Foreign Service and Foreign Policy made the lecture necessary in order to reset them and make them more effective.
The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, was also in attendance among others.
The former Minister states categorically that Nigeria’s foreign policy is too foreign and has not been harnessed to ensure national development.
Former Military Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), has called on Nigerians to play their roles in ensuring peace in the country and across the world.
He made the call on Saturday while addressing an audience at the second edition of the Second General Abdulsalami Abubakar Foundation Annual Peace Lecture organised to commemorate the International Day of Peace in Minna, the state capital.
Abdulsalami said, “A lot has been said about our role in making peace. It is my prayer that peace reigns not only in Niger State, not only in Nigeria, not only in Africa; but indeed, the world over.
“Each and every one of us here, as it has been said, has a role to play and I hope we will play that role.”
The former Head of State informed the gathering that his greatest dream and hope was to have a peaceful and united Nigeria.
He, therefore, called on the people of the country irrespective of their political and ethnic background to be tolerant of one another and urged the youths to shun violence.
Speaking as the guest lecturer at the event, the state governor, Mr Abubakar Bello, highlighted the importance of dialogue in tackling the security challenges in the country.
According to him, military intervention in the nation’s security challenges is not necessary except dialogue fails.
The governor identified population explosion and lack of clear cut grazing routes as catalysts for most of the security challenges in the country, as reflected in the clashes between farmers and herders.
He commended the Abdulsalami Institute for Peace for its efforts in promoting peace in the country and called on other eminent Nigerians to contribute their quota towards Nigeria’s development.
Governor Bello also advocated the engagement of traditional rulers, especially village and district heads in peace-building and conflict resolution process, noting that they are closer to the people.
He decried that situation where many eminent personalities, including those in active public service, have become complacent and doing nothing to proffer solution to the challenges in the country.
The governor described some politicians as bad people who promote violence and unhealthy rivalry and asked them to desist from acts capable of disrupting the peace and progress of the country.
He alluded to the Rwandan genocide and the Civil War in Nigeria as clear examples of what could happen to a nation when eminent citizens channel their efforts in the wrong direction.
Governor Bello, therefore, urged Nigerians to see good in themselves and the nation, stressing that no investor would come to a country where the citizens do not see anything good about themselves.
The National Peace Committee (NPC) has called on Nigerians to put the disappointment of the postponement of the general elections behind them and respond to the call to patriotism when the elections eventually hold.
It made a call in a statement jointly signed by its Chairman, former Head of State General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), and Convener, Bishop Mathew Kukah.
“We understand your right to feel disappointed by INEC. However, we appeal to you all to see this as a watershed in the life of our fledgling Democracy. The only way we can ensure a steady Democracy is for us to learn the lessons from these sad developments,” the statement read in part.
“Therefore, we appeal to you not to count the cost of the setback, but respond to the call to patriotism. Do not relent, go out and fulfil your duty to your family and country on Election Day. We will soon turn the corner in hope. Rather than despair, rise up to defend our Democracy.”
The postponement of the election by a week had attracted widespread criticism. But with so much blames already traded, the NPC believes the nation must show faith.
It said, “There is enough blame to pass around. The real challenge now is for us as a nation, to reach out to the deepest instincts of faith in God and our country. We must put everything aside and see this as a battle that all of us must win. The challenge is not who to sacrifice, but what sacrifice to make.”
Also, the committee called on politicians to look beyond the struggle for power, show character and grace and work with the Independent National Electoral Commission “to inspire our people to new heights”.
“The challenge before you goes beyond the narrowness of political opportunities. This is not time to trade blames or to incite your supporters. Be temperate in your language so that we do not inadvertently set up our people for violence,” the NPC said.
As for INEC, the National Peace Committee challenged it to work toward reclaiming its integrity.
To do that, the committee urged the electoral body to “patiently continue to focus on attaining internal cohesion and coordination”.
“Do not give room to external enemies to infiltrate and destroy the confidence and trust that your organisation has earned,” it added.
Read the full statement below:
NIGERIANS: RISE UP AND OBEY THE NATION’S CALL STATEMENT BY THE NATIONAL PEACE COMMITTEE
1: We have a common saying in Nigeria: God’s time is the best. However, in real life, certain experiences often tempt us to pause and ask whether this statement need to be edited. This is one of such moments.
However, we must remain hopeful because God is perfect and all knowing. We are humans, He is the God of history and all power belongs to Him alone. He will give to whom He wishes, how and when He wishes. We are merely instruments of His plans. It is against this background that we wish to appeal to our fellow citizens.
2: We recall that two days to the elections, specifically on February 13th, 2019, the President, Alhaji Muhammadu Buhari, other Presidential candidates of the different parties gathered at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, to sign a second Peace Accord. Distinguished members of the international community such as the Commonwealth Secretary General, Rt. Honourable Patricia Scotland, QC, four former African Heads of State (Festus Mogae (Malawi), Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, Professor Amos Sawyer, (Liberia), Jakaya Kikwete (Tanzania) some of our own distinguished citizens, such as General Yakubu Gowon, our former Head of State, distinguished Religious and Traditional rulers, members of the general public from all walks of life witnessed the event with joy and hope.
3: On Friday 15th, February, we all went to bed joyfully and anxiously looking forward to casting our votes for the next President of our country. However, nothing could have prepared anyone for the shock announcement by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, barely six hours to the elections in the morning of February 16th. Although, the Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu has already addressed the nation and the leaders of all the Political Parties, very little has happened to assuage the deep feeling of embarrassment, pain, and disappointment across the land. The impact of this decision has permeated every stratum of our lives and has the potential to dampen the confidence of our people in the political process. It has further deepened anxieties within the international community about our country.
4: There is enough blame to pass around. The real challenge now is for us as a nation, to reach out to the deepest instincts of faith in God and our country. We must put everything aside and see this as a battle that all of us must win. The challenge is not who to sacrifice, but what sacrifice to make. We therefore make the following appeal to our people:
5: To all Nigerians:
We understand your right to feel disappointed by INEC. However, we appeal to you all to see this as a watershed in the life of our fledging Democracy. The only way we can ensure a steady Democracy is for us to learn the lessons from these sad developments. Therefore, we appeal to you not to count the cost of the set back, but respond to the call to patriotism. Do not relent, go out and fulfill your duty to your family and country on Election Day. We will soon turn the corner in hope. Rather than despair, rise up to defend our Democracy.
6: To the Political Class:
What we have before us is well beyond the struggle for power. Our predicament calls for character and grace. The Politicians must own this process by showing their readiness to collaborate with INEC and to inspire our people to new heights. The challenge before you goes beyond the narrowness of political opportunities. This is not time to trade blames or to incite your supporters. Be temperate in your language so that we do not inadvertently set up our people for violence. Sadly, for us, politics of the last few years have further polarized our people along dangerous religious, regional, ethnic and party lines. We must aim at trying to avert this precipice and try to heal our nation.
7: To the Independent National Electoral Commission:
After trying to explain your situation, it is now important to focus on how best to reclaim your credibility and integrity. Patiently continue to focus on attaining internal cohesion and coordination. Do not give room to external enemies to infiltrate and destroy the confidence and trust that your organisation has earned. Avoid panic measures, continue to communicate effectively with Nigerians and build up your confidence. Listen to the politicians but do not be distracted. Perhaps, just perhaps, your being accused by both sides might be your vindication. You might still be vindicated in the end. Focus on the big picture.
8: To our international Visitors and Observers:
We appreciate the sacrifices that you have made to come to Nigeria to monitor our elections. We see your engagement with us not as an act of interference but as the extension of the hand of friendship and encouragement. With your co-operation and encouragement, we will deepen our political culture and turn Democracy into a tool for development and progress for our people. We know it is a long road and we are prepared to walk it to the end. We understand the emotional and financial strain that this has placed on you. We appeal to the relevant Agencies in our government to kindly facilitate the visa processes of our guests at no cost and with the least inconveniences.
9: A Prayer for Nigeria:
We thank God for the gift of this great country. We know that our selfishness and greed have delayed our march to greatness. We commit our country to you at this very delicate and difficult time. Take control of all the relevant agencies in this election and let your will be done. We know that you are a perfect God and that in the end, may your will be done. We commit the future into your hands. Save us from further violence and bloodshed. Forgive our many sins. We believe that your time is the best for us.
General Abdusalami A. Abubakar, GCFR, Chairman, NPC
Bishop Matthew Hassan KUKAH Convener, NPC
Contact Fr. Atta Barkindo Head of Secretariat National Peace Committee, NPC 09031149816 [email protected]
A former Head of State and Chairman of the National Peace Committee, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, has asked Nigerians to keep faith and trust the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct credible elections.
General Abubakar stated this on Saturday while addressing journalists at his residence in Minna, following the postponement of the general elections by the commission.
He urged Nigerians to conduct themselves peacefully and shun acts capable of dividing the country.
The commission in the early hours of Saturday postponed the election, less than five hours to the polls.
Although the Chairman of the INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, explained that the postponement was due to a careful review of the implementation of its logistics and operational plan, and the determination to conduct free, fair, and credible elections, noting that the commission came to the conclusion that proceeding with the elections as scheduled is no longer feasible.
However, General Abubakar further stated that the postponement was disappointing when Nigerians from across the country had travelled to various locations to vote, but noted that “the logistical reason given by INEC is understandable”.
The Presidential and National Assembly elections have been postponed to Saturday, 23 February 2019, while the Governorship, State House of Assembly, and Federal Capital Territory Area Council elections are rescheduled to Saturday, 9 March, 2019.
More tributes have continued to pour in on late former President Shehu Shagari more than one week after his death.
Former Military Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar are the latest to pay a condolence visit to the family house of the former president in Shagari town, Sokoto State.
After signing the condolence register on Saturday, both leaders described former President Shagari’s lifestyle and approach to governance as a legacy that the present generation of leaders should emulate.
They also described the late former Nigerian leader as one of those who strengthened democracy in the country and as such his death has become a national loss.
Addressing reporters, General Abdulsalami said the nation has lost a legend and a complete gentleman who believed in democracy.
Atiku, on his part, noted that Shagari’s government brought stability to the polity and appealed to all to emulate his virtues.
Responding on behalf of the family, late Shagari’s eldest son, Bala, said it was comforting for the family to hear the soothing words of those visiting to condole with them.
The highpoints of the visit are captured in the pictures below;