Addressing the challenges in Nigeria must precede the 2023 general election, northern elders insist

• Say that politicians threaten national security

Emma Okonji and Nosa Alekhuogie from Lagos and Chuks Okocha from Abuja

Northern elders said yesterday that the various challenges Nigeria faces must be addressed before the nation can hold general elections in 2023, warning that unless it is done, the country will become weak and vulnerable to internal conflicts.

Speaking on the show Jutarnji program, the breakfast program on the ARISE NEWS channel, the show OVIH DANA, the director for publicity and advocacy of the Forum of Northern Elders (NEF), dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed said there is an urgent need for a genuine conversation about the challenges in the country, as well as how to address them to reduce threats to the general election.

“We need to meet to address our collective challenges such as decentralization of power before the 2023 general elections,” he told ARISE NEWS, explaining: “If our challenges are not addressed before the 2023 elections, we will definitely have a weak country. which struggles to address monumental challenges. “

He said the elections had become a distraction because politicians had focused on them, instead of dealing with crises of insecurity and a growing search for decentralization of power, among other demands for a review of the country’s existing power relations.

“The truth is that 2023 is crucial for our challenges, because politicians are already planning elections in 2023, without having previously thought about solving the challenges of insecurity in the country,” Baba-Ahmed said.

Suggesting that politicians in power and government resisted political demands for a revision of the prevailing structure, he was sure no president or politician would agree to restructure the country and diminish the powers of the presidency and members of the National Assembly, which he claimed posed a threat to the country.

“No president, no governor, no legislator, no politician will agree to change the situation they benefit from and that is why we need to meet and address the challenges before the 2023 general elections,” he stressed.

This role of stumbling and what he called the statements of politicians, he said, pose stronger threats to the nation’s security than robbery and insurgency, adding that Nigerians must meet in various forums to discuss insecurity and political challenges facing the country.

He warned politicians of unmanaged excuses aimed at northerners, which he said were threats to Nigeria’s sovereignty.

“The real threat to Nigeria comes not only from bandits and protesters, but also from our politicians who have sworn to protect the country because of their excuses,” he said.

In Saturday’s attack on the governor of the state of Benue, dr. Samuel Ortoma, said insecurity is exacerbated by the vacuum created by inefficient leadership in the country.

He described President Muhammad Buhari’s way of managing too slowly, adding that Nigerians cannot wait for him to fix the county in his spare time.

He therefore called for the urgent prosecution of all those involved in the attack on Horta, especially the group that claimed responsibility for the attack.

He stated that the Northern Forum of Elders will not approve of crime and will not protect any criminal, even if he is such a criminal from the extraction of Fulani.

According to him, the insecurity of the nation has become a threat to the people, the state and the nation, adding that the main threat comes from politicians and leaders like Ortom.

Baba-Ahmed said: “Politicians who are planning elections in 2023, without thinking about how to solve the challenges of insecurity in the country, must be told that they are planning in the wrong direction.

“The country is in danger and we have never been in a situation like this before, which is associated with insecurity and threats to lives and property. Equally, we have not seen a government that is too weak and inefficient to address our collective challenges.

“The future of Nigeria is threatened by criminals and our leaders.”

He expressed dissatisfaction with the frantic uproar over secession, sovereignty and self-determination of various groups, saying Nigeria had never had such an uproar before.

He raised the alarm that the situation is worrying for all Nigerians, including northern elders.

“As the Forum of Northern Elders, we have played our part in maintaining the unity of Nigeria to a level that will serve everyone’s interest, and we will continue to play that role,” he said.

He complained that the elders saw situations in which people singled out the north as the only obstacle for them, stating that profiling was rejected.

“We would like to sit down with Nigerians from other regions to address our collective challenges as a nation, only if other regions are willing to talk to us. “Most Nigerian leaders and politicians who should stand up and speak out against the ills of society do not do so because they have lost political ground under millions of Nigerians,” he said.

He accused politicians of inciting rhetoric to provoke tensions in the country.

“A good example is the speeches of southwestern politicians who should be one of the enlightened people in Nigeria. They are truly enlightened people who have always said that they are committed to progress, but still make statements that are worrying and directed towards the north, and we are concerned about such statements. The North will not join them and we appeal to the responsible Nigerians not to sell the country to bandits and lawbreakers, ”he said.

Baba-Ahmed regretted that Yoruba, which is the most sophisticated people in the country, does not come out to speak out against the disease in society, noting that Nigeria is one country and that what is happening in the state of Borno affects other parts of the region. Earth.

He also accused the Congress of All Progressives (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) of grounding the economy, adding that members of both parties were unwilling to change their strategies because of their personal interests, which they put above the national interest.
He added that they do not pay attention to the well-being and safety of people because their interest is not in the people.

On the solutions to many of the country’s challenges, Baba-Ahmed said: “Nigerians must take strong initiatives as citizens of Nigeria, because that country can no longer rely on President Muhammad Bukhari or the governors of different countries. Even members of the National Assembly cannot address the challenges of Nigeria.

“It is true that there are enough reasons to question the efficiency and legitimacy of the Nigerian state, in terms of its commitment to protecting the people of Nigeria. The way to achieve this is by talking to each other, although we have some Nigerians who are afraid to tell the truth in the face of daunting challenges.

“From the Northern Elders Forum group, we are already talking to other groups and people in the country to reshape some forms of consensus that will move Nigeria forward.”

He also called on Nigerians to discuss constitutional changes and decentralization of power to reduce the prevailing powers of the federal government.

According to him, the federal government controls the police, army and all security structures of the country, and Nigerians must find ways to decentralize power at the center to strengthen states.

“People who think that the solution is in the national assembly are wrong because the national assembly is people who represent the people of Nigeria from different constituencies, but they have drawn the line between national interest and personal interest. There are no activists in the National Assembly to address the basic issues of the federal system, and we must go beyond that by getting Nigerians to meet and talk to each other to address our collective challenges. When we meet, we will engage the National Assembly with some useful documents that will help solve the challenges of Nigeria, ”said Baba-Ahmed.

Asked what he would do if he had the opportunity to advise Buhari on insecurity, he said he would question him about insecurity and inform him that something was fundamentally wrong with him or with the people he entrusted with management.

He said: “I will inform him that he is too slow and indecisive in making decisions that affect national security.

“If I have the opportunity to talk to the president, I will say, ‘Sir, please wake up and smell the coffee, this country is falling apart.’ He is in very serious danger; it goes down under your supervision. You swore in 2015 and again in 2019 that you would protect the citizens, the territorial integrity of Nigeria. Sorry, sir, you don’t do it, you do it well or you don’t do it at all. And one of the things you should do is call about 200 to 500 Nigerians, without any preconditions, and say, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, I believe this government will benefit from some quality advice in terms of further progress.

“Second, take more of your governors in confidence, talk to them. They are very important people. They have responsibilities under the constitution and are capable of enforcing them, especially in matters of security. What do you want? What can we do together? What can I do for you and what can we consider a legitimate idea or a crazy idea?

‘Third, please ask real questions about what is happening with security in this country. There’s something wrong. You keep changing things, but we see the same result. ‘