Some elders have raised the alarm over the growing insecurity in the country, saying, unless urgent and drastic measures were adopted to overcome the situation, Nigeria was sitting on a time bomb.
In a statement made available to Blueprint Wednesday, signed by Dr Balarabe Usman Wudil, for North West, Engr Zana Goni for North East. Prof Ambrose Terngu for North Central, Prof. Finebone Tamuno,for South South, Dr Ayo Bankole, for South West and Prof. Chika Madumere for South East, respectively, the elders operating under the umbrella of Forum of Nigeria Elders, admonished the federal government to immediately convene a national dialogue; with a view to discussing the fault lines, leading the country to its present predicaments.
The statement reads: “We are a group of elders from the six geopolitical zones of the country that have worked at different high levels of our chosen careers. We are worried at the current state of security situation in the country. It is regrettable that the development, which had come like a child’s play some few years ago, has assumed the current dimension.
“As a country, we are currently sitting on a time bomb and we wish to sound the alarm that, if nothing urgent is done to arrest this ugly situation, we will be consumed. We are alarmed by the dangerous wave of violence blowing round the country. This must not be allowed to fester on; given that it does no one any good.
“We are concerned about blatant disregard to the federal character principles in appointments into key positions in the country.
We task President Muhammadu Buhari to reflect over this and put things in their right places as the drafters of our constitution did not make any mistake in making the provision.
“Appointments into key positions should be evenly spread, devoid of religious, ethnic and regional considerations. This will help promote national unity, which our founding fathers worked tirelessly for.
“Appointments, particularly into key positions in the security sector, must be on merit, besides regional consideration, to give every section of the country a sense of belonging. The insecurity building up, as a result of cry for injustice and the quest for self-rule, can be greatly tackled through this. We are by this calling on Mr President, Muhammadu Buhari to review his governing strategies with a view to getting needed and expected results.”
They added: “The federal government, under the leadership of our dear president, friend and brother, President Muhammadu Buhari, must address the issues of injustice in appointments into key sectors especially people of the South East of the country and address the issues of security in all part of the country.
“As a group of elders, we see the urgent need to add our voice to the already loud voices of Nigerians across all divides on the need for the federal government to take urgent steps in leading the way for a national dialogue and reconciliation starting with addressing the issues of injustices and neglect in government appointments especially the security sector.
“This must be followed up with a national dialogue and genuine reconciliation across the six geopolitical zones of the country, else we will have ourselves to blame. We make bold to say that there is no time in the history of Nigeria that our country is so divided along religious and ethnic lines like now.
This, we must as a country try to arrest now. The onus rests on President Buhari and we advise that he should place his name on the sands of time by bequeathing the legacy of enthroning a good Nigeria suitable for all to live in to us now.
“In the past, we had civil war caused mostly by some avoidable issues. These issues are still thriving in our national life with the government and its handlers giving deaf ears to them. We must do everything to avoid repeat of the past mistakes.
“Most of us here worked actively for this administration and are actually still card-carrying members of the ruling party. But it’s time to speak up without sentiments and recourse to party, religious, ethnic and tribal considerations.
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“If we don’t speak out and act now, when war breaks out, it will consume all of us without asking for our political parties. The president should delegate his appointees to move to their various zones of the country to work with the elders of the regions and youths to descalate the looming conflict.”
“Nigeria is sitting on time bomb and something needs to be done very fast. We appeal to our dear President, Muhammadu Buhari, to begin to ignore rhetorics and empty assurances being given to him by his security chiefs and move to actions that will save our country from the brink of total collapse.”