…as Presidency boasts ‘nobody can bring down govt’
A group, Northern Elders Forum, has advised President Buhari to listen to those agitating for secession rather than labelling them as renegades plotting the downfall of his government.
NEF gave the advice to Buhari, on Friday, just as the Presidency boasted that nobody could bring down Buhari’s administration.
NEF spokesman, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, stated this in response to the statement of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ programme that those agitating for self-determination had plans to bring down the government.
But the NEF spokesman, who countered the presidential spokesman on the same programme, stated that nobody had interest in bringing down the Buhari government as being insinuated by Shehu.
He berated the Presidency for labeling critics of the Buhari regime as enemies and accusing them of undermining the government.
The NEF spokesman argued that Nigerians desired living in a safe and secure country, adding that it’s the President’s constitutional duty and responsibility to protect the lives and properties of the citizens.
He then advised the President to give a listening ear to the grievances of those calling for self-determination and secession.
Earlier, Presidential spokesman, Shehu, had made a declaration that nobody could bring down Buhari’s government.
Shehu also lambasted those he described as secession agitators and charlatans, accusing them of being sponsored to bully the President with the false hope of making him to cower or panic.
He maintained that Buhari would not be stampeded or blackmailed to give up power by any group.
Shehu stressed that the Buhari administration was democratically elected, advising ‘power-grabbers’ to wait till 2023 to retrieve power through the ballot boxes.
Lately, there have been renewed agitations, especially in the Southern parts of the country, for secession due to the inability of the Buhari government to tackle the worsening insecurity across the country.
Recall that last week, popular Yoruba activist, Sunday Adeyemo, aka Sunday Igboho and Chairman of the Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination, Prof Banji Akintoye, as well as other proponents of self-determination declared the Yoruba Nation.
Similarly, former militant in the Niger Delta region, Mujahid Asari-Dokubo, had also recently declared himself as the leader of the new Biafra de facto Customary Government in the South-East.
But Shehu, apparently reacting to this developments, advised people with “strong ambitions” to exercise patience for another two years to contest in the 2023 presidential election.
According to him, “I want to assure Nigerians that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is addressing multiple challenges that are facing the country especially in dealing with security and yet we are still making progress in agriculture, economy, anti-corruption, which are the key policies that brought the party and the government to office.
“It is sad for the country that opposition is exploiting some of these things. It is quite unfortunate and I want to assure that the President remains focused in preserving the security and unity of this country.
“It is an established fact that all nations of the world face problems and what is expected of all well-meaning members of the society is that they should team up with the government so that together we will all fight criminality and insurgency and all that.
“We accept that dissent is allowed, this is a democracy and people have a right to tell truth to government but we must be careful in doing that. Nobody can bring down the government because this is a government elected democratically.
“Government in a democracy come through periodic elections and if we have a government in office as we have, sponsored by political parties to win the elections, it is telling you that that confidence of the public is still there.
“People with strong ambitions, wait till four years, in fact, in our case, two more years to go to election and President Buhari will not be a candidate in that election.”