The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex Yoruba group, Afenifere, and the Middle Belt Forum have accused President Muhammadu Buhari of being divisive.
The groups noted that the President’s actions were dividing Nigerians.
The statement came following President Buhari’s advice to Nigerians at the launch of the 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day emblem and Appeal Fund.
Buhari had at the launch in Abuja called on Nigerians to desist from actions and comments that could cause the disintegration of Nigeria, adding that the unity of the nation was won at a great cost.
He noted that the event was meant to first remember and commend the sacrifices of the nation’s fallen heroes and veterans of the First and Second World Wars, the Nigerian Civil War, Peace Support Operations around the world and the fight against insurgency, terrorism and armed banditry in the nation.
President Buhari’s statement reads below in parts;
“We honour the memory of our gallant officers and men who have paid the supreme sacrifice in order to keep the country united as one entity. The nation remains grateful for the efforts and sacrifice of the Armed Forces especially in the fight against insurgency and other internal security challenges confronting Nigeria.
“The Armed Forces Remembrance Day or Veterans Day as it is known in some parts of the world is an important event observed in commemoration of the end of the Second World War.
“In Commonwealth member countries, the Remembrance Day is observed on November 11 yearly. However, for us, the date was changed to January 15 annually to accommodate the commemoration of the end of the Nigerian Civil War.
“Therefore, the occasion reminds us of the need to guard jealously the unity of the nation which was won at a great cost.
“It also serves as a reminder for our citizens to desist from divisive actions and comments that could jeopardize the unity and progress of the nation. Nigeria’s strength lies in her diversity.”
President Buhari further noted that security agents had restored normalcy in some parts of the North-West and North-Central regions previously ravaged by bandits.
“These security threats have undermined Nigeria in the areas of trade, investment and economy, education, health as well as agriculture and frequently denied Nigerians the freedom of movement.
“I am however pleased to state that a lot has been achieved in the internal security operations in the North-West and North-Central zones where in addition to Operations Lafiya Dole, Hadarin Daji, Harbin Kunamar, Whirl Stroke and other operations such as Accord, Sahel and Katsina were successfully launched.
“This has led to the return of normalcy in some of the affected areas. However, all hands must be on deck to check attacks on soft targets.”
He urged Nigerians to purchase and wear the emblems with pride in order to identify with those who laid down their lives for the peace and security of Nigeria, while launching the emblem with N10million.
Reacting to Buhari’s statement, the acting Secretary of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prince Uche Achi-Okpaga, while speakiing to The Punch, said that the president’s actions were very divisive; “They (Buhari’s actions and policies) seem ethnic as they are religiously inclined,” the Ohanaeze spokesman said.
“He has just reappointed Prof Yakubu Mamoud as the INEC Chairman for a second term of five years. Under Mamoud as INEC Chairman, a new chapter of inconclusive elections was opened in Nigerian electoral process coupled with a staccato of electoral litigation in which some governors are described as Supreme Court governors.
“Apart from that, must he appoint his tribesman? Babangida appointed Prof Humphrey Nwosu, Obasanjo appointed Prof Maurice Iwu, Goodluck Jonathan appointed Prof Atahiru Jega, all different from the tribes of their respective appointers.
“Look at the RUGA issue. It was designed to take the land of the indigenous people and give to Fulani herders most of whom are not even Nigerians. It was severely rejected by Nigerians. As if that was not enough, his government brought the National Water Ways Bill.”
Also, Yinka Odumakin, the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, in an interview with The Punch, noted that President Buhari since his emergence in 2015, had consistently carried out actions promoting Nigeria’s disintegration.
“ This sermon sounds like, do as I say but not as I do. He should lead by example and not precepts. Words are cheap but examples are hard.
“The way to stop divisiveness is to stop promoting the interest of herdsmen above other Nigerians and stop behaving like the President of a corner of Nigeria.”
Also, the Middle Belt in a statement through its National President, Dr. Bitrus Porgu, noted that Buhari’s speech would be meaningful if he carried everyone along.
“He (Buhari) only saw Nigeria as a monolithic entity comprising only his own Fulani ethnic group and every of his policies was centred around them and those close to him.
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.