The National Convener Pro- Nigeria Elders Council (PRONECO), Chief Hon. Simon Shango, has replied Chairman, Northern Elders Forum (NEF) Prof. Ango Abdullahi, describing President Muhammadu Buhari as a democratic leader and not a northern President.
Mr Shango’s reaction trails Prof. Abdullahi’s comments wherein the latter alleged that “poverty, particularly in the North and massive social security have worsened under Buhari’s administration.”
In a statement on behalf of PRONECO on Monday, Chief Shango dismissed Abdullahi’s “provocative and inciting” assertion for lacking basis, especially knowing the president inherited a poverty-stricken nation, suffering economic recess with states owing debts.
However, contrary to the NEF leader’s claim, Mr Shango added that since Buhari took over the helms of affair in 2015, he introduced National Social Investments Programme, drastically improved the security, oil exploration in the Niger Delta is now seamless among others.
Nonetheless, the elderstatesman advised Ango not to attempt to reduce President Buhari who is focused on spreading the gains of democracy across the country to just a regional leader.
Read full statement below:
The Pro- Nigeria Elders Council (PRONECO) is prodded to weigh in reaction to the unwarranted, provocative and inciting public statements credited to the Chairman, Northern Elders Forum (NEF) Prof. Ango Abdullahi. The NEF chair carelessly without recourse to decorum launched scathing verbal attacks on the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari as failing to tackle poverty and insecurity in Nigeria.
In the said statement, widely reported in the media, Prof. Abdullahi intolerably abused his position of trust and neutrality on political matters by his premeditated and personalized tirades on the person and the Government of President Buhari. An elder who condescends that low in inconsistency deserves our empathy and prayers as elders in the land.
The PRONECO has keenly watched the actions and utterances of Prof. Abdullahi over time and has come to the sad conclusion that he lacks the nerve and wisdom to posture as an elder statesman not just of his northern ethnic clan but to at any point speak for anyone in the country. His doublespeak is abhorring and portraits him with image of a juvenile, not of an elder statesman that he should be. Abdullahi regrettably has dubiously deployed his vintage position as NEF Chairman to embark on a doomed mission of vengeance against the President Muhammadu Buhari led-Federal Government of Nigeria.
The PRONECO has observed in him flippancy and loquaciousness on national issues that do not mean well for the unity and peace of Nigeria . We are shocked that a venerated body like NEF has abandoned or loaned its leadership to the hatred of someone like Prof. Abdullahi, who has not only undermined the sensibilities of the diverse persuasions of NEF members, but has also dragged it into partisan politics.
The PRONECO has understandably restrained itself from questioning the sanity and trustworthiness of the perception of Prof. Abdullahi on national issues because it is glaring and pathetic that he has lost bearing a long time ago. He is leading NEF to a consuming ditch since he cannot differentiate between NEF and his personal dispositions.
However, it is imperative to remind Prof. Abdullahi of certain basic and fundamental things, which his outburst have not only belittled his personage, but also denigrated NEF, the body he represents.
Let Prof. Abdullahi know henceforth, NEF is not his personal property or fiefdom. Therefore, his chairmanship of the body does not appropriate to him any power to canvass partisan political positions on behalf of NEF especially when another statesman and patriot in the character of President Buhari is concerned.
His current posturing is sacrilegious and smacks of brazenly playing on the intelligence of its members. His viewpoint on the administration of President Buhari as reflected in the public statement has never been contemplated by NEF and therefore, personal to him and should never be garbed as the official position of NEF.
Furthermore, its quite unfortunate that in spite of Prof. Abdullahi’s vastness in knowledge, exposure and experience, senility has not allowed him to discern that President Buhari is the President of Nigeria and not “President of Northern Nigeria.” He is not to be blamed as senility has done enough overt damage to his senses and it explains his latest disgraceful outing. But he cannot reduce President Buhari to a regional leader.
Specifically, Abdullahi’s claims that poverty has worsened in Nigeria is mendacious and egoistic greasing of his appetite to parrot carelessly on public discourse . President Buhari met a country that was in total shambles in 2015, where poverty reached the zenith with states and federal governments indebted, to months of unpaid salaries, pensions, gratuities and huge local contractual debts in trillions of naira.
And with an economy in recession, widespread poverty and hardships in the land, had a monstrous and tormenting face. But as a concerned leader, President Buhari immediately cleared the backlog of owed entitlements at the national level and dispatched series of bailout funds to states for same reasons.
The National Social Investments Programme, with multiple subsets; sustained agricultural loans to farmers and other such initiatives are the few conscious and deliberate steps to ameliorate poverty and hardships in the land as well as empower Nigerians towards self-sustenance.
The security in Nigeria was worse than now. But President Buhari has thrown his hat into the ring to ensure even the recent politically induced attacks and killings in parts of the country are curtailed. Perhaps, Prof. Abdullahi is too engrossed in his vengeance mission against Mr. President and has refused to sight the positively changed silhouette on insecurities in Nigeria.
However, it is laughable not to notice that exploration of crude oil in South-South Nigeria is now uninterrupted and peaceful, unlike before when violent and consistent militancy disrupted the process. Boko Haram which hitherto engulfed the entire North, including Kaduna or Kano states where Prof. Abdullahi resides and Abuja where he occasionally strays has been confined to the fringes of the Lake Chad Basin in Northeast Nigeria. These miracles have been performed by President Buhari.
Prof. Abdullahi is free to seek information from some State Governors in the North Central and they will acquaint him with the decisive actions by the Presidency which have tamed herdsmen/farmers carnages. The communities are enjoying substantial peace at the moment. Despite sporadic violent attacks in recent times, which are being handled, the records cannot be obliterated by Prof. Abdullahi’s wish. The tempo of armed banditry in Northwest states has relaxed incredibly.
An elder statesman does not lie, especially in public. So, it infuriates when Prof. Ango Abdullahi says, “It has become necessary and appropriate, however, to make public, the position of the forum on important matters that affect the manner Nigerians live, and the future we must address.” Which of the issues he canvassed in the public now is a collective decision of NEF and at which meeting?
And canvassing for the change in the leadership of Service and Security Chiefs only confirms his partisan nakedness and repulsive resort to the antics of opposition to harangue President Buhari. But Abdullahi and those who habour such regressively feeble thoughts can never intimidate, harass or stampede Mr. President to change his current Service and Security Chiefs based on their veiled anti-Nigerian campaigns coated as patriotism.
He should expend his remaining energies on something personally worthwhile to him. But in truth, his present actions are unbecoming of a man of his status, grossly partisan and a disservice to the promotion of unity, national cohesion and peace in Nigeria.
When you push vengeance too far, it turns to haunt, ridicule and foul the air around you. Prof. Abdullahi is free to air his personal opinions on the way his country is governed; no one has a problem with it. But it is undisguised criminality to pass such personal, biased, partisan and dishonest views as the decision of NEF. Abdullahi alone cannot symbolize nearly 200 million Nigerians. He is certainly not above the over 15 million Nigerians who have again reposed their leadership trust and confidence in President Buhari as re-confirmed by his 2019 overwhelming reelection victory.
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