Northern elders regret supporting Buhari, says region was better seven years ago

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The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has said that the Northern region of Nigeria had problems including insecurity before President Muhammadu Buhari took over power in 2015 but it was much better than what its current state. The spokesman of NEF, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, who stated this while featuring on Trust TV Daily Politics programme on Tuesday, said that the North opted for President Buhari in 2015 because as a retired Army General, they thought he would have adequately tackled insecurity in the region. He said that former President Goodluck Jonathan was basically seen as a weak leader while Buhari was believed to be a tough man who is intolerant of corruption and had since 2003 persistently asked Nigerians to trust him. According to Baba-Ahmed, the reasons for supporting and trusting President Buhari have been defeated as about 25% of Northerners have either been displaced or are being displaced from their homes, while agriculture and animal husbandry which is the major business in the North are seriously threatened.
He said, “North, seven years ago had problems, security, and above the population, we didn’t have too many prospects for economic development. In fact, seven years ago, the North was already showing signs of severe decline economically. But seven years ago is infinitely better than where we are today.
“The Northern Forum was in the frontline of the campaign to put President Buhari in office and we believed that he was going to turn the fortunes of Nigeria and the North around. We had no doubt that he was going to be the solution to Boko Haram. We just thought Jonathan was weak-willed and just weak as a leader.
“President Buhari was a former General, a tough man, intolerant of corruption and had persistently asked Nigerians to trust him in 2003, 2007 and 2011. Finally we said, let’s throw our weight behind him and see if we can get there and we didn’t.
“Today, quite possibly, 20-25% of Northerners have been or are being displaced from where they live. Agriculture and animal husbandry and forestry which are the foundations of the Northern economy are severely threatened. Our economy is completely gone. The Nigerian economy is collapsing but the Northern economy is actually gone. There is hardly any production going on.”

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