Following series of security challenges confronting Nigeria in recent times, especially armed herdsmen attack on hapless communities across the country, some stakeholders including founder of Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Dr. Fredrick Fasehun, former National Secretary of Labour Party (LP), Mr. Kayode Ajulo and one of the principal actors of the 1990 Gideon Orkar coup, Col. Tony Nyiam (rtd) have urged the political leadership to prevent the situation from escalating.
The trio said the present socio-political and economy situation in Nigeria demands serious address before the next general election.
Fasehun in a press statement urged Nigerians to pray to God to avert war ahead of the 2019 general elections. Worried by the impunity with which Fulani herdsmen have been operating unchecked in recent times, the OPC founder said unless and until the incumbent government changes its style and address the popular demand for restructure “Nigeria stands the risk of being plunged into serious crises going by the recent escalation of the Fulani herdsmen killings, the unresolved Boko Haram insurgents, the lingering fuel crisis, looming ethnic and militia issues and the comatose economy situation in the country.”
He also flayed Buhari’s government on the plan to borrow $1 billion to fight Boko Haram, saying, “It is an irony that Nigeria should need so huge an amount to tackle insurgents that the government said last year it had technically defeated. If Nigeria needs extra-budgetary allocation to that tune, the claim of defeating Boko Haram was a lie, and one wonders if democracy is now the telling of lies to the people.”
Fasehun also dismissed the change mantra of the APC, which he said the party used during its pre-election campaign to vote it into power but has since failed to keep to its promise.
He said, “In selling their change mantra in the build-up to the 2015 elections, Buhari and his followers promised not only to stop the importation of petroleum products but to revamp the refineries and reduce the pump price of petrol. Third year running, and with the President himself as Minister of Petroleum, the government has failed woefully to deliver on these promises and the people are being made to pay for government’s ineptitude and insincerity with unending queues at the fuel stations.”
To him, the only thing that would make him endorse Buhari for reelection is if there is a genuine commitment on his part to retool the structure of the country to true federalism.
Nyiam on his part said the earlier President Buhari listen to the voice of reasoning by addressing the structure of the country and not processes, as he espoused in his New Year message “Nigeria may either not be the same or he (Buhari) would be voted out of power if he venture to re-contest in 2019.”
Nyiam said with the recent scary security developments, “it is very dangerous for the country to venture into another election without addressing the issue of restructure.”
According to him, “Unless we restructure, the present system is skewed in a way that it will also favour the Northwest and Northeast in any general election because of the fraudulent census which gave the two zones dominant population over other regions.”
He said he was not averse to Buhari’s reelection on the condition the “Mr. President put in place mechanism to restructure the country. I am ready to support anybody who has the conviction that Nigeria must be restructured.”
Ajulo on his part said the argument whether Buhari should contest or not is a gimmick being employed by the President’s men to crate a myth around him (Buhari) that if he contest he would win.
According to him, “As a lawyer, I want Buhari to contest in 2019 and he should be allowed to confront the electorate who have the final say whether he wins or loses. As long as the constitution allows him to run, it shouldn’t be an issue for debate.”
The lawyer added that whether the APC likes it or not the issue of security, economy and corruption would form the crux for campaign and determinant of who becomes the next president of the country “and on these three issues, which Buhari used to convince Nigerians in 2015, his government has failed woefully to achieve any concrete things on them.”
On the fear Nigeria’s security situation can escalate before 2019, Ajulo said the present rise in Fulani herdsmen killings and other challenges are makings of politicians, adding “I believe they will all fizzle out as soon as the next election is conducted and decided.”