The festering insecurity across the 19 northern states has turned the northern establishment, comprising elders, academics, promiment clerics, traders, farmers and a segment of the public against President Muhammadu Buhari.

 Cutting across parties and faiths, the regional leaders, who hitherto were supporters of the president, told Daily Trust on Sunday in exclusive interviews that Buhari had woefully failed in meeting the yearnings and aspirations of the region, thus the calls for his resignation.

The gale of the calls for the president’s head was aggravated by the recent massacre of rice farmers in Zabarmari village in Jere Local Government Area of Borno State by Boko Haram insurgents.

Daily Trust on Sunday reports that killing, kidnapping by armed bandits and other non-state armed men have become the norm in most parts of the northern region.

Buhari rode on the electoral strength of the region to win the presidency in 2015 and 2019.

Setting the tone, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) said President Buhari should resign, saying he had not demonstrated any will to bring an end to the insurgency and killings in the North.

Through a statement by its director of publicity and advocacy, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, the forum noted, “In civilised nations, leaders who fail so spectacularly to provide security will do the honourable thing and resign.”

The NEF’s request came days after the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), the umbrella body of the region, told the president to fear Allah and live up to his oath office.

Specifically, the ACF told the president that, “We feel there is no need to call on President Buhari to live up to his oath of office. He knows more than anybody else, the implications of swearing on the Quran and refusing to honour your oath to the Almighty.”

Summing up the situation, the Sultan of Sokoto and President of the Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, said the North was the worst place to live in the country, in view of the escalating insecurity.

Also, a former Jigawa State governor, Sule Lamido, has asked Buhari to seek for forgiveness from Allah for the country to live in peace. Speaking on BBC Hausa service, Lamido said Buhari should drop his arrogance and seek for Allah’s forgiveness, adding that maybe he has committed sins that are affecting the country.

Also, prominent Islamic clerics like the National Chairman of Jama’atu Izalatul Bidi’ah wa Ikamatus Sunnah,  Sheikh Abdullahi Bala Lau; the Secretary- General of Jamatu Nasril Islam, Dr Khalid Aliyu; and Sheikh Abubakar Gero Argungu, among others, have all raised their voices calling on the president to wake up and save the North from extinction.

But the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the calls amounted to playing dirty politics with the issue of security.

The minister said, “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.’’

The Convener of the Arewa Research and Development Project (ARDP), Dr Usman Bugaje, said Buhari should not only resign as president but apologise to Nigerians for destroying the country.

Bugaje, a political activist and civil society leader, said it would be good for the country if the president simply left office, adding that he has failed to uphold the country’s constitution, which gives him the mandate to protect the lives and property of Nigerians.

“He needs to leave because he came and destroyed the country. What is he going to do again?

People need to ask what he would stay to do. People are being slaughtered and you can’t even take a plane to go and commiserate with the people; you are sending people on errands. Your military has failed and you are still sitting there. He swore to a constitution that says your primary role in government is to protect lives and property. You are not doing that and you are sitting there; doing what?” he asked.

Speaking in the same vein, the youth leader of the Brethren Nigeria (EYN Church), Lafia Nasarawa State, and National Youth Leader, Congress of Northern Nigeria Christians (CNNC), Daniel Kadzai, an engineer, told Daily Trust on Sunday that Buhari was dignifying failure.

According to him, the president should be impeached without further delay, for gross incompetence.

“Perhaps those calling for his resignation lost confidence in the National Assembly, otherwise, how can they allow Buhari to continue after dozens of impeachable offences? In 2016, Buhari allocated $2 billion to fight insurgency without recourse to the National Assembly.

The constitution allows 35 years or 60 years, today the service chiefs have overstayed amidst the embarrassing incompetence, and have failed woefully in discharging their duties despite huge sums allocated to them.

“Under their watch, their colleague, a General, cried for lack of weapons from the battleground and he was court marshalled and convicted. Many soldiers fighting insurgency committed suicide because of frustration,” Kadzai said.

He said the call was an indication that Buhari scammed Nigerians, especially northern elders and most of the clerics wailing on the social media, to clinch power.

“You know the Sultan of Sokoto hardly talks, except something is happening. Even the Emir of Katsina has almost disowned Mr President. Something is certainly wrong.

On his part, an Associate Professor of Political Sociology and Dean of Student Affairs, University of Abuja, Dr Abubakar Umar Kari, said the calls for Buhari’s resignation were a reflection of the level of disenchantment of an increasing number of Nigerians with the president and his government.

“Many citizens, including those who used to be core Buhari supporters, have been deeply outraged, disappointed and angry with his mishandling of the deteriorating security situation in the country. The government does not seem to be serious, ready or even capable of addressing the problem, and this state of affairs is unacceptable to most people,” Kari told Daily Trust on Sunday.

He said although the calls were being spearheaded by the opposition and those with an axe to grind with the president, it has been gaining momentum, and even Buhari’s supporters are fast joining the calls.

According to him, “The country has been literally taken over by bandits, insurgents and armed non-state actors, who have been killing, maiming and terrorising citizens, while the government appears indifferent, helpless, or, at least, not meeting up to the challenge.”

He said the calls constituted a great setback for the president, particularly given that even northerners have joined the fray.

“A number of diehard Buhari’s supporters are now calling for his head. This shows the magnitude and depth of the disenchantment. It also represents a negative turning point for the president. Unless something decisive is done in the coming days, history will not be kind to a presidency that enjoyed so much support and understanding from the people.

“Buhari must act fast and decisively. Order must be restored forthwith. The criminals must be confronted and defeated. Anything short of that is unacceptable to Nigerians,” he said.

Like Kari, Dr Tukur Abdulkadir, a political scientist in the Kaduna State University (KASU), said those clamouring for the president’s resignation were reacting out of anger, which he said was the manifestation of the level of frustration among Nigerians. 

He, however, said the call was a clear indication that the president had “woefully failed” in addressing the yearnings and aspirations of the people.

“I think there is no need for him to resign at this stage, but honestly, it is a clarion call and he should have a rethink,” he said.

“In the National Assembly, which is dominated by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), you can clearly see the level of frustration and despair, even among his party members. If care is not taken, the APC might be taught the same lessons the people of Nigeria taught the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015, unless they wake up from their slumber,” he said.

The political scientist, however, advised the president to have a rethink about the way and manner he conducts the business of governance and stop his personalisation of the issue of power.

“If he, as a person, is contented with the performance and level of commitment of the service chiefs, the situation in the grassroots suggest otherwise. The people of Nigeria voted for him; they did not vote for General Buratai, Air Marshall Saddique and other service chiefs. Therefore, he should subordinate his personal interest to the collective yearnings and aspirations of the people, otherwise history will be harsh on his regime. I am sure he wouldn’t want to be seen in the next three years as one of the worst leaders the nation ever had, or one whose lethargic approach to governance led us to where we are today,” he said.

80% of Buhari’s cabinet members should be sacked, prosecuted – Bashir Tofa

An elder statesman, Bashir Othman Tofa, has advised Buhari to, as a matter of urgency, replace at least 80 per cent of his current ministers and heads of parastatals, to address the problems bedevilling his administration.

Tofa, the presidential candidate of the National Republican Convention (NRC) during the annulled Nigeria’s June 12, 1993 presidential election, organised by the military government of General Ibrahim Babangida, added that the ministers and heads of parastatals should not just be allowed to go but be “thoroughly investigated.”

While reacting to the widespread call on President Buhari to resign, Tofa, in an exclusive interview with our correspondent in Kano, said it was not proper to ask the president to resign mid-term because the country is practising democracy.

“We elected him, and in 2023 we will elect someone else. We don’t elect a president and call on him/her to resign mid-term. We wait and throw them out at the next election. If President Buhari resigns now, who will be the president? The vice president, who is an integral part of the government, or who?” He asked.

He said, “Since President Buhari has just about two years or more for his second term to end, we just have to find a better or more effective way to wake him up to action on issues that worry us more, like insecurity, crippling institutions and the selective fight against corruption.

“For me, he will do well to reshuffle his cabinet before the end of this year and replace all the first term ministers with fresh minds of proven ability and integrity.

“He must avoid appointing professional politicians and friends. Only competence and patriotism should be the yardstick. At least 80 per cent of his current ministers and heads of parastatals should go, and should be thoroughly investigated. Each new minister and head of parastatal must be given his/her brief of what exactly is expected of them before the end of 2021, with the resources available.”

Speaking further, the elder statesman said the widespread call for the president to step down was “clearly because of his seeming indifference to the plight of the people, insecurity, the sky-high corruption and wanton abuse of authority and the law, especially by those in government, like arrest and incarceration of people just because they expressed a view in regards to other people in government, like the Mahdi case.

“The irresponsible manipulation and misuse of the rule of law is one of the hallmarks of underdevelopment. Why they seem to forget that power is transient beats me.

“I earnestly pray for him and his good health. I suspect that not everything is well with him. It is just unimaginable that his behaviour is deliberate. There are so many bad people around him.

“I also call on everybody to pray for him. My advice to him is to sit up and take control. This country is going down the drain and he will be the accused and the accursed,” Tofa added.

Defending the president, his ally, Senator Abu Ibrahim, told Daily Trust on Sunday that those asking Buhari to resign want to the country to surrender to the Boko Haram insurgents and other criminals.

According to Ibrahim, a founding member of the APC, the insurgents, unlike before the coming of the Buhari’s administration, have no control of any part of the country.

“The police and military checkpoints that dotted all parts of the country before this administration are no more. Recall that from Abuja to Kaduna, we were spending five hours due to the checkpoints.

“Yes, we have bandits in the North-West and some parts of the country, but anybody asking the president to resign now is asking the country to surrender to these criminals. What we need now is full cooperation of all the sectors of the government, most importantly, between the Presidency and the National Assembly. And there is a leeway, the president is being invited to appear before the House of Representatives, and despite the fact that it is an abridgement of protocol, he has accepted to appear,” he said.

Ibrahim, who represented Katsina South senatorial district in the last National Assembly, advised that the president should address a joint session of the National Assembly and not the House of Representatives alone.

This, the elder statesman, said would enable all the lawmakers representing all parts of the country to listen to the president and contribute in fashioning out strategies to tackle the security and other challenges bedevilling the country.

“If the president resigns, do you think the insurgents and bandits will drop their arms? No. And who will take over; the vice president who is still part of the decision and this government?” he said.

On the allegation that the North is regretting supporting the emergence of the president, he said, “The president is doing his best. Of course, he is the commander-in-chief but he needs the input of other arms of government like the National Assembly because they are representing Nigerians and they know how much it pinches. So, here is a window of opportunity.  Instead of exposing ourselves the more, we should wait for this opportunity.”

A former Minister of Information and Communication, Alhaji Dasuki Salihu Nakande, said the failure of security chiefs to secure the lives and property of Nigerians in the country was the main reason for the call, saying if the country was secured, nobody would agitate for any resignation of the president.

The former minister, in an interview with Daily Trust on Sunday in Jos, the Plateau State capital, noted that if the president had listened to the call to sack the service chiefs for their failure and expiration of their services in office, it would have doused the tension of asking him to resign.

“It is very clear that our security chiefs have failed to secure the lives and property of Nigerians, and their failure has contributed largely to the call for resignation. Many Nigerians feel that since he Buhari cannot tell his appointees to take their responsibilities, he should leave.

“This portends danger to our democratic system because people are beginning to lose hope in their leaders. There is confusion. Political parties are not organised and the politicians themselves are not united,” he said.

He, however, advised that the president should always listen to the voice of Nigerians, adding that since well-meaning traditional rulers, party members, members of the National Assembly have called for the sack of the security chiefs, he should listen to them.

However, the immediate past secretary-general of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Anthony Sani, said the president had performed in addressing the insecurity challenge in the country, when compared to the previous administration.

“I do not believe the assertion that President Buhari has not done anything as far as insecurity is concerned, especially considering what the regime inherited.

“Recall that this regime inherited situations when Boko Haram transcended the whole North and almost overrun the region with fear. There were bomb blasts in Abuja, Kano, Plateau and Niger states, all of which claimed many hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of lives. As a result, nobody could attend worship places, markets and wedding, out of fears,” he said.

Buhari is careless about our plight – Katsina residents

Some residents of Katsina State, where the president hails from, have scored him low, saying he is careless about their plight.

Isah M. Alhassan, a cobbler, said, “We have seen a lot of changes in this government. Prices of everything have gone up. I am a shoe shiner, for instance, and the prices of materials needed for our business have skyrocketed, but we cannot increase our charges because everybody is complaining about the economic condition in the country.

“In this current situation, if we can get somebody that can do better than the president, I am in support of his resignation. This is so that we can have relief.”

On the call for resignation, a trader, Malam Jamilu Kabir, “I think he should complete his tenure because he is not going to be there forever. It is a fixed term, and once it is over, he has to give way.”

Umar Dambo, a tailor also said, “Honestly, this government is careless about our plights. The major problem of the president is that he does not listen to the opinions of other people.”

For Muhammad Sabo, a barber, who also trades in foodstuffs, “I have a strong conviction that the man came with a good intention, but somewhere along the way, something happened, which only God knows.

God will judge whosoever is responsible for the situation we are in now.”



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