Northern leaders and elders have lambasted the government of Muhammadu Buhari, saying that life has lost value under his administration
They said Buhari has failed in all fronts in protecting the people and providing for their welfare, which are the basic objectives and principles of state policy.
Spokesman of Northern Elders’ Forum, (NEF) Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed and former Governor of Kano State, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, who spoke at different television programmes, lamented the spate of killings and general insecurity in the country, especially the recent murder of farmers in Borno State by Boko Haram insurgents claiming that
Shekarau, while also decrying the killings faulted the president for keeping the service chiefs, despite the fact that they have either reached the retirement age or have served out their service terms. The service chiefs are the Chief of Defence Staff, General, Abayomi Olonisakin, Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok Ekwe Ibas, Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who were appointed since July 2015
He said that Buhari has breached the law by not retiring them as they have either reached the 60-year retirement age or have served out their 35 years in service.
According to him, “Buhari has breached service rules by still retaining the service chiefs. They are not appointees of Buhari, but were appointed according to the service rules of the Federal Republic Nigeria. The military as one of those public services is governed by a scheme of service. In the public service as in the military the rule is you retire after the age of 60 or after 35 years of service, which one comes first. All of them have either attained the age of 60 or have put in more than 35 years in service.
He said that except for Olonisakin who is 58 years old, but has put in 39 years in service, Buratai and Ibas have served 37 and 41 years, respectively.
Skekarau added, “Even if Mr. President has found them indispensable, he should allow them to retire and he can hire them in other capacities like minister of defence or adviser on defence or something.”
The former governor and now a serving senator also expressed dismay at the manner the farmers were slaughtered in Borno by slitting their throat. He described it as most inhuman and utterly reprehensible.
The former governor also advocated for a South-East presidency in 2023, saying that there should be some balancing in the polity.
Continuing he said, “I don’t call it zoning, I would rather call it some balancing. There has to be some sense of belonging. There is what I call the constitution of common sense.
“The Constitution of Nigeria or the constitution of any of the political parties didn’t say if I am from the North, my running mate must be from the South. It is not written but if today, I am a presidential candidate from Kano and I tell you my running mate is from Bauchi, you will say something is wrong with me.
“The presidency has just been from the North for eight years. Common sense tells that we should look the other side, to the Southern part of Nigeria. We should recognize the North and the South; this is elementary geography and history.
“Perception is what you have to carry along. If you continue to dominate on one particular side, the perception from the other side is, ‘What about me?’ ”
On his own part, Baba-Ahmed lamented that the lives of Nigerians no longer have value under the present administration due to the constant attacks and killings of innocent citizens.
He said that the only option available to Buhari is to toe the path of honour and resign as president and commander in chief, regretting that Buhari is the only commander in chief, who was a military officer that could not secure his people.
“Buhari was a military leader who cannot secure the people. 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.
“In civilized nations, leaders who fail so spectacularly to provide security will do the honourable thing and resign. Our voices have been raised without pause for a long time against pervasive insecurity in our region.
“We have consistently drawn attention to lack the of political will to fight the Boko Haram insurgency and other threats such as banditry, rustling, and kidnapping.
“We had offered suggestions on how the security infrastructure could be improved and leadership of the military could be made more effective,” they said.
The leaders lamented that their advice and that of many other Nigerians, “have made no impression on President Muhammadu Buhari.”
“This particular killings have been greeted by the most insensitive response by spokespersons of the President. The lame excuse that farmers had not sought permission from the military to harvest produce merely exposed the misleading claims that our military had secured vast territories from the insurgency.”
“The killings and the reality they expose will make relocation of citizens and resumption of economic activities a lot more difficult to achieve even for leadership that attaches priority to them, and this administration does not.”