Ben Agande, Kaduna
The Arewa Consultative Forum has lashed at former president Olusegun Obasanjo over his letter to President Muhammadu Buhari over the security situation in the country, saying that the former president lacked the moral high ground to talk about insecurity in the country.
Former president Obasanjo in an open letter to President Buhari warned that the worsening security situation in the country especially the activities of armed herdsmen was creating a situation that may lead to the kind of genocide that took place in Rwanda in 1994.
But in a statement responding to the former president, the Publicity Secretary of the ACF, Muhammed Ibrahim Biu said Obasanjo’s frequent open letters were neither driven by “altruism nor patriotism” but by personal aggrandisement.
The ACF wondered why the former president who had unfettered access to President Buhari will choose to offer he advise publicly.
The letter reads: “Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) is constrained to comment on the letter dated 15th July 2019 by the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari on issues he claimed are “very weighty and must be greatly worrisome to all concerned Nigerians” hence the reason he made it open. ACF appreciates the freedom of expression and the right to hold an opinion on all issues as guaranteed by our constitution by individuals or groups, as long as it’s within the confines of the law.
The Forum, therefore, believed that Chief Obasanjo used this privilege to raised the issues which mostly borders on insecurity in his latest letter, it must, however, be noted that the issues are not new to Nigerians as he had raised them in his previous open letters to the President, so also other Nigerians in different fora.
‘All the same, in exercising our right to comment on the letter, it is our candid opinion that Chief Obasanjo is a former President and an elder statesman who has unfettered access to the President should use a better and most civilized way of communicating his views to a sitting president rather than going public to create unnecessary scene and try to bring down the roof. It is true that Chief Obasanjo has become relentless in his self-appointed task of a Cassandra-in- chief for Nigeria, always proclaiming doomsday, predicting upheaval and bloodbath, which to say the least has diminished his acclaimed status as a patriot and nationalist.
“As far as the ACF and indeed the North is concerned, Chief Obasanjo lacks the moral standing to make any damning statements against any government considering his antecedents while at the helm of affairs as President. His statements and comments on national issues are neither driven by altruism nor by patriotism, but sheer self-aggrandizement.
“What, we must ask, motivates Chief Obasanjo’s current divisive activities? His recent outburst on ‘Islamization’, Fulanization’, and ‘Northernization’ are clearly calculated at causing division and acrimony along religious, ethnic and regional lines which is most unfortunate. The former President knows more than any other Nigerian that there is no such thing as Islamization or Fulanization in the North’s agenda. Enemies of the North chose to propagate such negative narratives only with the view to causing disharmony among undiscerning Nigerians.
“Unfortunately many, including the highly educated and politically sophisticated elites have unwittingly fallen into the trap of believing in Obasanjo and his ilk.
“The Forum notes with sadness how the negative stereotype associated with the issue of “Fulani herdsmen” is gradually degenerating into a national crisis. We find the assertion that every crime committed to, especially the southern part of the country, as being committed by Fulani herdsmen, irresponsible and deliberately aimed at achieving some certain diabolical objectives. The narration that every criminal, armed robbers and kidnappers are Fulani herdsmen because a Fulani man is at the helm of affairs is a dangerous precedent which has to stop. Criminals must be regarded as criminals without giving them any ethnic, religious or regional colouration. ACF, therefore, calls on groups and individuals who engage in such narratives to rise above such pettiness.
“We must realize that insurgency, banditry, kidnappings and armed robbery are our common enemies. We must join hands in finding a lasting solution to the menace.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that the country is currently facing dire security challenges with its consequences, however, we must quickly add that the challenges are as a result of cumulative failures of past administrations.
“ACF notes the efforts of military, police and other security agencies in curtailing the menace of insecurity, however, it urges the government to be more decisive in dealing with these security challenges, more so that unpatriotic forces are taking advantage of the situation to forge ahead of their evil agenda of destabilizing the country.
“The president, more than ever before, should rejig the nation’s security apparatus for effective performance. Furthermore, the Forum appeals to the Federal Government to employ both security and political solutions to the various challenges facing the nation.
“Finally, ACF wishes to reiterate its belief in the unity and invisibility of Nigeria. Our diversity in cultures, religions and tribes should be positively harnessed for the common good of all”.