From Okwe Obi, Abuja
Northern elders under the aegis of Coalition of Northern Elders for Peace and Development (CONEPD), have blamed the festering insecurity mostly in the North East and North West geopolitical zones on some leaders and elders of the region whom they said, saw the danger in the beginning of the crisis but refused to tell the truth.
The group said attachment of religious and regional considerations in dealing with the crisis was the bane of progress in the war against insecurity, adding that the sentiments led to the bad advice given to President Muhammadu Buhari against picking security chiefs outside the North.
Its National Coordinator, Engr. Goni Zana, in a statement, yesterday, added that the deception weakened the zeal with which the war against terrorists was being waged by most handlers of the crisis which has emboldened the scourge.
According to him, the appointments of service chiefs has never been based on competence or professionalism, but sheer sentiments and ethnic consideration.
Zana called on the President to henceforth stop adhering to advice from people of “narrow interest” but to take only decisions that are pro-Nigeria with a view to correcting the many ills of his administration towards a better country.
The statement read: “As difficult as it is in speaking the truth, we feel constrained to admit that our quick resort to religious, ethnic and regional considerations led us to advise the president in wrong directions.
“The war against insecurity could have been a thing of the past if we had made good and informed decisions. We believe the complete consideration of our interest in making appointments into security agencies among other things led us to this present situation. Our decision resulted in deep drop in the pursuit of the war against terrorists thus emboldened the adversaries on the other hand.
“Many lives and property have been lost and destroyed. Frontline troops were falling every day to a more determined group of insurgents and bandits but our decision to remain quiet and not say the truth as things were happening, led us to this present situation.
“We are loosing it as a country and Mr President needs to take extra steps before we are consumed as the rate at which we are going now if nothing is done within the shortest possible time, we may not have a country to call our own.
“The era of doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is over. We can’t continue to dwell in the past. It’s time to move forward now.
“Mr President must ignore every sectional, regional, tribal and religious sentiments and go for the best hands that can do this job of securing our country.
“As northern elders who are concerned about the peace, security and stability of our dear nation, we wish to appeal to those people of influence in the North who have access to the president to always speak the truth to him especially in appointments or reforms in the security sectors and others even if it does not favour our region and religion provided such appointments will bring lasting peace and unify Nigeria.
“The idea of always putting first religion and geopolitical sentiments without looking out for professionalism and competence is the reason why we are at this cross road today.
“And until we put an end to these sentiments we may be in for a serious problem. Our highly respected traditional and religious leaders must give Mr President a pro-Nigeria advice and not personal advice.
“We are in this mess in the North today because some people refused to speak the truth.
“If we continue to make security appointments based on religious and ethnic sentiments, we won’t get it right.
“We urge Nigerians to believe in their country and work for its betterment because we have just one country and nobody will build our nation for us.
We all have equal stake in the Nigerian project.”