Lack Of Accountability Responsible For Nigeria’s Security Challenges, Says Saraki

A file photo of former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.

 

A presidential aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Bukola Saraki, has condemned the Federal Government’s handling of the security situation in the country.

He believes that the inability to hold anyone accountable is responsible for the country’s continuous security challenges.

The former Senate President said this on Tuesday at the PDP Secretariat in Jos, Plateau State, while addressing the party’s delegates ahead of the forthcoming presidential congress for which he is seeking the support of the delegates.

Senator Saraki reminded the delegates of the middle-belt role in the stability of the country, especially in the emergence of presidential candidates and reasons that it is the turn of the north-central to produce the next democratically elected president.

Read Also: 2023 Presidency: PDP Northern Elders Endorse Saraki, Bala Mohammed

“Nigeria today, we do not have the luxury of sending anybody to the Villa. Unfortunately, the people of Plateau are bearing the brunt of it. They’ve lost close relatives, close friends, properties, and that cannot continue,” he said.

“Who is going to help us solve that problem, who better than one of us,” he asked, adding: “the problem of insecurity in Nigeria is because there has been no accountability.

“People have done this, and nobody is held accountable.”

This comes days after the Northern Elders Forum picked him and the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed as consensus candidates for the region.

2023 Presidency: PDP Northern Elders Endorse Saraki, Bala Mohammed

 

Northern elders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have endorsed Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed and Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki as the consensus candidates of the party.

The group made the decision after a meeting with General Ibrahim Babangida on Friday in Minna.

Giving the recommendation of the Northern Elders to Journalists at the Uphill Residence of Babangida, Chairman of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Professor Ango Abdullahi, said that the two aspirants have been urged to work together to make allowance for further consultations to come up with one consensus candidate.

“For the purpose of this exercise, it is hereby resolved that Governor Bala Mohammed from the North East and former Senate President Bukola Saraki from the North Central be presented as the northern consensus candidates for the moment,” he said.

“The successful aspirants are hereby urged to work together to make allowance for further consultations to foster understanding among themselves and the PDP community to ensure a rancour free primaries in which all eligible candidates would be free to exercise their right.”

According to Ango, four aspirants from northern Nigeria presented themselves for the consensus including Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Governor Bala Mohammed, Dr Bukola Saraki, and Mohammed Hayatu-Deen.

He said that General Babangida opted for inclusion through wider consultation and assigned him to design a criteria and carry out the necessary consultations with elders and leaders across the three geopolitical zones in the north.

Ango said that the process is conducted in three stages which include candidates assessment, zonal assessment and PDP previous experiences.

“In the first phase, the opinions of six distinguished persons each from the three geopolitical zones were sought with regards to each of the four aspirants.

“Each of the Zonal delegates was allocated two votes to choose the first and second choice making a total of 36 votes overall.

The outcome of that consultation was as follows: Seven votes for Aminu Waziri, 10 votes for Bala Mohammed, 10 votes for Bukola Saraki and five votes for Mohammed Hayatu-deen.

“One of the elders deferred his votes on grounds of continuing consultations with traditional rulers and other major stakeholders. Two members did not cast their second ballots bringing the total to 32 votes cast out of 36,” he said.

He said it was then resolved that a leading aspirant from North Central and one from North East are to be presented as northern presidential candidates.

“The two would in turn be required to make further concessions so that in the end one of them would be presented as the consensus candidate, out of the four that presented themselves from the north”.

Also speaking to Journalists, the Governor of Bauchi state, Bala Mohammed said that he and Saraki would meet to come up with one consensus Presidential candidate adding that they will do their best to build unity for the north and Nigeria.

“We have reached an agreement to seek consensus so that we can close rank and build unity for the north and Nigeria. We are happy that after due process and due consultation, involving the PDP Northern Elders Forum, I and Saraki have been chosen as Northern consensus candidates. We will go ahead and consult more among ourselves and bring out one candidate.”

He stated that those who have not made it are free to aspire if they wish while appreciating Babangida, the northern elders and other members of PDP for the confidence they have in them.

“The criteria used are transparent and acceptable to all of us. We are not proud or arrogant about this outcome, we are taking it with humility and we will make sure we reach out to others to make sure PDP comes up with a consensus candidate free of rancour and division so that we can give Nigerians the leadership they dearly need at this time.”

He clarified that the consensus is the representation of the north adding that discussions are ongoing with other aspirants from the south.

2023: We Will Support A Southerner Only For Our Own Interest – Northern Elders

The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) says it will support a southern presidential candidate in 2023 only if it is in the best interest of the north.

NEF while noting that the north will continue leading Nigeria because the region has the numbers, said the coming presidential election is not one in which the northern territory will play second fiddle.

Speaking on Sunday at a lecture in memory of the late Maitama Sule in Zaria Kaduna State, NEF spokesman, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, stated that the north can decide for itself who they would support come 2023.

“If they do not like the fact that it might be a northerner that will emerge as president, too bad. If we want to support a southerner, we will support a southerner because that will be in our own interest, rather than in somebody’s interest.

“And we can decide for ourselves, we do not need anybody to tell us what to do,” Baba-Ahmed stressed.

With the 2023 presidential polls in view, leaders and politicians of southern extraction have been clamoring for a shift in power, arguing that the region must provide the nation’s next leader.
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However, NEF through its spokesperson rejected the push to have Nigeria’s next president come from the southern region.

He said the northern leaders will not allow the next president to be zoned to the southern part of the country, because the practice is not in line with the democratic principle of power attained by a majority of votes.

Baba-Ahmed maintained that there is nothing wrong if the north produces the next president after Muhammadu Buhari, adding that this is possible not because the northerners are superior to others, but because the rules of politics avail the region a great opportunity.

The NEF spokesman submitted that the north will never be cowed into submission, nor forced to give up in the quest to retain power in 2023 considering its huge human population that gives the region an advantage over others.

While stating that the future of the north is not for sale, Baba-Ahmed also maintained that the region will not be threatened, intimidated, or blackmailed into giving up its right to a democratic office.

“Why does anyone need to threaten us and cajole us and intimidate us? If you don’t bring the presidency here, you will see, okay let’s see, we are waiting to see.

“If they tell you the north must play second fiddle, say No! If the rule of the game says you should vote for the candidate of your choice, vote for the candidate of your choice.

“If they do not like the fact that it might be a northerner that will emerge as president, too bad,” he stated.

According to him, no region should not be compelled to give up a democratically elected office that can be sought by any person irrespective of where he or she comes from.

Baba-Ahmed however, urged citizens from the north to be humble when eventually power is retained in the region, noting that “power comes from God”.

The NEF spokesman’s comments come a few days after governors from the southern region of Nigeria declared their support to have the 2023 presidency zoned to their region.

Rising from a meeting in Enugu, Chairman of the Forum and Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu said the leaders have resolved that the next president of Nigeria must come from the southern part in line with politics of equity, justice, and fairness.

2023: We Will Lead Nigeria, We Have Majority Of The Votes – Northern Elders

 

The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has vowed that the north will continue leading Nigeria, arguing that the region has the majority to produce a leader through the ballot.

With the 2023 presidential polls in view, leaders and politicians of southern extraction have been clamoring for a shift in power, arguing that the region must provide the nation’s next leader.

But NEF, in its most recent submission on the nation’s polity, rejected the push to have Nigeria’s next president come from the southern region.

“We will lead Nigeria the way we have led Nigeria before. Whether we are president or vice president or whatever, we will lead Nigeria,” NEF spokesman, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said on Sunday at a lecture in memory of the late Maitama Sule in Zaria Kaduna State.

According to him, NEF will not allow the 2023 presidency to be zoned to the southern part of the country, insisting that the position is a democratic office that will be determined by the majority.

He maintained that there is nothing wrong if the north produces the next president after Muhammadu Buhari, adding that this is possible not because the north is superior to others, but because the rules of politics avail the region a great opportunity.

The NEF spokesman stressed that the north will never be cowed into submission, nor forced to give up in the quest to retain power in 2023 considering its huge human population that gives the region an advantage over others.

While stating that the future of the north is not for sale, Baba-Ahmed also maintained that the region will not be threatened, intimidated or blackmailed into giving up its right to a democratic office.

He said the region should not be compelled to give up a democratically elected office that can be sought by any person irrespective of where he or she comes from.

The NEF spokesman further reminded those calling for power rotation to bury such thoughts, saying Nigeria is running a democratic government, whereby decisions over where the next president comes from are basically decisions that will be made by voters who will elect the leaders of their choice.

READ ALSO: Southern Governors Back VAT Collection By States, Zoning Of 2023 Presidency To South

While addressing those present, Baba-Ahmed said: “The vote says vote who you want. We have the majority of the votes. Why do we need to accept a second class position when we can fight and get a first class position. Why?

“Why does anyone need to threaten us and cajole us and intimidate us? If you don’t bring the presidency here, you will see, okay let’s see, we are waiting to see.

“But when we get the power, in the name of God be humble because power comes from God”.

“If they tell you the north must play second fiddle, say No! If the rule of the game says you should vote for the candidate of your choice, vote for the candidate of your choice.

“If they do not like the fact that it might be a northerner that will emerge as president, too bad. If we want to support a southerner, we will support a southerner because that will be in our own interest, rather than in somebody’s interest.

“And we can decide for ourselves, we do not need anybody to tell us what to do,” Baba-Ahmed added.

The NEF spokesman’s comments came a few days after governors from the southern region of Nigeria declared their support to have the 2023 presidency zoned to their region.

Rising from a meeting in Enugu, Chairman of the Forum and Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu said the leaders have resolved that the next president of Nigeria must come from the southern part in line with politics of equity, justice, and fairness.

Eviction Notices: Northern Elders Urge all Nigerians ‘To Exercise Restraint’

The spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed

 

Amid the eviction notice issued to Fulani herders in some southern states, the Northern Elders Forum has asked Nigerians to exercise restraint.

NEF in a statement issued on Tuesday in Abuja by its spokesman, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, described reports of eviction and attacks on some Fulani communities as deeply worrying.

“Northern Elders Forum is deeply worried by reports of ejections under threats and attacks on Fulani herders, families and communities in some states of the South,” he said.

“The Forum has been receiving these reports since the night of Sunday, January 31, and had taken the responsible step by drawing the attention of authorities to the dangers which these attacks represent for all Nigerians.

“We have also advised law-abiding Fulani communities to seek protection where it is available and have appealed to other Fulani to resist the temptation to take the law into their own hands.”

While warning Nigerians who threaten the Fulani communities in all parts of the country, Baba-Ahmed said a vast majority of Fulani are law-abiding and have rights to live lawfully wherever they can find means of subsistence.

According to the northern elders, like all Nigerians who can be found in other parts of the country, the rights of the Fulani will not be abridged by criminals hiding behind ethnic interests to exterminate them.

Baba-Ahmed called on President Muhammadu Buhari and governors to “take immediate and decisive steps to protect law-abiding members of Fulani communities from killers and criminals who apparently believe that Fulani have no rights in Nigeria.”

He also demanded “the immediate arrest and prosecution of persons who are attacking Fulani and setting the country on a very dangerous path,” vowing that “the Fulani will not be ejected from any Nigerian community only on the basis of being Fulani or herding cattle within the limits of laws and regulations.”

Facts On The Ground Support Our Call For Buhari’s Resignation – NEF Spokesman

The Northern Elders Forum has again renewed its call for the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Wednesday, the spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said fact on the ground has supported their calls for the President to resign.

“The fact on the ground supports what we are saying. The President swore under Quoran to protect the lives of citizens. He has failed to do so,” he said.

“This is his fifth year in office. The situation under him is getting worse and there is no indication that it is likely to improve.”

The northern elders had issued a statement earlier today faulting the Federal Government’s approach in tackling the numerous security challenges in the country.

In a statement, the forum said life had lost its value under President Buhari’s administration, noting that the threat of farming in Northern Nigeria was real in the face of limited production of food in many of the communities.

READ ALSO: Borno Killings: Northern Elders Lament, Claim Life Has Lost Value Under Buhari’s Administration

Baba-Ahmed, who signed the statement on behalf of the northern elders, lamented the constant attacks and killings of innocent citizens.

The spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed on December 2, 2020 called on President Muhammadu Buhari to resign over the security challenges in Nigeria.

 

“Northern Elders Forum (NEF) joins Nigerians in expressing outrage at the killings of farmers in Borno State and many other people on a daily basis in many parts of the North. Our voices have been raised without pause for a long time against pervasive insecurity in our region.

“Under this administration, life has lost its value, and more and more citizens are coming under the influence of criminals. We do not see any evidence of a willingness on the part of President Buhari to honour his oath to provide security over Nigerians,” the statement read in part.

The call followed the killing of farmers in Zabarmari, Borno on Saturday by suspected Boko Haram terrorists that left 43 people dead.

The recent killing irked many Nigerians who called for the replacement of security chiefs for failing the tackle several security threats.

Northern Elders Forum Is A Quasi-Organization With No Credible Membership – Femi Adesina

a file photo of Mr Femi Adesina.

 

Special Adviser to President on media and publicity, Mr Femi Adesina has described the statements by the Northern Elders Forum as comments from a quasi-organization that boasts of no credible membership, and its leader is akin to a general without troops.

Mr Adesina said in a statement that “hearing that title, northern elders forum, 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.

READ ALSO: Buhari Has Failed In The Vital Area Of Improving Security – Northern Elders Forum

He noted that before the 2019 presidential election, the ‘one-man army’ called NEF had shown its antipathy against President Muhammadu Buhari, and its preference for another candidate, yet they all got beaten.

Adesina added that the Northern Elders Forum is merely waving a flag that is at half-mast, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari steadily and steadfastly focuses on the task of retooling Nigeria.

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.