From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Director General of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), Dr Salihu Moh Lukman, has hinged the challenge facing Nigeria politics on zero accountability.
In a statement he issued in Abuja on Wednesday, Lukman declared that the spate of killings, banditry and other security challenges require decisive responses from government.
According to him, ‘part of the challenge with Nigerian politics is that accountability is almost zero. People could say whatever they want and get away with it. This has entrenched the phenomena whereby the main strategy of so-called opposition to APC is to ‘forcibly silence’ everyone into believing that President Buhari and APC governments have failed.
‘Even leaders such as Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State whose constitutional powers to mobilise responses towards resolving challenges, no matter how small, as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution as amended, has become a leading campaigner against what he considers “Fulanisation” and “Islamisation” agenda.
‘As far as Governor Ortom is concerned anybody arguing differently must be a supporter of “Fulanisation” and “Islamisation” agenda in the country, which according to him is the continuation of the early 19th Century Fulani Jihad of Usman Danfodio,’ he wrote in the statement he titled “Narrow politics and questions of democratic development”.
On the insecurity in the country, the PGF DG wrote: “Democracy itself has always been loud and raucous, but when its rules are followed, it eventually creates consensus. The modern debate does not. Instead, it inspires in some people the desire to forcibly silence the rest.
‘There is no better description of contemporary Nigerian political reality. The avalanche of objectionable news with commentaries that basically conclude everything is bad in the country is the order of the day. Any attempt to argue to the contrary is condemned and rejected.
‘Both social and conventional media – electronic, print, local, national, and international news about Nigeria – are dominated by horrible newsflashes of activities of insurgents, bandits, ethnic and religious mercenaries in the country.
‘It is either report of kidnap, abduction, and killing of innocent Nigerians, or some depressing reports of attacks on security agencies and institutions by bandits and insurgents, or damaging commentaries of the so-called failure of political leaders, parties and governments, especially, President Muhammadu Buhari and the governing APC, or court judgements that further exposes the challenges facing Nigerian democracy, or some angry public statements by groups, so-called analysts, experts and political leaders against political establishments in the country, and so on and so forth.
‘The list is almost endless. For instance, in August 2021, reported incidences of killings in Plateau State, bandit attacks of Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA), continued activities of bandits in Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna and Niger States, Boko Haram – ISWAP clashes and many other criminal activities across the country have dominated national discourses.
‘No doubt these are challenges, which require decisive responses from government. The occurrence and recurrence of these incidences, resulting in loss of lives and property are frightening, which has generated all manner headlines.
‘Politics, which is supposed to provide options to citizens in terms of how to tackle these challenges, unfortunately, there is hardly any option, especially in terms of opposition to APC and its government.
‘Instead, some unsubstantiated and meaningless allegations dominate political debates in the country, without any specific proposal on how to resolve our national challenges. Maybe anger has taken the best out of people opposed to the APC and its government to the extent that presentations are reduced to amplifying challenges to demonstrate the failure of APC and President Buhari.
‘Wild goose campaign against “Fulanisation” and “Islamisation” as Ortom of Benue would insist or allegations that government, including the Presidency, are the sponsors of Boko Haram and bandits as Commodore (Rtd) Kunle Olawunmi would want Nigerians to believe are part of the major highlight of the campaign by the political opposition in the country.
‘Sensationally, both Ortom and Commodore Olawunmi argued that they have evidence to prove their allegations. Coincidentally, not too long, sometime in September 2020, Dr Obadiah Mailafia, former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria similarly alleged that a serving Northern Governor is the sponsor of Boko Haram.
‘Although while making the allegations, he also claimed to have proof, after interrogation by the security, Dr Mailafia was reported to backtracked, saying that he ‘did not really mean to say that the government was part and parcel of the killings. Since Commodore Olawumni has already begun meeting with the security, hopefully, the details of his evidence will come out.
‘On the part of Governor Ortom, he claimed that he has forwarded his evidence to President Buhari and security agencies in the country. But since he feels so strong as to go public with his allegation without waiting for both President Buhari and security agencies to handle the matter, he can as well make the evidence public since he has lost confidence in established processes of managing matters of national security,’ he argued.