The federal government said on Thursday that the call on President Muhammadu Buhari to resign is a sign of irresponsibility.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said this in Lagos during a meeting with members of the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN).
He described the call on Buhari to leave because of the deteriorating security situation in the country as “playing dirty politics with the issue of security”.
Daily Trust recalled that in the aftermath of the Zabarmari massacre in Borno State, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) said President Buhari should resign because he did not demonstrate any will to bring an end to insurgency and killings in the North.
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In a statement by its Director, Publicity and Advocacy, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, NEF said: “In civilised nations, leaders who fail so spectacularly to provide security will do the honourable thing and resign.”
Other groups such as the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), the Coalition of Nigeria Elders for Peace and Good Governance (CONEPAGG) have all expressed reservations over the escalating security breaches in the country.
It’s an unnecessary call
Speaking on what happened in Zabarmari where over 40 people were killed by Boko Haram terrorists, Lai Mohammed said, “In the wake of the killing, there have been calls in some quarters for Mr President to resign.
“Well, let me say here that this call amounts to playing dirty politics with the issue of security, and it is cheap and irresponsible.
“Mr President was elected in 2015 for a four-year term and re-elected in 2019 for another four-year term. No amount of hysterical calls for resignation will prevent him from serving out his term,” he said.
Mohammed said before the President assumed office, Boko Haram could stroll into any city like Kano, Kaduna, Jos and other places around the North to carry out deadly attacks.
According to him, “all that have become things of the past and the changes were not mere happenstance, but part of the successes recorded by the military under President Buhari.
“Therefore, calling on the president to resign every time there is a setback in the war on terror is a needless distraction and cheap politicking. Let us stop playing politics with the issue of security.
“Boko Haram is today badly degraded and can only carry out cowardly attacks like the one against defenceless farmers over the weekend,” he said.
While saying terrorism was a global phenomenon, the information minister said no nation, no matter how powerful, is immune to attacks on soft targets.
“For instance, 9-11 happened despite the prowess of the most powerful army in the world. Boko Haram’s only oxygen today is publicity. That is why they have rushed to release a video claiming responsibility for the killing of the farmers.
“That Boko Haram is going after soft targets is a sign of weakness and desperation on their part, especially after they have suffered huge setbacks in the hands of the military in recent times,” he said.
We’ve no apology, Buhari should leave -NEF
While reacting to yesterday’s comments by Lai Mohammed, NEF’s spokesman Baba-Ahmed said that their call for the president to resign was consistent with democratic principles.
“The president was elected to perform specific functions and undertake responsibilities. He has failed to do that and we are exercising our responsibilities as citizens to say to him, you have failed and there is no basis for you to continue.”
Speaking on phone, Baba- Ahmed said, “We derive no pleasure from pointing out the weaknesses of the president, we would rather praise him, particularly as northerners. We would rather say someone we supported to become president has done well but unfortunately, we are now having to ask him the same way we supported him to become president. We are now saying to him, we are very sorry, we thought you would do a lot better but you are not doing anywhere near our expectations, it is time to go and we have no apologies to offer for that at all.”
Baba-Ahmed said contrary to the minister’s insinuation that the call for the resignation was aimed at truncating the president’s constitutional mandate in office, he said the call by NEF has nothing to do with the president’s second term adding, “Mr President has had five to six years to demonstrate that he has a handle on insecurity, on the economy and many of the problems that his country has.
“He has demonstrated that he has no clue on how to approach the issue of security and so we are not in the business to shorten his term, we are telling him that six years into his presidency, it is clear that he is not going to solve our security problems. There is no sign that he is going to do that, there is no sign that he is capable of doing that. It is time to ask him to go, how they interpret that is their business.”
He reminded that in 2013, Buhari had asked then President Goodluck Jonathan to resign over his failure to deal with insecurity.
“That was two years before he became president, so there is nothing new in asking the president to resign; it is a legitimate democratic right the citizens have.
President must go – Afenifere
Also responding to Lai Mohammed, the Pan Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere said yesterday that the position of Buhari as president is problematic and backed by the call for his resignation.
Spokesman of Afenifere, Mr Yinka Odumakin in a chat with Daily Trust, said if President Buhari truly loves the country, he should resign.
“If he does not owe this country any responsibility as a president, his position has become untenable,” he said.
Odumakin described the statement attributed to the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed dismissing the call for Buhari’s resignation as irresponsible, as lacking in integrity.
He said the minister should no longer be taken as a serious person.
“I think at this point, no serious Nigerian would take Alhaji Lai Mohammed seriously. He has turned himself to a joke. When he makes statements, he just has to say something to please his master.”
Buhari gov’t a liability – Northern groups
Also responding to Lai Mohammed, the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) said leaders who cannot be advised or criticised such as the current ones are a liability.
Their spokesman, Abdulaziz Suleiman, said, “Regardless of the antics and salient threats from Lai and his ilk, the North will continue to draw attention to the lack of political will to fight the insurgency and other threats such as banditry, rustling and kidnapping that are ravaging the region, displacing its communities, diminishing its political viability, pauperising it economically and wasting its greatest asset, which is its population.
“Lai, typical of most of his colleagues would rather see the northern voices raised against pervasive insecurity in our region in terms of politics. And the fact that the president does not see the need to call out aides like Lai and Garba Shehu who tend to mock at the dilemma of innocent Nigerian citizens further questions the level of his will to protect the lives and livelihoods of the estranged northerner,” he said.
Defend yourselves – ACF, SSPEC tell citizens
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and the South/South People’s Conference yesterday said communities should defend and protect themselves because the federal government had abdicated its responsibility.
Arising from a meeting held in Abuja, the leaders of the ACF and the SSPEC resolved that with the looming anarchy all over the country, leaders from the two zones must stand up and play reconciliation role as they did before.
A communiqué issued at the end of the meeting and forwarded to Daily Trust by the National Publicity Secretary of ACF, Emmanuel Yawe stated that the meeting resolved that: “We cannot stand aloof and surrender our country to bandits who come at night to snatch our little girls, wives, sisters and rape them and at times kill them in the process. The bandits kill our men in the most primitive and barbaric way.”
It stated that the current situation in the country is that, “it is on a slippery road to disintegration,” stressing that, “Nigerians and the international community are too horrified by the stories they hear coming out of Nigeria for us to just sit and fold our hands. We are not going to hand over our country to bandits and allow them to break it.”
According to the communiqué, the SSPEC delegation was led by its Chairman, Prof. Sotonye Amakin while the Arewa Consultative Forum was also led by the forum’s Chairman, Chief Audu Ogbe.
“After exhaustive discussions about developments in the country, the two organisations regretted that the country has failed to keep faith with the dreams of our forefathers. The leaders said it was the cooperation that existed between the North & the South/South that stopped the country from breaking up during the civil war of the 1960s.”
“It reiterated the resolve of the ACF and the SSPEC to protecting the integrity of country stressing that it will continue to meet frequently to discuss youth development, economic development and security,” it said.
Buhari flouts laws by retaining service chiefs -Shekarau
A former two-time governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau, yesterday said President Buhari is flouting some laws by keeping service chiefs in their respective positions after serving for more than 35 years.
Shekarau, an APC Senator from Kano State, while appearing on Channels Television’s morning show Sunrise Daily, argued that the military is governed by a scheme of service, which includes when to leave automatically, adding that the rule of law in government service outweighs the decision whether the service chiefs were performing or not.
“There is a point the presidency is missing. Before you get to the question of performing or not performing, there is the question of rule of law. The military is governed by the scheme of service. There are conditions when to leave-you either attain age 60 or put in service for 35 years,” he said.
He added, “None of them (the service chiefs) has less than 35 (in service). The chief of defence Staff has put in 39 years of services. Except for the chief of defence who is 58, all are more than 60. The chief of air staff has put in 37, chief of naval staff has put in 41 years.
“What we are saying is even if Mr President has found them indispensable, allow them to retire just like in public service, as the rule specifies, and you can hire them as minister of defence, adviser on defence, NSA, whatever.
“There is a difference from being within the service period and the president can keep you as long as he so wishes,” the Senator said.