The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) in a press conference on Sunday said that President Muhammadu Buhari has failed the entire nation.
The NEF expressed disappointment over Buhari’s style of leadership, saying that he did not only fail the north, but he failed Nigeria as a nation.
This was contained in the statement read at the press conference held in Zaria, Kaduna State, yesterday.
Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, the Director of Advocacy and Engagements of the NEF, who read the statement on behalf of the Prof. Ango Abdullahi-led NEF, noted that the president has failed to protect the lives and properties of Nigerians.
“The forum regrets that by any standard of judgment, the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has failed the nation in the vital area of improving its security. Poverty, particularly in the North, and massive social security have worsened under this administration.
“The relationship between insecurity and poverty is fundamental, but the administration does not appear to have any idea on what will provide relief or solution.
The Northern Elders further urged Buhari to change service chiefs and other public safety heads following the continued spate of terrorism, banditry, killings and kidnappings in the nation.
The group noted that President Buhari must do more to ensure bandits did not divide Nigeria along religious lines.
“The forum demands a thorough overhaul of the leadership of our security and public safety agencies, and the injection of higher levels of competence, integrity and accountability in the manner our troops and the police and security agencies deal with security challenges,” the forum said.
“It is shocking that in spite of unprecedented consensus among Nigerians that the administration requires a new resolve, approach and leadership in the fight against the nation’s multiple security challenges, President Buhari appears either totally isolated or in deep denial over the result of his failures to secure Nigerians.
“With this type of mindset, it is difficult to see how President Buhari can accept the challenge to radically improve his handling of our security situation.
“Nonetheless, we believe that Nigerians must continue to raise our voices and organise through all legitimate means to demand that the administration address major failings in his perception of our situation and his response to our demands for our rights to security.”
Top northern elite present at the meeting included; a former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alamin Daggash(retd.); Secretary of the Coalition of Northern Groups, Abdullahi Usman; and NEF Chairman, Prof. Ango Abdullahi; Ambassador Yahaya Kwande, Deputy National Chairman of NEF, Alhaji Bello Kirfi (Wazirin Bauchi); DIG Labaran Wurno, Alhaji Yakubu Shehu, former Managing Director of the defunct Bank of the North, Hajiya Amina Yahaya.
Reacting to the statement issued by the NEF, the presidency said that the NEF another insignificant group led by Prof. Abdullahi.
The presidency in its counter statement issued by Femi Adesina, said that the NEF lacks credibility, adding that the group is just like an army general without troops.
“Prof. Ango Abdullahi on Sunday signed a long-winding statement on many issues relating to the North, and purportedly to the country.
“The former Vice-Chancellor signed the statement under the banner of Northern Elders Forum. Hearing that title, 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. It is a quasi-organisation that boasts of no credible membership, and its leader is akin to a General without troops.”
“NEF is merely waving a flag that is at half-mast. President Buhari steadily and steadfastly focuses on the task of retooling Nigeria, and discerning Nigerians know the true state of the nation.
“They don’t need a paper tiger to tell them anything.”
Ogbodo ThankGod is currently the Managing Director/CEO/Group Chief Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He was the Chief Editor at NaijaBuzz.News before his new top leadership role. Ogbodo has years of experience in the Nigeria Media Industry and has co-founded some media companies. He is the founder of Ogbodo Solution Nigeria and 1Push.Ng. He loves playing football and is a strong supporter of Lionel Messi who he describes as the greatest footballer of all time.