By Dirisu Yakubu, Abuja
Against the backdrop of increasing spate of kidnapping and bloodletting in the country, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has counseled President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently convene a national security summit to deliberate on the way forward.
National chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus stated this, Thursday, in his keynote address at the party’s 91st emergency National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting in Abuja.
According to Secondus, the situation in the country is too dangerous for silence, stressing that under the stewardship of President Muhammadu Buhari, life has become too cheap, with killings taking place almost across every part of the country on a daily basis.
“For us as opposition, any sacrifice to stop the endless bloodletting of innocent citizens should be activated including but not limited to the immediate convocation of a national conference on security for comprehensive and all-embracing deliberation on the future of this country.
“Our country today is grounded by insecurity and there has been no matching response from government despite the demands of the 1999 operating constitution in Section 14 (2b) that ‘the welfare and security of the citizens shall be the primary purpose of government,’ ” he said.
Recalling the steps taken by the immediate past administration to stem the tides of insurgency, Secondus noted that only the North-East bore the imprints of terrorism, lamenting however that the situation has since degenerated such that every part of the country today is facing one security challenge or the other.
“Terrorists in the North before were confined to the North-East region but today 50 villages have been reportedly taken by them in the North-Central state of Niger. Where they are now, we hear is about two hours drive away from Abuja. Herdsmen are also menacing in the West, gunmen are causing havoc in the East, and the militants in the South, all killing, looting, raping, maiming, and burning down homes. The situation is bad, Nigerians all over are living in fear.
“The deplorable security situation in our country is already saturating the local and international media space that I need not bore you again,” he added.
Secondus added that the emergency NEC meeting became necessary to enable the PDP to add its voice to the growing condemnation of the mass killings of innocent Nigerians across the land.
He continued: “Travel guide recently released by the United States for their touring citizens based on their intelligence gathering, listed 14 states that they should avoid for security reasons.
“Kano state government just announced the closure of schools in the state due to security threat. Fear of attack has clearly frustrated the schooling system in the North-West.
“The record of student abduction in Kaduna states alone has been unprecedented. Hardly a day passes without an incident of killing, kidnapping, etc, in the state. This is notwithstanding the high concentration of security operatives.
“Leaders of our great party, the picture out there is worse than I have even painted because there are other many unreported cases. The banditry and herdsmen menace is taking huge tolls on our food production as farmers avoid their farms to be alive.
“Clearly, anarchy is being let loose on the people with the government unable to provide any resistance. We have therefore invited you to enable the party as the main opposition in the country to add its voice to the worrisome situation with a view to saving not just democracy but even the country.
“Having shown clearly its incapacity, the All Progressives Congress, APC led-government has swallowed its pride and now invited the international community to come and help out. This ought to have been done long ago instead of pretending and spilling innocent blood.
He added that if the nation is not secured, the 2023 elections may not old, even as he called on the government to reach out to experts capable of proffering solutions to the security challenges at hand.
Speaking on behalf of governors elected on the platform of the PDP, Bauchi state governor, Senator Bala Mohammed pledged on behalf of his colleagues, unalloyed loyalty to the Secondus-led National Working Committee, saying, “we are not with those other people that have been causing trouble in the past few weeks.”
He called on Nigerians to join hands with party members to rescue the nation from what he called the ineptitude of the APC, stressing that with all hands on deck, “we will return to power at the Aso Rock in 2023.”
On his part, House Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu pledged his readiness and that of his colleagues to continuously put the Buhari-led administration on its toes.
He blamed the APC-led government for what he called its failure to build on the gains it met on the ground when the PDP lost power in 2015.
“Our great party, the PDP was founded on the solid principles of national unity and inclusiveness as well as democratic tenets of rule of law, social justice, equal opportunity, transparency, mutual respect, sustainable economic development; welfare, security, and happiness of all.
“It is incontrovertible that our great party worked hard to achieve a stable and more united country with unprecedented economic growth, massive infrastructural development, and citizen empowerment in our 16 years in power at the center.
“Sadly, these lofty gains have been wrecked within a space of six years by the overtly inept, corrupt, divisive, and insensitive APC administration. We have never had it this bad in the history of our nation and Nigerians are crying out in pain.
“Today, due to the misrule of the APC, terrorism, mass killings, kidnapping, banditry, youth restiveness, economic hardship, unemployment, hunger, and utter hopelessness have encircled our nation.
“Nigerians across the board are now intensely looking up to our party to rescue our dear nation and we must not fail them.
“I must commend the leaders of our party for the unity and oneness of purpose that has been achieved in our fold for the task ahead. It is indisputable that if we continue in this stead, our party will certainly take back the reign of power at the centre and in most states of the federation and save our nation from this despondent situation.
“Our caucus had, against this backdrop, intensified our legislative activities in exposing the ills, incompetence, corruption, and undesirability of the APC administration while highlighting that solutions lie only in returning the PDP to power at the center,” he submitted.
Hon. Elumelu won thunderous applause from NEC members when he stated that “given our unrelenting efforts, many of our colleagues in the APC have seen reasons to join forces with us and they have expressed their readiness to cross over to our party for the patriotic task ahead.”
In a communique issued at the end of the meeting, the national publicity secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, announced the setting up of an e-registration committee which duty is to register interested Nigerians to join the party’s fold electronically.
Edo state governor, Godwin Obaseki chairs the committee his Adamawa state counterpart, Ahmadu Fintiri is the Vice-Chairman.
NEC according to the publicity scribe, also passed a vote of confidence on the Secondus-led NWC and commended it for its stewardship of the party.
The meeting was attended by party bigwigs including Senator Ike Ekweremadu, former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara, ex-Foreign Affairs Minister, Chief Tom Ikimi, former governor of Niger, and Katsina states, Babangida Aliyu and Ibrahim Shema respectively, and a host of others.