The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has challenged northern elders to raise their voices against security threats in the region in the same way they did when former President Goodluck Jonathan was in office.
Jonathan hails from Bayelsa, South-South Nigeria, while the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari is from Katsina State in the North-West.
Speaking in Lafia, Nasarawa State at the campaign of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Thursday, he stated that the silence of the elders on insecurity in the region could be taken as enabling the poor management of security in the country, especially in the north.
Dogara wondered why the Borno elders who were so vocal in 2015 suddenly became silent despite the escalation of Boko Haram crisis in the state, asserting that the 2019 election is a referendum on insecurity and hunger in the land not about President Muhammadu Buhari or Atiku.
He condemned “sycophants” who elevate some public office holders to the status of “god”, as he challenged all Nigerians to rise up and rescue the country from the clutches of insecurity.
The Speaker said, “Just like my last speech to Nigerians that were gathered in a rally like this in Gombe, I said that the 2019 general elections is not about President Muhammadu Buhari, it’s not about Atiku Abubakar, but I said it is about you who are gathered here and it will be a referendum on insecurity and hunger in this land.
“On the issue of insecurity, all of us know what is happening in Borno and, unfortunately too, between Abuja and Kaduna, as well as in Zamfara, Katsina, Nassarawa, Benue, Plateau and even Sokoto States.
“Now, I cannot even mention all because it is a general problem in the county, but I was highlighting the states where the problem is more endemic as of now.
“The issue is this, when this thing was going on under Jonathan, we had Borno elders always speaking. Where are the Borno elders now?
“Where are the leaders of Northern Nigeria now that this problem has become endemic? What are they saying now? Are we not guilty of what we allow? Are we not responsible for the killings?”
Dogara said it was sad that Nigerians have condoned evil for so long while they elevate certain political office holders higher than the welfare of the nation.
He said the forthcoming 2019 election will be a referendum on many issues, including education which he said has not been given the attention it deserves.
The Speaker said by allowing schools to shut down under the name of strike, “the government has thrown teeming Nigerian youth into idleness and slowed down their progress”.
“It’s been said that if you want to destroy a community, state or nation, don’t even fire shots or bring the crisis that is being perpetrated by Boko Haram, don’t even bring nuclear bomb, all you need to do is to lower the standard of education in that community, state, or nation. Once you succeed in doing that, you’ve killed the nation.
“So many of us may not understand what I’m implying, but right now in Nigeria, the university lecturers are on strike. If it was a decent government that is committed to the future of this country, it wouldn’t take one week to resolve this problem, but unfortunately, through ineptitude the strike is allowed to fester,” he said.