Southern, M’Belt groups slam Buhari, says President’s speech empty

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Apex Igbo socio cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, the Middle Belt Forum and the apex Yoruba self-determination group, Ilana Omo Oodua (IOO yesterday described President Muhammadu Buhari’s Independence Day address to Nigerians as full of empty claims.

They also tasked the president to put the contents of his 61st independence anniversary speech to practice.

Muhammadu Buhari

Ohanaeze said that while Buhari’s call for dialogue is commendable, such has been lacking in his administration. It said as a show of good faith, President Bihari should engage agitators across the country in a genuine dialogue. MBF said the problems in the country could be traced to absence of equity and justice, even as it described the speech as empty and full of false claims.

National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Alex Ogbonnia said President Buhari has two clear options before him: to let the country disintegrate and collapse under his watch or to work towards the unity of the country.

According to him, wherever there is an agitation, it means something is wrong and the right thing to do will be to dialogue.

He said: “What attracted my attention most is that the President spoke of dialogue and the need for peaceful coexistence, I hope he will live up to his speech. I am of the conviction that the problem in Nigeria is caused by the inability of the President to play the father figure, as someone who has many children, he should not dispense extremely love to one and extreme hate to the other. If people are agitating, there is need to dialogue and find out why. So, we are pleading with the president to act out his speech by embarking on dialogue with various sections of this country because anytime you see agitation there is a cause for it and what is expected is that you find out the problem and sort it out. “President Buhari has about 18 months to leave and he has two options, either to leave a legacy of a good man that listened to the cries and hues of the people and brought peace and unity, or a president that ignored the cries and yearnings of the people and allowed the country to collapse under his watch.”

President of MBF, Dr Bitrus Pogu said the Independence broadcast is a compendium of false claims.

He said: “How can someone we all know has failed come out and say his administration has performed more than the previous administrations? This is a false claim, this administration has failed and cannot lay claim to any performance.” On the call for peaceful coexistence, Publicity Secretary of the MBF, Dr Do go Isuwa said: “Peaceful coexistence will only be possible in Nigeria if there is equity and justice. We don’t have that in Nigeria. All the agitations across Nigeria is because there is no equity and justice.”

In its reaction, the apex Yoruba self-determination group, Ilana Omo Oodua (IOO), under the leadership of Second Republic Senator, Prof Banji Akintoye, said President Muhammadu Buhari is chasing shadows in his allegation that members of the National Assembly have been sponsoring the Yoruba nation activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho, over agitation for Yoruba nation. Akintoye, who spoke through the Communications Secretary of IOO, Mr. Maxwell Adeleye, asked why President Buhari was silent on Boko Haram insurgency, banditry and killing of people in different parts of the country, and was particular about self-determination that has been declared legal and constitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction.

Said he: “We appreciate him for saying that. But we are challenging him to name those that have been molesting, kidnapping, raping and killing our women, farmers, and travellers in terms of sponsoring of herdsmen’s terrorism and Boko Haram insurgency in the South East, South West, North Central, Middle-Belt and Niger Delta.

“You can’t pamper somebody who stole N1billion and be using guns to fire people that stole N5. We have not seen the offence Chief Sunday Igboho has committed. We are asking him to just tell us the offence that Chief Sunday Igboho has committed up till this time. I want to ask again, is there any court of competent jurisdiction in Nigeria where Sunday Igboho is standing trial?

“The people that the Nigerian government arrested in Lagos during the Yoruba nation rally in July, were all granted bail. They charged them for disturbance of public peace. The last time the court sat, we did not see them. Up till now, the government ran away from Benin Republic court; they did not come up with any charge against Igboho, where he is standing trial in Cotonou. The one in Abuja, what has happened? Nothing. There is a High Court judgment that says self-determination is a right, and it is legal.

“So, assuming Mr President is right, what offence has the senator that is sponsoring an agitation that has been declared legal and constitutional by the court of competent jurisdiction, what offence has that senator committed?

“President Buhari is just trying to entertain himself and his people. Why was he silent on insurgency in the Northern part of the country? He was silent on terrorism by Fulani herdsmen. He was silent on terrorism by Boko Haram. He was silent on people that have been kidnapping and killing people in the South and the Middle-Belt. He was silent on daily killings of people in Benue State and Southern Kaduna. He was only particular about people agitating in the Southern region. So, our position is that Buhari is chasing shadows. On everything he said, we are not bothered.”

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) also asked President Buhari to name the sponsors of Igboho and Kanu without delay, adding that he should not take the country for a joke.

National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe told Saturday Sun: “Why is the government shy of exposing these sponsors? It makes the government itself look suspect. These strange pronouncements started since the Jonathan Presidency.

“That one made the allegations that his cabinet members were part of Boko Haram. He never substantiated the accusation with names and we allowed him to get away with it.

“We should not allow Buhari to get away with it. This country should not be taken for a joke. “Why not reveal their identity? When Governor Matawalle of Zamfara State threatened to expose the identity of sponsors of banditry in the state, our Chairman Audu Ogbeh said to him to name them & let the heavens fall,” Yawe said.

Pan Yoruba socio cultural organisations, Afenifere also called on President Buhari to eschew nepotism, be more sincere and live up to his words that his administration will listen to the people. National Publicity Secretary, Jare Ajayi said there are many instances in which Buhari-led government has shown that the people did not matter.

He said: “The greatest area in which the government has failed in recent times is in the area of security. Whatever infrastructure government put in place, it is only those who are alive and in good condition that can enjoy these things. But how can those who have been killed, kidnapped or maimed by terrorists enjoy those infrastructures the president is thrilled to say that his government is putting in place? It is heart-warming that the president promised to ‘listen to all and protect democracy.’ One sure way to do this is do away with impunity, nepotism, be more sincere in its tackling of security challenges in the country and above all, allow restructuring to take place so that peoples of Nigeria can sit down and decide on the modality for their continued staying together in a United Nigeria that is truly federal.”

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