Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has cautioned the leadership of various ethnic nationalities across the country to watch their utterances and actions as the 2023 general elections approach.
He gave the caution while speaking at the 19th edition of the Daily Trust Dialogue themed “2023: The Politics, Economy and Insecurity”.
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Various regional groups, including Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF), Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Ohanaeze Ndigbo, and Afenifere have expressed divergent views on the controversial issue of power rotation and zoning ahead of 2023 elections.
The 2019 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate said all issues could be solved through dialogue and understanding as “this is a delicate point in the history of this country”.
He said: “Again, let me also comment on the issue of the ethnic nationalities who try to put obstacles, like Baba-Ahmed said, making it ungovernable in certain parts of the country. I think what we need to do definitely as he recommended, there is need that we lower the temperature. And what is so disappointing about this, all these ethnic nationalities are being headed by people who are supposed to be very well educated. And this is the disappointing part of it. I also believe that it is solvable. It is solvable only through dialogue and understanding. So, this is a delicate point in the history of this country. And we must be very, very cautious on how we actually approach these issues, particularly in an election year between now and the 2023 elections. So, let me pause here and say that I have been actually ambushed to make those comments.”
He attributed the failure to provide compulsory free education from primary to secondary school level to corruption, stressing strong leadership that was desirable to tackle the education challenges.
“I have listened to contributions so far about education, unemployment, poverty and the causes of what we are going through today. Of course, these are correct and the right thing; identifications of our challenges, but, the major constraint to these challenges is what was highlighted by the governor of Borno State, and that is corruption. Let me relate my experience in governance, we established the Universal Basic Education (UBE) and Education Tax Fund (ETF).
“And all this money is being channeled to the states and local governments to provide compulsory education for every child up to secondary school. Compulsory education for every child is a must. Do we do it? Do the states and the local governments do it? We know that they don’t. Why? corruption. So, I believe that a leadership that can come and really show strong leadership on that issue, particularly of education is desirable.”