The Presidency has fired back at the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) after it alleged that ”poverty, particularly in the North and massive social security have worsened under Buhari’s administration.”
Addressing newsmen at the end of a meeting convened by its chairman and former Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Prof. Ango Abdullahi, the group said it is difficult to see how ”Buhari can accept the challenge to radically improve his handling of our security situation and also improve the lives of Nigerians.”
The statement read in parts;
“It has become necessary and appropriate, however, to make public, the position of the forum on important matters that affect the manner Nigerians live, and the future we must address.
“The forum regrets that by any standard of judgement, the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has failed the nation in the vital area of improving its security.
“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.
“It gives the forum no pleasure to say that it had warned Nigerians that President Buhari lacked the will, the competence and commitment to lead it into a secure and prosperous future before the 2019 elections.
“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.
“It is difficult to see how Buhari can accept the challenge to radically improve his handling of our security situation.
“There should be 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”
On 2023 election, the group stated;
“The north knows its interests, and will stand together to elect only persons who meet the standards and interests of the people of the North.
“No politician should assume that they are entitled to our support unless they show a clear understanding and a commitment to deal with our problems and meet our aspirations.”
President Buhari’s spokesperson, Femi Adesina who reacted to the Forum’s verdict on the Buhari-led administration stated that the NEF is just Ango Abdullahi. According to him, the group cannot boast of credible membership and its leader is akin to a General without troops.
Femi Adesina said;
”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 (NEF). 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.
”Before the 2019 presidential election, the one-man army called NEF had shown its antipathy against President Muhammadu Buhari, and its preference for another candidate. They all got beaten together.
”NEF is merely waving a flag that is at half-mast. 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.”