- According to the PDP, Buhari is plagued by his previous coup planning.
- HURIWA: You made yourself removable due to blatant incompetence and nepotism
- Afenifere, UPU, Yoruba Ronu, and PANDEF criticise the FG over the coup alarm;
- Afe Babalola proposes to convene and fund an Emergency National Conference;
- Another governor, Ndume, raises concerns about Boko Haram’s activities; and
- Insecurity: NANS threatens to shut down the government.
What started as a rumour or idle chatter – whispers of a putsch – yesterday took on a life of its own as state players continued to give life to the notion, which is spinning and turning in the widening gyre.
The first was the military’s promise not to topple President Muhammadu Buhari, a former army general and head of state whose administration has faced harsh criticism for the country’s increasing instability.
In a statement released by Brigadier-General Onyema Nwachukwu, Acting Director, Defence Information, the military said that it has no intention of retaking power in Nigeria. This, it claims, is because it insists that, even in difficult times, liberalism is the way to go and that militarism is out of fashion. The army also warned lawmakers who want to rule Nigeria outside of the ballot box that it will continue to protect the country’s democracy.
“We would remain apolitical, obedient to civil authority, and steadfastly faithful to the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, and the 1999 Constitution as Amended. We will continue to fulfil our constitutional duties professionally, especially in maintaining the country’s independence, defending the country’s territorial integrity, and protecting citizens’ lives and property,” the statement said in part.
This announcement came two days after the Department of State Services (DSS) released a similar alert in response to protests by some secessionist and opposition leaders for a government reform.
Immediately after the army’s vow of allegiance, the Presidency lifted the alarm yesterday, warning of a subliminal conspiracy by certain former politicians collaborating with foreigners to depose President Buhari. It did not, however, name the leaders or their cohorts.
The Presidency based its decision on what it called “unimpeachable” information provided by DSS operatives. It did, however, warn of the dire implications of such a plot, especially where people have opted for democratic rule, stating that elections are the only agreed way to change a democratically elected government.
The Presidency said in a statement released by Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, that “the Department of State Services (DSS) on Sunday warned on nefarious attempts by misguided forces to wreak havoc on the country’s democracy, sovereignty, and corporate life.”
“Sponsored by some disgruntled religious and former government figures, the aim is to ultimately send the nation into a tailspin, necessitating a forceful and undemocratic change in leadership.
“Further unimpeachable evidence suggests that these divisive forces are now hiring the leadership of certain ethnic groups and lawmakers around the world with the aim of convening some kind of summit, where a vote of no confidence will be passed on the President, thereby causing further upheaval throughout the country.
“The agent provocateurs intend to accomplish by deception and sleight of hand what they were unable to accomplish through the ballot box in the 2019 elections. Nigerians have chosen democratic law, and the only agreed method of changing a constitutionally elected government is by elections, which are held at predetermined times in the nation. Any other method is clearly unconstitutional, if not treasonous. Of necessity, this will result in the requisite consequences.”
In response to the Presidency’s salvo, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) characterised the accusation that some Nigerians were planning a violent and undemocratic change of leadership as a form of extortion in the face of defeat. In a statement issued by its national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP urged Buhari to examine his record before accusing it of plotting to destabilise a constitutionally elected government.
“Perhaps the Presidency has overlooked that in 1983, Brigadier Muhammadu Buhari, as he was then called, led a military coup to destabilise a constitutionally elected administration, causing our country a significant setback in democratic governance.”
According to the PDP, rather than carrying out the duties of office by taking command and protecting the country, the Presidency is “busy engaged in baseless accusations against Nigerians.”
According to the PDP, the Buhari Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) are plagued by their own shadows, as Nigerians are familiar with the individuals as well as the political party with a history of undermining duly elected governments.
A civil rights activist organisation, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has asked Buhari to resign immediately if the “kitchen has been too hot for him,” describing the warning as baseless and signs of a jittery administration pressing the panic button.
HURIWA said that the President should blame no one but himself for displaying blatant incompetence and engaging in unrepentant nepotism in nominations, all of which breach the constitutional values of federal character.
In a statement issued yesterday in Abuja, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, National Coordinator of HURIWA, urged President Buhari to set an example by ordering and monitoring his security forces to go after militants, armed Fulani militia, and kidnappers who pose a threat to Nigeria’s corporate life.
He said, “Nigeria’s corporate life is not reliant on the continued tolerance of a thoroughly inept government devoid of the decency of good governance.” It is hilarious that President Buhari does not realise that due to his high degree of nepotism under which he recruited and has recently appointed only Muslim northerners into all internal security architectures, the reality, which he is avoiding, is that Nigeria is imploding, just as instability has challenged Nigeria’s territorial integrity.
“The President should blame himself for the impending fall of constitutionalism as a result of general collapse of stability, kidnappings, massacres, and general breakdown of law and order, to the point that 39 students of Federal Forestry College in Kaduna and 27 students of Greenfield University in Kaduna have been held captive by kidnappers for a month without government protection.”
MEANWHILE, Aare Afe Babalola, a legal luminary and the founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), declared yesterday the funding of a National Conference dubbed “Summit of Hope” to pursue immediate solutions to the country’s current crisis. Babalola delivered the 10th Aare Afe Babalola Annual Public Lecture at his university in Ado Ekiti, which was organised by the Nigerian Bar Association’s Ado Ekiti division (NBA).
As a result, the founder of ABUAD contributed N50 million to the aforementioned conference, which he said could take place at his university. The legal symbol clarified that his action was necessary to prevent the government from devolving into anarchy or reverting to civil war.
“The condition in Nigeria today is appalling, and all hands must be on deck to save the nation from complete collapse. “I am proposing ABUAD as the summit venue because it is clean, has a Federal Ministry of Aviation-certified helipad, a nearly fully equipped 400-bed multi-system hospital, and modern sporting facilities, among other things,” he added.
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, praised Babalola’s decision, calling it patriotic, and saying that he would report the development to fellow rulers to obtain help because the conference was aimed at restoring normalcy to the polity.
Chief Ayo Adebanjo, the leader of the Yoruba socio-political party Afenifere, said in response that the president has lost control of the country’s leadership and that no vote of no confidence is needed until the entire world knows that he has disappointed Nigerians.
Adebanjo said that the Federal Government’s coup alert was a distraction and a plot to apprehend representatives of opposition parties ahead of the next general elections. “If they discover there is a plot to launch a coup, prosecute it and apprehend those involved,” he says. Stop trying to distract our focus.
“I am not aware of any party who wishes to take over the government, but I am aware of all of us who want to see the country restructured peacefully. Those of us in Afenifere, as well as all other parties in the South agitating for restructuring, are Nigeria’s friends.”
THE Urhobo Progress Union (UPU), Yoruba Ronu Leadership Forum, and the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) have challenged the Federal Government to conduct a thorough investigation and make the required arrests if it is real that certain individuals were plotting a coup against President Buhari’s administration.
Separately, the groups said the Federal Government’s stance was solely diversionary and an excuse to cover up its failure to fix the country’s state of insecurity.
According to UPU spokesman Abel Oshevire, the accusation is serious and, if proven, the government should take appropriate action; otherwise, it is merely a distraction.
Akin Malaolu, President of the Yoruba Ronu Leadership Forum, slammed the government for attempting to fool Nigerians by distracting their attention with insignificant coup warnings.
Mr. Ken Robinson, National Publicity Secretary of PANDEF, said, “While the forum does not wish for Nigeria to crumble, it will become unavoidable if the instability situation persists.” The Federal Government must act decisively and impartially within the law to curb the country’s deteriorating instability, avert the predictions of doom, and restore Nigerians’ confidence in the capacity of the government and security agencies to secure citizens’ lives and property.”
Chief Chekwas Okorie, an elder statesman, said it would be tragic for someone to consider overthrowing or impeaching the president over assorted outbursts and calling for his resignation as a result of the country’s current security problems.
Okorie assured The Translator Nigeria News that fears of impeachment were unfounded, and that the President was not overburdened by the situation. Rather than considering impeachment or removal of the president, Okorie recommended that efforts be directed toward resolving security issues in a way that would help the citizens of the country, emphasising that security was not solely the responsibility of the government.
“One thing is clear, and nobody can argue that the state of insecurity in Nigeria is alarming and unprecedented,” Okorie said. It’s rife with all sorts of negative situations. However, I do not believe that the President would be impeached as a result of this case. Any of the solutions may not have succeeded, but an increasing number of Nigerians are beginning to discuss and propose solutions, especially at the national level. States are becoming more active, as are territories, in order to protect their own environment.”
YESTERDAY, Jigawa State Governor Muhammad Badaru urged people to be alert, following allegations of suspected movement of Boko Haram insurgents in neighbouring Bauchi State. Previously, the Bauchi State Government warned that Boko Haram rebels from neighbouring Yobe State had invaded four of its local government areas, the majority of which border Jigawa.
Following the events in Bauchi, Jigawa Governor Badaru met with traditional rulers, local government chairpersons, and security officers at the Ahmadu Bello Hall of the Government House in Dutse, at the end of which he urged citizens to report any suspicious movement.
In addition, the state’s Commissioner of Police, Usman Gomna, told journalists that the police had received an intelligence warning about suspected Boko Haram members moving around Gwaram. Following Niger Governor’s alert last week, he is the third governor.
This comes as Senator Ali Ndume, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army, warned yesterday that Boko Haram insurgents have begun regrouping in the northeastern states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa. He said this after briefing journalists on his bill to create the Federal College of Education Gwoza in Borno State.
He, on the other hand, stated that the revival of Boko Haram activities could not prevent the creation of more educational institutions in Borno.
Ndume said, “Last week, 30 soldiers were killed on the highway in Mainok.” Boko Haram took over a town just 30 kilometres from Maiduguri yesterday (Monday). We lost a general and two soldiers against the best efforts of the armed forces. The same thing happened in Rann Local Government.”
THE National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has vowed to shut down the country if insecurity continues, expressing regret that no less than 100 students have recently died or been abducted.
NANS senate president, Comrade Chuks Okafor, told reporters in Awka that Nigerian students would no longer stand by while their fellow students were kidnapped in their institutions and little was being done to end the heinous situation.