Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar said the Federal Government is paying lip-service to the spate of insecurity in the country.
Atiku in a message to Nigerians yesterday to mark this year’s Democracy Day noted that instead of tackling the problem head-on, the Federal Government has been making contradictory and ridiculous excuses and engaging in diversionary finger-pointing.
“In a letter that I sent to the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria recently on these killings, I pointed out, and I repeat it here, that only government can stop these senseless killings if we are to avoid major and further damage to the fabric of our fragile unity,” he warned.
The former vice president who is one of the presidential aspirants on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) regretted that Nigeria has become a killing field, ” especially in Borno and Yobe, and the Benue River Valley, stretching from Adamawa through Taraba to the confluence of Kogi and Benue, and including Nasarawa, Plateau, Southern Kaduna, and Zamfara.”
He regretted that the killings have even extended to sacred places of worship where innocent Imams and Christian clergy and worshippers were slaughtered.
Atiku warned that Nigeria could become like Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi and the Central African Republic if those in government whose primary responsibility is the protection of the citizens continue to make contradictory and ridiculous excuses.
“We have mourned Nigerian souls to terror attacks enough for us to learn that it is insufficient that the federal government has exclusive statutory mandate in providing security for our people,” Atiku further advised.
He reminded those in authority that the ultimate virtue in democracy is the power that it bestows in the people, adding, “The very essence of that power lies in the ability of the people to live a complete lifestyle that enables every man or woman to triumph in his or her legitimate pursuit.
“The concept of democracy is absolutely incongruent with a notion of regimentation either in the political or economic sphere.”
The former vice president further observed that Nigeria’s journey to democracy was a tortuous one that claimed lives of many Nigerians.
According to him, it is incumbent upon the beneficiaries of their sacrifices to advance the course of democracy through transparent elections and making governmental institutions work for the people.
“The integrity of Nigeria’s electoral process and ability of government to be accountable to the people are the minimum requirements to appreciate the sacrifices of those who gave their all for the enthronement of democracy in the country.
“As the nation goes through a cycle of elections in the coming months, it is important that the integrity of the electoral process is sacrosanct with guarantees of free and fair election.
“Democracy is by itself a self-correcting concept, but only if there is guarantee of credibility in the electoral process.
“As we move forward as a country, it is important that we respond to the dynamics of time in proffering solutions to some of the challenges that beset us.
“Today, the popular clamour amongst our people is the need to make government more responsive and responsible.
“Our challenges about insecurity and diversification of the economy have acquired new phases in the past few years and thus should our solutions to those challenges require a brand new thinking,” he said
Atiku further noted that the nation’s economy has become too exposed to the vagaries of global oil prices, stressing the need for government to invest massively in infrastructure and liberalize the economy to create fresh opportunities for the people.
He regretted that the country have become so divided that could not even confront the most basic of the challenges.
“These are some of the challenges that we must begin to re-evaluate their manifestation, and the significance of our celebration of democracy today should mean that we employ the broadmindedness and participatory notion of democracy in seeking solutions to them.” he said.