The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has requested the immediate resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari, over killings across the country, most especially in the North. The Director, Publicity and Advocacy of NEF, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said this call yesterday in a statement.
The group said: “The administration of President Buhari does not appear to have answers to the challenges of security to which we are exposed. We cannot continue to live and die under the dictates of killers, kidnappers, rapists and sundry criminal groups that have deprived us of our rights to live in peace and security.
“Our Constitution has provisions for leaders to voluntarily step down if they are challenged by personal reasons or they prove incapable of leading.
“It is now time for President Buhari to seriously consider that option, since his leadership has proved spectacularly incapable of providing security for Nigerians. Our Forum is aware of the weight of this advice, and it is also aware that we cannot continue to live under these conditions until 2023 when President Buhari’s term ends,” it said.
NEF stated that it made the recommendation with the highest sense of responsibility, and expressed hope there are enough Nigerians who enjoy the confidence of President Buhari to urge him to consider resigning.
On December 1, 2020, NEF had made the call on President Buhari to leave office for failure to tackle increasing insecurity in the country after the beheading of over 67 farmers in Zabarmari village, Jere Local Government Area of Borno State, announcing that the Federal Government had breached Section 14 (1), which made security and welfare the main purpose of its existence.
NEF had through Baba-Ahmed said then that life had lost its value under the current administration as a result of absence of political will to repel the Boko Haram insurgency and other threats such as banditry, rustling and kidnapping.
Citing the massacre of innocent farmers in Zabarmari, the Forum regretted that Buhari had ceased to listen to concerns from many Nigerians about the height of insecurity in the nation.
On Monday, the body had been one of the prominent Nigerians, which included the President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Samson Ayokunle and the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, that cautioned that widespread insecurity across the country is the greatest threat to the 2023 general elections.
Speaking during the Inclusive Security Debate Retreat jointly set up by the Global Peace Foundation and Vision Africa in Abuja, they cautioned that there might be no election in 2023, if the present spate of insecurity in the country is not addressed.
Baba-Ahmed yesterday bewailed that killings and attacks on communities have now become regular features of lives of all Nigerians, as traveling anywhere is now risky, and the option of staying put does not make anyone safer.
He said: “Killers and other criminals appear to have sensed a paralyzing vacuum at the highest levels of leadership, and they grow more confident and acquire more competence in subverting the State and our security.
“Nigerians have shed enough tears and blood without appropriate response from those with responsibilities to protect us.”
He urged politicians aspiring to rule the nation to weigh their capacities and commitments and challenges of leadership very carefully.
The Northern elders’ spokesperson stated that leading Nigeria out of its present state and placing it firmly on the path of rediscovery is not an all-comers affair and that Nigerians will express greater levels of discretion in deciding who they can confide in future.
“There are also groups who deepen the concerns of Nigerians over the possibility of a safe and free campaign and conduct of the 2023 elections. Comments, which threaten that those parochial political demands must be met, rather than negotiated or processed through the democratic process threaten all Nigerians and hint at a wider space for violence in the run-up to the elections, and after it.
“These comments are unbecoming of elders, and they detract from the genuine and difficult search for good leaders who will be totally committed to a nation with very serious challenges.
“Our Forum re-commits to engagements and dialogue with all politicians and groups to seek the lowering of tensions and stresses, which represent threats to our democratic process. The Forum condolences with families who have lost members, and prays with those whose members are kidnapped that they will be reunited without further delay,” he announced.