The Northern Elders and Leaders Forum (NELF) says the failure by its elites to complement the effort of the military with diplomacy is responsible for the recent killings experienced in the region.
The Northern elders made this known in a statement signed by Third Republic Senate President, Senator Ameh Ebute, on Friday, on President Muhammadu Buhari’s effort on national security, cohesion and stability.
According to the elderstatesmen, there’s been significant turnaround in the Boko Haram/ISWAP crisis since President Buhari took over the helm of affairs.
The president, NELF said, has expressly followed the founding vision of Sir Ahmadu Bello on a secured and united Northern Nigeria.
However, the group added that critical stakeholders including traditional institutions, religious leaders, patriots, civil society organizations and the youths have failed on their part.
While shouldering the blame for not supporting the military enough, the group charged other stakeholders to put away sentiments and rancour occasioned by politics and personal interest.
According to NELF, this is a ” wake- up call to all interests in the region to put humanity and the collective interest of our region first”.
The group, however, expressed its total support for President Buhari while distancing itself from ” some dubious elements that have no sense of history or love for the North to malign President Muhammadu Buhari on the issues of insecurity.”
Read full statement below:
The Northern Elders and Leaders Forum, a socio-cultural organization of distinguished elder statesmen in Northern Nigeria, wishes to lend its voice to the state of the nation in Nigeria and the various efforts of the Muhammadu Buhari administration in addressing the various challenges confronting the country.
The Northern Elders and Leaders Forum is appalled with the level of misinformation been peddled by some groups purportedly acting on behalf of the generality of Northern Nigeria by attempting to exaggerate the state of insecurity in Northern Nigeria.
There is no doubt that we have a critical situation on our hands as a people that require the genuine concerns of all stakeholders including traditional institutions, religious leaders, patriots, civil society organizations and the youths in addition to the various organs of government such as the Police, Military and Intelligence coordination units.
There is no doubt that our focus as a people has been on sentiments and rancour occasioned by politics and personal interest that are not healthy for the growth and development of the country. This is unacceptable in the face of the numerous daunting challenges ahead of us as a people.
Ours is, therefore, a wake- up call to all interests in the region to put before them humanity and the collective interest of our region and wish to state as follows;
We wish to state that President Muhammadu Buhari has expressly followed the founding vision of Sir Ahmadu Bello on a secured and united Northern Nigeria since he assumed leadership of the country in 2015.
We also state that under the Muhammadu Buhari administration, the principle of equity and justice has been the watchword in the conduct of government business as well as in the prosecution of the Boko Haram/ISWAP war in Northern Nigeria and other parts of the country.
We, therefore, find it insane that some agents of darkness have ignored all these qualities but to disparage the long-cherished virtues and efforts of the Muhammadu Buhari administration on the altar of cheap politics and bitterness instigated from outside northern Nigeria.
The Northern Elders and Leaders Forum consequently states that the recent attempts by some dubious elements that have no sense of history or love for the North to malign President Muhammadu Buhari on the issues of insecurity are unacceptable.
We wish to place it on record that the quantum of security challenges inherited by President Muhammadu Buhari as far as insecurity is concerned has significantly been dealt with by the gains recorded in the fight against Boko Haram Insurgency in North-East Nigeria.
Under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari, the over 16 local government areas under the control of the Boko Haram group in North-East Nigeria were recaptured by the Nigerian Military. This is on the heels that the operational headquarters of Boko Haram in Sambisa Forest was also taken over by the Nigerian military, and other heroic acts in Northern Nigeria and other parts of the country at large.
It must be stated that the leadership examples set by the revered Sir Ahmadu Bello of blessed memory with regards to leadership have been abundantly emulated by President Muhammadu Buhari since he assumed leadership of the country in 2015.
It is therefore not a surprise to the Northern Elders and Leaders Forum that a smear campaign can be launched against his personality and commitment to protecting lives and properties in Northern Nigeria, as well as other parts of the country because it hasn’t been business as usual for those hawks who have conspired over the years to steal the commonwealth of the people.
If not for anything, these individuals and associations parading themselves as historical authorities in the affairs of Northern Nigeria should do well to go back in history to understand the factors that drive quality leadership at all levels and also, for them to be able to make informed public statements, instead of playing to the gallery to score cheap political points.
The Northern Elders and Leaders Forum as critical stakeholders in the socio-economic affairs in Northern Nigeria indeed pledges its continued support to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for leading by example and ensuring that the interest of the North and indeed all of Nigeria are protected at all times.
We wish to state that those that are genuine in their concerns about issues in Northern Nigeria would identify with President Muhammadu Buhari in his quest to make Nigeria safe and secured for all. And those whose voices are only heard on the pages of newspapers without any meaningful contributions to the growth and development of Northern Nigeria to their names are always the first to throw stones.
Nigerians must do well to ignore these individuals and associations in the interest of peace and tranquillity. And it behoves on all well-meaning Nigerian to support President Muhammadu Buhari in this critical time of our existence.