•MPF, Arewa youths, Afenifere insist Nigeria not safer
An elder statesman, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, has said that he didn’t believe in the style and policies of the current Federal Government. Adebanjo, who spoke with Saturday Telegraph, in a telephone interview, stressed that President Muhammadu Buhari’s government does not appreciate people and the nation’s past heroes.
“This is a government that doesn’t listen to people. I don’t believe in this government, they don’t appreciate people. Do you know the pressure that was put on them before they recognised the late Chief MKO Abiola,” he said.
The belief of many Nigerians is that the late Chief Abiola, the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election, ought to have been honoured earlier than President Buhari did in 2019.
But it is noteworthy however that it was Buhari who eventually honoured Abiola when other presidents before him did not. Adebanjo also used the opportunity to eulogise the recently deceased Ndubuisi Kanu.
He described the death of the activist and former military administrator of Lagos State as a great loss to Nigeria. He said: “Ndubuisi Kanu was a gentleman in all sense, a retired soldier, a patriot, a nationalist and a conscientious and detribalised Nigerian.
He was a progressive politician, an uncompromising advocate for a united Nigeria under a restructured federal system. “He will be greatly missed. He was a dedicated loyalist to the cause of restructured Nigeria. He will be greatly missed. I have been in shock at the news of his death. May his soul rest in peace!
“The government should do something monumental to remember him. Kanu was one of those who fought against dictatorship and he was passionate about it. It would be difficult for him to be replaced.
He was a great Nigerian that would be missed,” he stated. But reacting to Buhari’s comment on Thursday that Nigeria was safer now than when he assumed power in 2015, the Yoruba socio-political group Afenifere, the Middlebelt Patriotic Front and Arewa Youths disagreed with the President.
The Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, said that Nigerians were being taking for a ride “for any Commander-In-Chief to say that Nigeria has defeated Boko Haram or to say that the country is becoming safer.” Odumakin pointed out that Boko Haram is still having a field day in Nigeria, and gave an instance of the recent kidnapping of some secondary school boys in Kankara, Katsina State, by the terrorist group.
“This is Boko Haram that just kidnapped over 300 boys in the village of President Muhammadu Buhari in Katsina, where he went for holiday. This joke is becoming too dry and it’s a just a wakeup call for us to know that we have to get on our feet and know that we are losing the very idea of a country every minute.
“It’s a big joke coming from the government. If Boko Haram has been defeated, why are you sending people to negotiate with them and there are allegations of millions of naira being paid to them,” he said.
The chieftain of Afenifere stated that a military general said some years ago that the current administration in the country paid about 3m euros to Boko Haram. He added that the government was taking the people for fools “when they begin to tell us such open lies about Boko Haram. What will this government say that we will believe when they are bandy-ing such a lie about Boko Haram? What they are saying is not true and it cannot be true.
They can only say that to fools. Only fools will believe such things.” In the same vein, the Middlebelt Patriotic Front (MPF) said that the statement of President Buhari that Nigeria is safer now shouldn’t come as a surprise to Nigerians. The group, speaking through the Convener of the Middlebelt Patriotic Front (MPF), Comrade Ibrahim Bunu, said the Presidency has consistently made statements that Boko Haram had been defeated tactically, but that the reverse is the situation.
“This is not the first, second or third time we have heard of such statements; this statement has been made more than hundred times, just last week we heard of what happened in Yobe State.
So, I think it will be better if the people in power – especially at the Presidency – stop making statements, because the more statements they make in this regard, while reverse is the case, the more the citizens will get angry.” He advised the President to silently and strategically fight insurgency without making noise about it, saying all those advising the President should know that these are not statements that Nigerians want to hear.
Comrade Bunu however said that security agencies had achieved the desired results in Abuja-Kaduna Highway, while urging the President to silently and tactically achieve the same result in the whole country.
He added: “I was highly embarrassed when a friend told me that a construction company working in Zamfara and Katsina had to pay money to bandits before they could be allowed to work which is shameful.” Also reacting to Buhari’s statement that Nigeria is now safer, youths from the 19 Northern states and Abuja, under the auspices of the Joint Action Committee of Northern Youth Associations, (JACOM) on Friday said that even some cabinet members in President Buhari’s government will disagree with his assertion that Nigeria is now better and safer than he met it. The association said: “many Nigerians, including members of his cabinet, will disagree with the President’s claims that Nigeria is now better than he met it.”
Convener of the association, Alhaji Murtala Abubakar, told Saturday Telegraph in Kaduna that in terms of security, the state no longer has the monopoly of the use of force as insecurity has taken over the country, especially in the North. According to him, “From any angle you look at it, either from his three-point campaign promises or on a larger state of affairs in the country, he is yet to achieve.
“Let’s take his three campaign promises; security, war against corruption and economy (wealth creation); any of these three areas you take, make a comparative analysis of what was on ground before his coming to power and current reality of things under his stewardship as president, the obvious fact that one can deduce is that Nigeria now experiences progressive degeneration in an unprecedented manner under this administration.
“Security of lives and property today has degenerated to the extent that the state no longer enjoys monopoly of the use of force, and corruption has reached a high level. The immediate past chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, that was appointed by this administration was removed for allegedly engaging in corrupt practices. “Equally, the number of jobless people has reached an all-time high with concomitant effect,” he said.
Also commenting on the statement of the President, Mike Ejiofor, a former Director of the Department of State Security (DSS), urged Nigerians to react to whether the statement of the President was true or not. He stated: “However, I would agree that some progress has been made but to say that the security situation now is better than it was in 2015, is not entirely correct.
“In 2015, we were only contending with explosions and now explosions are no more, but we have increased in kidnapping, activities of insurgents in the North East, and banditry in the North West.
“So, I don’t know the yardstick but the truth is that our country is still struggling with security issues, though we have to wish our country well and see that the situation improves.” Ejiofor said that he believed that the government was not elected to be comparing the past with the present based on the “promise that they were going to improve the situation. For me, there is no need for that comparison.”
He added that he did not believe that the statement came from Mr. President, saying that he would rather shift the blame on the president’s handlers because, according to him, “they are the people heating up the polity; it would be better if they keep quiet.”