Dogara Accuses Northern Leaders Of Bias In Tackling Insecurity

Dogara Accuses Northern Leaders Of Bias In Tackling Insecurity
A file photo of Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.

 

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has challenged the elders in northern Nigeria to raise their voices against insecurity as they did during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

He made the call while addressing supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at a rally on Thursday in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital.

Dogara said, “On the issue of insecurity, all of us know what is happening in Borno and, unfortunately too, between Abuja and Kaduna, as well as in Zamfara, Katsina, Nassarawa, Benue, Plateau, and even Sokoto states.”

“Now, I cannot even mention all because it is a general problem in the county, but I was highlighting the states where the problem is more endemic as of now. The issue is this when this thing was going on under Jonathan, we had Borno elders always speaking. Where are the Borno elders now?” he questioned.

He added, “Where are the leaders of Northern Nigeria now that this problem has become endemic? What are they saying now? Are we not guilty of what we allow?

“The truth is that if we don’t rise up to the endemic challenges now, sooner than later if things continue this way, we are not going to have a country. So it is our responsibility to rescue Nigeria from the clutches of insecurity. Without security; we would not have a meaningful democracy.”

The Speaker said the alleged silence of the leaders on insecurity in the region could be taken as enabling the poor management of security in the country.

He condemned the purported elevation of some public office holders, saying those praising them were bringing destruction upon the country.

“Just like my last speech to Nigerians that were gathered in a rally like this in Gombe, I said that the 2019 general elections are not about President Muhammadu Buhari, it’s not about Atiku Abubakar; but I said it is about you who are gathered here and it will be a referendum on insecurity and hunger in this land,” Dogara recalled.

“The sad reality in Nigeria is that by our silence we have condoned those who have been unable to effectively tackle the insecurity in the nation. We have wittingly become enablers of evil.”

The lawmaker stated further, “You know what enablers do? Enablers don’t build a country, only courageous people do. What enablers do is that they instigate the worship of individuals and the office they occupy; they will confuse such an individual with accolades.

“You know none of us was built to receive worship, anyone who attempts to receive worship will meet destruction in his wake. So that is why we are witnessing destruction in Nigeria because we have elevated some human beings to the status of God.”

PDP Northern Elders Vow To Support Candidates Who Will Protect Their Interests

PDP BoTNorthern Elders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have closed ranks ahead of the party’s upcoming National Convention, as they vow to support candidates who will protect their interests.

Conveners of the Forum told journalists in Abuja that they are in support of the zoning arrangement and other preparations by the Caretaker Committee to hold the convention in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

They, however, insisted that the interests of the North must be protected as the region remains critical to the survival of the party.

Although none of the members in the camp of Sen Ali Modu Sheriff attended the meeting, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Mr Walid Jubril, said the leadership problem of the party is coming to an end.

As it stands, some members of the PDP are set for the convention in Port Harcourt even in the face of disagreements from aggrieved members.

Presidency Replies Northern Elders Over Ultimatum On Chibok Girls

Northern EldersThe President, on Tuesday, fired back at a faction of northern elders, who, on Monday gave him up until October to produce the abducted Chibok schoolgirls or forget about 2015 Presidency.

The President’s Special Assistance on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, in a statement, described the northern elders’ ultimatum as preposterous and one meant to cause what he called “hate mentality and mischief.”

He said that the President does not need an ultimatum to do his job and that he was doing a lot to rescue the Chibok girls.

He pointed out seven areas where the President has demonstrated great concern on the Chibok issue to include, improving on the military’s professional and personnel capabilities, taking advantage of the offer made by the international community, and securing the nation’s borders among others.

According to Dr. Okupe, “The issue of insurgency, especially those ideologically based on Islamic extremism, is a global phenomenon and requires tact, military capability, serious de-radicalisation techniques and community based counter insurgency programmes to ensure success.”

The faction of the Northern Elders Forum led by Maitama Sule, on Monday, gave President Goodluck Jonathan an ultimatum till the end of October 2014 to produce the over 200 abducted Chibok girls in Borno State and also bring an end to the Boko Haram insurgency, saying that failure to do so amounts to him being deemed unfit to seek re-election in 2015.

The Northern Elders noted that the warning became imperative because they were of the firm belief that the lingering terrorist attacks and other related security challenges in the country pose a major threat to the 2015 elections and the survival of Nigeria as a nation.

Northern Elders Give Jonathan October Ultimatum To Produce Chibok Girls

Chibok GirlsThe faction of the Northern Elders Forum led by Maitama Sule, on Monday, gave President Goodluck Jonathan an ultimatum till the end of October 2014 to produce the over 200 abducted Chibok girls in Borno State and also bring an end to the Boko Haram insurgency, saying that failure to do so amounts to him being deemed unfit to seek re-election in 2015. 

The Northern Elders noted that the warning became imperative because they were of the firm belief that the lingering terrorist attacks and other related security challenges in the country pose a major threat to the 2015 elections and the survival of Nigeria as a nation.

Addressing  a news conference in Kaduna, Spokesman of the forum, Solomon Dalung, identified lack of political will and corruption among government officials and the military authorities as being largely responsible for the lingering insurgency in the North-East, where thousands of innocent people have been killed.

The forum lamented that this situation has allowed the insurgents to take over some parts of the North-East without much resistance from the nation’s security forces.

The forum further alleged that the failure of the government to put an end to the current insecurity in Yobe, Borno, and Adamawa states was a deliberate plot to weaken the North’s political and economic potentials ahead of the 2015 elections.

They expressed disappointment over the unwillingness of prominent leaders of the region to use their connections to tackle the problem.

The forum called for a thorough investigation into the recent assassination attempt on General Muhammadu Buhari by suspected terrorists, and also condemned the alleged ill treatment being meted against northerners in some states in the South, whereby they are said to have been tagged as terrorists.

National Conference: Analysts Advise Nigerians To Focus On Real Issues

Sunrise UrantaA member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue, Tony Uranta has asked Nigerians to give the upcoming National Conference a chance to start before criticizing its chances of serving the purpose for which it was convened.

He was speaking on Channels Television weekend programme, Sunrise, where he stated that the composition of the delegates to the conference had only 72 nominated by the Federal Government, which is less than 15% of the total number of the delegates and nullifies the chances of manipulation by the Government.

The programme focussed on the activities preceding the conference and the issue of older people making up majority of the delegates came to the fore, as many Nigerians have pointed out. A member of the Editorial Board of National Newspaper, Sanya Oni, agreed with the sentiments but believed that the issue showed the level of capacity of the Nigerian youth.

He added that the youths were doing well in business and in the corporate world on their own “so why is it in politics that they want to be helped?” He said that he didn’t believe things like leadership would fall on the laps of the youths as it was their responsibility to seize the initiative.

Uranta added that the Nigerian youth today was more knowledgeable especially in the digital age, and they have the responsibility to make themselves relevant in the politics of Nigeria.

Legal Practitioner, Malachy Ugwummadu also said that the youths lacked the kinds of robust activities that would position them for leadership. He refused to accept the claim that the present political configuration of the country shuts out the youth.

He cited the National Association of Nigerian Students as an example. He spoke about times in the country when serious national issues were mainly driven by the Students’ body; a situation which he said had degenerated into quest for self-gratification from the current young people.

Northern Elders’ Declaration

The Northern elders have expressed negatives views on the conference, claiming that the delegates were not representing the North, and Sanya feels that this was an unfortunate situation.

He preached that Nigerians really need to understand that there was dire need for the country to talk. He berated what he termed the off-the-curve discussions, the manner in which they dismissed the National Conference, and the provocative statements made during the Northern Elders’ Forum.

He singled out the claims of ownership of the Nigerian oil by the North as highly provocative.

Mr. Uranta, shared the view that the declaration of the Northern Elders’ Forum was a reaction to being left out of the main activities of the National Conference. He argued that they are just a faction of elders as the main elders of the North had warmly embraced the idea and also have delegates attending.Sunrise Natl Dialogue

Mr. Ugwummad, however, believed that the Northern Elders’ reservations should not be totally condemned as many Nigerians including himself were also hard critics of the whole idea.

He asserted that the issues have moved on from agreeing with the idea into the issues of implementation of the resolutions, the large budgets being earmarked for the talks, and the controversies surrounding the subjection of the issues being discussed at the conference to the National Assembly.

Mr Sanya also added that there were too many problems in the country and accepting that reality was the best way forward for Nigerians. He asserted that the need to decentralise power and empower traditional authority were among the issues that needed to be addressed.

Finance And National Security

While explaining the importance restructuring the leadership of the country, Mr. Uranta said “You cannot but have federalism such that the different federating units will have coordinate powers.”

He added as an example that primary education should not be part of the job of a Federal Government as the primary education structures in Nigeria are different in different regions.

He said that the claims by some Nigerians that the groundnut pyramids in the North funded Nigeria would be among matters to sort out, as he argued that in the early 1960s and according to the constitution, each region in the country funded itself and had its own economy, its own flag, anthem, and ran its own affairs.

He stated that discussing such structural issues would determine how well the other matters like fiscal federalism and national security would be treated. He added, “Let that be decided by the people.”

Why Should Anybody Get Paid?

Sanya had to contend with the question asked via social media by a Channels Television viewer. Although he admitted that there was need to cater to the needs of the delegates as they were not expected to be exposed to risks in Abuja, but added that the figures being mentioned as the delegates’ allowances and the total budget of the project were indeed outrageous.

Mr. Uranta, however, shared the view that the budget could be justifiable.

He explained “You don’t expect a Chief Olu Falae to come to Abuja and stay in a Motel or a drive by hotel”

He said “I stay in the Hilton and a room can go for like 58,000 Naira” and Nigerians have to think of all these things as many of the delegates are also retired and old; while some of them would have to come with their wives for the 3 months exercise. He added, “We cannot deny them their conjugal rights”

Mr Ugwummadu added that he hoped that the conference would not ending looking like nothing had been done.

Northern Elites Berate High Level of Insecurity in The Country

Elder statesman, Alhaji Maitama Sule says the level of insecurity in the country is largely due to issues of injustice and unemployment. The elder statesman said this at a meeting of northern elders which took place in Abuja.

IBB, Ciroma and Atiku

The meeting had in attendance, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (RTD), Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar (RTD), former vice-president Atiku Abubakar and other prominent elders from the northern part of the country.

Alhaji Sule also identified religious bigotry as a major challenge confronting the country.

The leaders had gathered to review the state of the country, especially in view of the sustained level of insecurity affecting some cities in the north.

Alhaji Sule bemoaned injustice in the land and berated the government for alleged negligence, saying: “If there is justice the people in power will be concerned and create jobs, look after the people. It is not force that will make the people obey. The world can never be governed by force, never by fear, even never by power. In the end what governs is the mind. What conquers is the spirit.

“Today, what we need in the North in order to arrest the situation is unity. And we should learn from the lessons of our elders. But I beg you: let us try to revive the glory of the past. We are all brothers, if there is any trouble it will affect every one of us. Let no one think that he would escape.

He said: “The problems in Nigeria and indeed in the North are two: tribalism and religious bigotry. I see no reason why religion should be a barrier to our unity not only in the North but also in the entire country. Nigeria is a very religious country. The Christians in Nigeria are more than any Christendom. The Muslims are more religious than any Muslim in any part of the world.”

The elders then withdrew to a closed door meeting which lasted for two hours, after which they claimed a conclusion was not reached at the meeting.

They set up two committees to come up with solutions within two weeks. The elders are due to reconvene on March 27.

One of the committees is on security and the other on political and socio-economic problems confronting the region.

Others in attendanceare former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator John Wash Pam; Alhaji Maitama Sule; Alhaji Sule Katagum; a former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Mamman Nasir; and a former Military Administrator of Oyo State, Gen. Paul Tarfa.

Others are a former Military Governor of the old North-Eastern State, Gen. Abba Kyari; former Grand Khadi of Niger State, Sheikh Ahmed Lemu; Alhaji Sani Zangon Daura; a former Minister of Agriculture, Prof. Ango Abdullahi and AVM A Daggash among others.

Last Tuesday, the coalition which is led by Second Republic member of the House of Representatives, Dr.Junaid Muhammed set up 10 committees on security and Borno dialogue, constitutional amendments, revenue and fiscal systems and structure of Federalism in Nigeria.

The security committee is made up of participating governors, Dr. Muhammed (Convener), Alh. Mahmud Yayale Ahmed (Chairman), Sen. John Wash Pam, Dr. Shettima Mustapha, Prof. Ignatius Ayua , Alh. Adamu Maina Waziri, Chief. Timawus Mathias, Dr. Ladi Hamalai;and Solomon Dalung.

Others are Commodore Isa Tijjani, Chief Audu Ogbe, Mal. Mohammed Haruna, Mal. Mohammed Hayatuddeen , Sen. John Shagaya,; Prof. Idris Mohammed, Alh. Lawal Batagarawa , and Mal. Yusuf Abba.

Members of the Borno Dialogue Committee include Niger State Governor, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu and Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa. Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno, Prof. Nur Alkali, Abubakar Mustapha, David Garnva and Kalli Ghazali