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Our agenda for Buhari, by lawyers

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Our agenda for Buhari, by lawyers

 

‘Buhari must stem tide of rising insecurity’

 

As President Muhammadu Buhari took oath of office for another term of four years last week, lawyers especially the Senior Advocates of Nigeria took time to set an agenda for Mr. President. AKEEM NAFIU reports

 

 

Amidst tight security, President Muhammadu Buhari and his deputy, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), was on 29th May, 2019, sworn-in for a second term of four years in office by Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Mohammed.

This followed their victory at the presidential election conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) across the country on 23rd February, 2019.

According to the official result announced by the Chairman of the electoral body, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the president polled total votes of 15,191,847 to defeat the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who polledwas only able to gather a total of 11,262,978 votes.

Although Atiku Abubakar and the PDP are already challenging the election results at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, Nigerians are more concerned about how the nation could progress amidst numerous challenges bedeviling it.

Sequel to the president’s inauguration, many Nigerians who were hoping to hear how he would tackle the daunting challenges confronting the nation were disappointed as the occasion was devoid of such.

But, it is worthy to note that the president had prior to his inauguration for second term asked Nigerians to brace up as the last lap of his four years in office as Nigerian leader would be tough.

Addressing members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) who were on a congratulatory visit to him at the presidential villa upon his victory at the polls, Buhari noted that no meaningful progress would be made when the country and relevant institutions were not secured.

He further revealed that the next phase of his government would continue in tackling insecurity, fighting corruption and creating numerous jobs for Nigeria’s teeming youths
Buhari said: “My last lap of four years, I think it is going to be tough because people are being forgetful. That was why wherever I went, I reminded them of the campaign promise of our party, particularly security, as I kept on saying that you have to secure the country well and the institutions.

 

“If you don’t secure the country, you can’t achieve anything no matter how many programmes you put in place. Secondly, on the economy, unemployment is a problem of this country as a whole. More than 60 per cent of the youths, they need to be kept busy. I realised that God heard our prayers.”

 

Some members of the wig and gown also spoke on their expectations of Buhari’s government in the next four years.

 

The lawyers while baring their minds on the issue at the weekend particularly asked the president to stem the tide of rising insecurity in the country, saying no meaningful progress could be achieved in an environment devoid of peace.

 

They also asked the president to recover the economy and fight corruption within the ambit of the law.

For instance, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Seyi Sowemimo asked the president to be more committed to securing the citizens and uplifting the economy.

“The two most immediate concerns should be security and the economy. The level of poverty and unemployment are frightening”, he said.

Another Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Norrison Quakers spoke on the need for the president to choose the best hands to work with him in order to put the nation back on track.

Quakers said: “The president came to power promising Nigerians that he will address three areas of the Nigerian State; economy, security and corruption. The question is how far has he addressed these areas?

“To positively impact the Nigerian State, his appointment must not be lopsided in terms of ethnic and/or religious bias. He must appoint technocrats, fund the educational sector, invest in technology and research, diversify the economy, challenge the various professional institutions and bodies like the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Association of Registered Architects of Nigerian, Nigerian Bar Association, Nigeria Medical Council e.t.c to formulate policies and get involved with pride or patriotism in the building of this nation.

 

“Invest in enforcement agencies in terms of manpower, equipment, training and exposure to international best practices.

“Federal Executive meetings should not be about award of contracts but formulation, review and execution of policies and the impact on the various sectors.”

Mr. Yemi Candide-Johnson, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria said: “There is a yawning gap between the values and ideals expressed by the president and the political actors who are his foot soldiers. He needs to model the exemplary standards for a progressive Nigeria by sending out exemplary Nigerians to carry out this mission.

“It is the responsibility of the elite and in its self-interest to exemplify the highest conduct and behaviour. If they do not believe then the whole nation is already lost. A lion cannot be president of goats.”

 

To Hakeem Afolabi (SAN), the president should frontally tackle the issues of banditry, kidnapping and extra judicial killings by the police in his second term in office.

“The president must be more purposeful and sincere in the discharge of the functions of the office of the president. He should give serious consideration to the insecurity in the country. The security challenges go beyond Boko Haram. I think the talk about Boko Haram is not too appealing again.

 

“The president should take on frontally the challenges of kidnapping, banditry and extra judicial killings by the police. Where lives and property are not safe, then a government is a failure.

 

“The president should be prepared to step on toes. There should be no sacred cows. All citizens must be equal before law and the law must be taken as supreme over everybody. Human rights must be respected.

 

“Government policies must not be designed to favour one group at the expense of others. The president should appreciate that he is president of Nigeria and not president of APC, North, herdsmen or Fulanis.

“The president should create time to listen to Nigerian news items or read papers and not rely on briefings from his aides. Those people will always feed him with falsehoods. He should be able to ask questions. I hope and pray that he will live up to the oaths he took.”

 

A rights activist, Mr. Malachy Ugwummadu, asked President Buhari to immediately constitute an executive team that will inspire and rekindle the dwindling hopes of the Nigerian people.

 

He said: “Incidentally, we have been on the streets and at the Gani Fawehinmi Park (Freedom Square Ojota) in particular, drawing the attention of the Nigerian people to the ideals of the declared public holidays of May 29th and June 12. Without June 12 that established the foundations, parameters, limitations and threshold of democracy in Nigeria, the calendar date of May 29th for the handover of power as constitutionally dictated cannot be possible.

 

 

“The idea of June 12 is not about handover notes or salutation of soldiers during march pass or inter-denominational church services but about the universal adult suffrage, the credibility of our electoral processes, the integrity of our institutions, the rule of law and above all, the sanctity of the collective will of Nigerians.

 

“Therefore, we expect, in the immediate, the composition of an executive team that will inspire and rekindle the dwindling hopes of the Nigerian people, point to the prospects and possibilities of Nigeria and Nigerians.

 

“Secondly, the presidency must foster a harmonious and productive relationship with the legislature and judiciary without compromising the agenda of concretely repositioning the country for the actualization of her potentials.

 

“Thirdly, the economy must be revamped urgently to stimulate growth and tackle the massive unemployment in the country. The right economic environment including infrastructure must be put in place.

 

“Insecurity must therefore be dealt with urgently having reduced the unemployment level in the country. An inclusive government that eliminates the perception of nepotism and clannish practices must be seen to be operational. The fight against corruption as an existential challenge must be intensified but clearly within the parameters of extant laws”.

 

A former Vice-President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Monday Ubani, wanted President Buhari to see what could be done to revive the economy in order to make life worth living for Nigerians.

 

Ubani said: “The president needs to recover the economy because the economic situation of the nation at the moment is very bleak. Nigerians are not smiling. The rates of unemployment and inflation are high. There are no money in circulation. People are suffering and many populace cannot even afford one square meal in a day. The economic situation looks very bleak and uninspiring.

 

 

“Therefore, the president should take the best economic managers on board in other to revive the economic situation in the country, create employment and re-engineered economic activities by ensuring that conducive environment is created for entrepreneurs to survive.

 

“Government also needs to wake up on the issue of rising insecurity in the country. Banditry, kidnapping and insurgency are all back in full swing. There is hardly any day that passed without people being killed in large numbers”, he said.

To Mohammed Fawehinmi, the president should bring technocrats on board to work with him in the next four years.

He said: The president should choose ministers who are technocrats, and mostly young people who are goal-getters in their respective specialized fields of expertise and should secure the country from the major prevalent insecurities.”

 

Mr. Destiny Takon asked the president to promptly overhaul his economic and security team in line with current realities in the country.

 

“My candid advice to President Buhari as a beneficiary of tainted electoral process in 2019, is to assuage the justified concerns of Nigerians who have more than ever before, become disunited, impoverished, insecured and despondent in their own country and under his watch.

 

“He should overhaul his economic and security teams with immediate effect; stem the scourge of herdsmen militia killings, Boko Haram and religious intolerance that pervade the North.

 

“Evolve our electoral system to give it integrity just to ensure that only candidates actually voted by the people are declared winners of elections. Increase funding for education in science and technology and other relevant fields of human endeavour to-position Nigeria competitively in the rat race for who controls and indicates economic relationship among nations. “Reorganize the apparatus of government for fighting corruption and close his eyes to the prosecution of his close allies who are more involved in acts of corruption than even members of the opposition”, he said.

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