7th August, 2019
WHY WE DECLINED JOINING #REVOLUTIONOW PROTESTS AND THE WAY FORWARD
A few days ago, the Coalition of Northern Groups addressed a press conference at the Arewa House, Kaduna at which it declared that the North would not take part in the protests.
We wish to clarify that our position was based on the following considerations:
1. While not doubting the daunting reality of the current administration lapses that are a serious source of concern, we nevertheless remain convinced that every form of disagreement could be resolved through decent and civilized engagement rather than resorting to an archaic and violence-prone confrontation.
2. We were convinced, and still are, that the intention of the organizers of the protests included a forceful and violent overthrow of government as shown in:
a. The submission of the convener of the protests that as from the commencement date, all national security agencies including the armed forces, police, and state security services would stand neutralized.
b. The protests leadership was for all intents and purposes calling for a bloody insurrection when it openly pronounced on July 25 that: “I’m not talking of protest. I’m embarking on a revolution. 85% of Nigerians are in support. Don’t tell me about legal implications or what a judge will say. I don’t care. We must bundle Buhari out of that place.”
3. We had reasons to believe, and still have, that the Soworegang was engineered by a foreign agenda for the destabilization of Africa with Nigeria as the new gateway.
4. That the North, with the ugly scenario that unfolded in Libya fresh in its mind, has no reason to implicating its already estranged citizens in international intricacies aimed at achieving similar results.
REALITY OF ADMINISTRATION LAPSES
As stated, the CNG, despite its repudiation of the intentions and planned mode of execution of the ill-fated #Revolutionnow, is as well not unaware of the multiplicity of problems faced by the country in this administration. The most worrying cases include:
a. Boko Haram
The Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East which killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions more leaving about 7.7 million people in serious humanitarian crisis is not yet over.
b. Farmer-herder clashes
These clashes are not necessarily new, but since 2015, the disputes have become more frequent and violent assuming new dimensions in kidnappings and banditry across the North and other places claiming an estimated six times more than the Boko Haram crisis. It is now being politicised and is stirring ethnic and religious tensions while government appears unable to find inclusive and creative ways of addressing and deescalating this complex conflict.
2. Sluggish economic growth
Nigerian economy has been growing at a slow pace while government fails to show genuine concern for turning its diversification policy from mere paperwork into a more actionable project by channeling efforts and resources into revamping the agricultural sector, giving adequate incentive to farmers and addressing the farmers-herders conflict nationwide. The World Bank projects a 2.5% economic growth for Nigeria while Moody’s puts economic growth at 2.3% in 2019. Also, the African Development Bank (AFDB) projects Nigeria’s growth at 2.3%.
Since inception, the Buhari administration has shortchanged some sections particularly the North in spread of goods and services, budgetary allocations and appointments with disregard for the principle of federal character as outlined in the Nigerian constitution. Buhari has also failed to assemble a team of experts, technocrats and experienced professionals to carry out rapid development across Nigeria.
4. Stained anti-corruption crusade
The administration’s anti-corruption is generally seen as a charade and a witch hunt targeting a select people while ignoring those in its own camp. Buhari has failed to prove to Nigerians that he is impartial.
5. Disregard for rule of law and nation’s constitution
The President is largely criticised for disobeying court orders, trampling on citizen’s rights and lack of respect for constitutional provisions.
SOUTH WEST CONSPIRACY
It is quite unfortunate that the South West which has been the the single major beneficiary of the Buhari administration should also be in the forefront of efforts to discredit and bring him down by all means.
This can be seen in the manner in which the bulk of political, cultural, religious and traditional leadership is standing solidly against the government with its open support for call for the violent overthrow of the Buhari government by the #Revolutionow organizers.
In particular, such individual beneficiaries of the government as Bola Tinubu, Fashola, Fayemi, Argbesola, and others largely from the South West were nowhere to be seen when their people and the southern-based media ignited tensions over the government’s Ruga initiative.
These same beneficiaries appear today in implicit support of the proposed insurrection by maintaining a conspiratorial neutrality while other southern influencers like WoleSoyinka, Bisi Akande, Falana etc explicitly back the organizers.
1. The Presidency
We submit that instead of just sitting back to thank Nigerians for not joining the overthrow plan, President Buhari should rather sincerely apologize to the nation by reflecting on how he dragged the country into such a desperate situation, own up to his inadequacies and take genuine steps to address the mounting national grievances.
Unless this is done, with the growing angry mood that pervades the entire country, the likelihood of a more serious dissent remains imminent.
We also wish to ask the president if in all honesty he still considers the South Western players as true friends who are genuinely desirous of his success. He should ask himself if the treatment he is receiving from them is worth the attention he had given the South West which involved colliding with his northern brethren to the point of elevating the status of June 12 as appeasement.
2. The North
To the entire northern leaders and elite, we categorically say that the current political alignment with the South West is not paying and it never will.
The vital task at this point is for the northern political leadership to renegotiate its current alliance with the South West which has never been North’s political ally The alliance is already turning out to be unhealthy.
We are calling on the northern elders and leaders to review the region’s position by realigning with our traditional political friends which had served the whole nation for decades before the coming of this unholy and unprofitable union with the South Western block.
This has become necessary with the way the South West is going about the current friendship by being more openly antagonistic to northern interests even while they are the major beneficiaries of the Buhari administration. They, at the slightest of pretenses, openly denigrate the North, its people, its leadership and culture which must not be allowed to continue.
The CNG therefore calls on the current leadership of the Northern Elders Forum under Professor Ango Abdullahi to mobilize relevant stakeholders towards bringing an end to the political partnership with the South West and embracing the North’s initial political allies.