Buhari lampoons Northern Elders Forum
President Muhammadu Buhari Friday chided the pan northern group, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) over the recent communiqué that berated the President’s handling of the current security challenges ravaging the country
A statement sign by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, described the group as “ethnic and sectional group, who felt alienated after a transparent and accountable system halted their disproportionate survival on resources of the state”
The communiqué issued by the leaders of some socio-cultural organizations led by the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) and some ethnic and sectional groups had accused the Muhammadu Buhari administration of incompetence in handling the security situation in the country.
The statement urged Nigerians to ignore the unholy alliance by these groups who are stepping up their assault on the All Progressives Congress administration as it expands its national dominance and moves closer to securing an outright victory in the elections next year.
“The Presidency notes with dismay that the refrain about President Buhari not doing anything about security in the country had turned into the number one fake news item being peddled in the media.
The Presidency also referred those it described as “ purveyors of falsehood” to a State House press release published a few days ago and signed by Special Adviser the President, Femi Adesina, which clearly outlined the government’s major achievements and initiatives in tackling security challenges from January to July, 2018.
The press release which was titled: “Combating Insecurity in the Country: Lest We Forget – Presidency’’ listed out on going security operations, to include Nigerian Army’s Exercise Ayem Akpatuma covering Benue, Taraba, Kogi, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Niger States launched in February to tackle cases of kidnappings, herdsmen/farmers’ clashes, among others and Nigerian Air Force establishment of three new Quick Response Wings (QRW) in Taraba, Nasarawa and Benue States respectively, and deployment of Special Forces personnel.
The press release also noted President Buhari’s approval for the establishment of a new Battalion of the Nigerian Army, as well as a new Police Area Command, in Birnin Gwari Local Council in Kaduna State, as part of measures to scale up security in response to the banditry affecting the area.
“We advise Nigerians to read Adesina’s statement if they haven’t yet, or re-read it for better understanding of the efforts to ensure peace in the country.
He noted that “ It is sad and misleading for anyone to say that President Buhari had not responded to the security challenges in the country.
“No one can honestly say that President Buhari is doing nothing about security. It’s just a fake news item being peddled by selfish politicians with vested interests in keeping Nigerians incensed, and it risks being entrenched as reality if we don’t educate ourselves with the truth.
The President also on Friday revealed that he made his intention to contest the 2019 Presidential Elections known early in order to douse rising speculations and give the party, All Progressives Congress (APC), enough time to prepare for the polls.
President Buhari, who received members of the Buhari Support Group Centre (BSGC) at the State House, said he noticed that speculations were already constituting distraction to governance and stirring tensions, so he had to declare during the National Executive Committee meeting of the party.
“I had to announce before the National Executive Committee of our party about my intention to ask for the party’s nomination for next year’s election so that we can save a lot of time and cool tempers.
“A lot people were trying to make it a habit of being a nuisance to themselves and many Nigerians, so when I came out I said those who are serious let them come out.
“And I tried to make sure that the party is organized and consolidated so that we start from the bottom to the top, and that Nigerians will be involved in a way that each constituency will pick those that are going to represent them at various levels, whether as Local Government chairmen, in the State Assembly, House of Representatives, Senate and finally the president,’’ he said.
The President said the early declaration guaranteed more participation and inclusivity within the party, and further strengthened the bond with supporters and Nigerians.
“Some of the people thought to be uneducated and unsophisticated are very educated and sophisticated during elections; for those who have money to give they say bring the money we will still do what we want to do,’’ he added.
President Buhari noted that God’s divine intervention and the use of technology during the 2015 elections exposed the weakness of previous processes where a privileged few sat and allocated figures to constituencies during elections.
“They just sit and look at a constituency and they award the numbers, then they say anybody who disagrees should go to court; now for somebody who is looking for the next meal where does he get money to pay Senior Advocates of Nigeria?
“Thank God for technology, with the PVC you know where you registered and it can be shown whether you voted or not,’’ the President said.
He advised Nigerians to get their voters card for the 2019 elections, and ensure that they vote to please their conscience with pride as citizens.
He commended the BSGC for all the sacrifice and steadfastness in championing his candidacy.
“I thank you very much for the sacrifice you have been making. I am happy to use this opportunity to meet you and thank you for the sacrifices and steadfastness. I don’t think I can thank you enough because by identifying yourself as a group for all these years and getting nothing for it visibly I think its worthy of commendation,’’ he said.
In his remarks, the Coordinator of the BSGC, Umaru Dembo, assured that “ through thick and thin, rain or sun shine, hot or cold we are here to assure Mr President that since 2014 we have been working, expanding and helping to explain the new life that your government has ushered in for the good people of Nigeria.’’
He said the BSGC had initiated the documentation of the President’s achievements in a book authored by Dr Sani Muktar Bichi and himself.
Dembo assured the President of a bottom-up process of mobilising more supporters for the administration, while appreciating him for reversing the trend of impunity, corruption and lawlessness that reigned before 2015.
Dembo said the BSGC was an umbrella organisation encompassing “Women for Buhari and Osinbajo’’, “A Kasaa Tsare’’, “Northern Youth Assembly,” “Buhari Renewal mandate’’ and others in support of good governance in Nigeria.
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