By Akanimo Sampson
Apparently not satisfied with Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State’s admission of ‘’worsening insecurity’’ in Northern Nigeria under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has dared their elders to raise their voices against the ‘’endemic insecurity’’ in the region as they did during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Borno State Government had recently called an extraordinary security meeting to discuss the security menace in the state, during which the governor revealed the frustration his administration suffered under the Jonathan administration which informed their persistent criticism of the past administration.
At the emergency security meeting at the Government House Maiduguri on Monday night, Governor Shettima stated that when he said in February 2014 that the Nigerian military was not well equipped to fight Boko Haram was a spontaneous reaction which came out of frustration and it was in defence of soldiers being killed in front lines.
He has however, admitted that the security situation in his troubled state was getting worse of recent, pointing out that he could not blame President Buhari for the situation unlike how he blamed ex-President Jonathan.
This is happening as some Northern leaders have disagreed over President Buhari’s decision to seek re-election this coming February. They said they will not support Buhari’s re-election, claiming that the candidate to support remains one of their own from the list of the 71 presidential hopeful cleared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The only other high profile candidate in the 2019 presidential election is former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Convener of the Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), Professor Ango Abdullahi, who made this known did not seem to be speaking for all.
Three key officials of NEF have distanced themselves from Abdullahi’s position, saying they were solidly behind Buhari and will do everything possible to get him re-elected this year. The trio – Maj. Gen. Paul Tarfa, Capt. Basir Sodangi and Sani Daura, said in a statement that Buhari deserved re-election because of his ‘’excellent performance’’ and the fact that replacing him will turn the hand of development backward.
But according to Abdullahi, a former Ahmadu Bello University Vice Chancellor, they allegedly arrived at the decision to dump Buhari for another northern presidential candidate because of his failure to fulfil the basic conditions they handed to him in 2015 when they rejected the then President Jonathan and elected him.
Dogara challenged them as he also expressed grief over the death of theEmir of Lafia and Chairman Nasarawa State Traditional Council, Isah Mustapha Agwai who died at the age of 84.
In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Turaki Hassan, the speaker said the demise of the traditional ruler, especially at this time was indeed a great loss not only to the people and government of Nasarawa state but the country as a whole.
He described the monarch as an exemplary leader and man of peace who, throughout his reign, was known for preaching and promoting unity and harmony among the diverse people of his domain, the state and the nation at large.
While condoling with members of the Lafia Royal family as well as the people and government of Nasarawa state, Dogara expressed the hope that the legacies of honour, dignity and selfless service exemplified by the late monarch will be upheld.
Speaking later in Lafia, the state capital, at the campaign of the PDP on Thursday, Dogara noted that the silence of the northern elders on insecurity in the region could be taken as enabling the poor management of security in the country, especially in the north, a situation that continues to threaten our democracy and the very foundations of the country.
Going further, he condemned sycophants who elevate some public office holders to the status of God, saying that by so doing, they bring destruction upon the country and called on all Nigerians to rise up and rescue the country from the clutches of insecurity.
‘’Just like my last speech to Nigerians that were gathered in a rally like this in Gombe, I said that the 2019 general elections is not about President 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’’, he said and continued, ‘’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? 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? Are we nit reaponsible for the killings by our enabkith to say that enough is enough and demand aa of right that President Buhari puts and end to this or leave if he cant? 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 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 have wittingly become enablers of evil. 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. We now need to rise up and rescue our country from the clutches of insecurity.’’
Dogara again stressed that the forthcoming election will be a referendum on many issues, including education which he said has not being given attention that it deserves by the present government as displayed in the lacklustre way it is handling the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
He specifically noted that by allowing schools to shut down under the name of strike, this government has thrown teeming Nigerian youths into idleness and slowing down their progress adding, ‘’it’s been said that if you want to destroy a community, state or nation, don’t even fire shots or bring the crisis that is being perpetrated by Boko Haram, don’t even bring nuclear bomb, all you need to do is to lower the standard of education in that community state, or nation. Once you succeed in doing that, you’ve killed the nation.
‘’So many of us may not understand what I’m implying, but right now in Nigeria, the university lecturers are on strike. If it was a decent government that is committed to the future of this country, it wouldn’t take one week to resolve this problem, but unfortunately, through ineptitude the strike is allowed to fester.
‘’If we shut down education, we shut down progress, we shut down the future of our teeming youth who have gathered here, we shut down the advancementc of this great country called Nigeria. So the 2019 election will be a referendum on education also.’’
Dogara has been raising the alarm on the rising spate of insecurity in the country since 2016 and calling for the overhaul of the country’s security architecture, and had also cautioned against deployment of soldiers in 32 out of 36 states of the federation which he said may not aurgur well for democracy and advocated for reform of the Nigeria Police.