Pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, has berated President Muhammadu Buhari, describing his Democracy Day speech and recent interviews as far short of what was expected of him as a leader of a country.
Afenifere also said that the Buhari-led administration is bent on taking steps that are not in the best interests of majority of Nigerians.
In a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Jare Ajayi, Afenifere expressed its disappointment at the disclosure by the President that he had directed the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation to ‘re-open’ the grazing routes throughout the country.
It said, “We have some questions for Mr. President and the Attorney General in this respect. One, who
created the so-called grazing routes? At what time in our history did our founding fathers gather to designate specific routes from the North to the South as ‘grazing routes’? Two, assuming without conceding, that there were so-called grazing routes, what would now happen to structures that have been built in areas where the so-called routes are to be re-opened?
“Would such structures, including residences and factories, be pulled down so that cows would have places to graze? Compared to what would be lost economically, socially, politically and in security terms if these structures are to be pulled down, is it not better to encourage the building of ranches? We can go on and on.”
It maintained that the President’s pronouncement on the issue as well as his confession on how he determines who occupy positions at the national level indicated that his government is operating a constitution that is different from the one that all Nigerians are aware of, that is the 1999 Constitution.
It added, “For instance, Section 2 of the Land Use Act, the law governing land matters in the country, vests the administration and control of lands in a given state in the hands of the governor of the state. It is such that even when the Federal Government wants to use a portion of land, it has to seek the consent of the governor of the state concerned. Since most governors in the country have outlawed open grazing in their respective states, on which land does the Federal Government want to ‘open’ or ‘re-open’ its vaunted grazing routes? Why talking of grazing routes in this age when ranching is the fad in all civilized climes?”
Afenifere also faulted the President on his claim that he appointed the new Chief of Army Staff because of his experience, noting that the appointment “like many others made by his government,” are in flagrant defiance of the federal character clause in the Constitution as well as Section 5 subsection 2 of the same Constitution which states that “national integration shall be actively encouraged, whilst discrimination on the grounds of place of origin, sex, religion, status, ethnic or linguistic association or ties shall be prohibited.”
According to the organization, only in a few instances does the Federal Government allowed equity, fairness and empirical merit to characterize the appointments made, stating that most of the appointments made were done in such a way that some sections of the country are alienated.
Afenifere further challenged President Buhari to as a matter of urgency send a bill to the National Assembly on restructuring and devolution of power, if he wants Nigerians to believe that he was a firm believer in devolving power to the people and that it was the National Assembly that can deal with the issue of restructuring and devolution of power.
On the President’s claim that his administration has not done badly as he challenged Nigerians to compare what is obtainable now with that of 2015, when he took over, Afenifere said, “Nigerians were far better off in virtually everything in 2015 than they are presently. For the President to claim that the country is better now than in 2015 clearly shows that he is not in touch with reality or that he has a different measurement when comparing the two eras.”
The organization regretted that the President confessed the seeming helplessness of his administration in combating the insecurity that was about to consume the country presently, stating that he does not need to tell Nigerians this as they are already aware and are feeling it but rather take concrete steps to tackle the challenges perfectly.
It also accused the President of being insensitive by telling Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State not to bother replacing the vehicles burnt during the #EndSARS protest in the state since Lagosians wanted to walk by burning the vehicles, noting that such type of attitude is unpresidential and revealed the depth of how insensitive he is to the plight of Nigerians.
Afenifere maintained that President Buhari derived pleasure in shifting blames and responsibilities when pressed on what his government ought to do, insisting that he would not have hidden his inability to confront insecurity problem on the excuse that state governors are allegedly pocketing allocations meant for the local government councils in their respective states.
It stated further that he would not have sent Governors Seyi Makinde and Rotimi Akeredolu of Oyo and Ondo states back to go and face the insecurity problems in their states when he knew perfectly well that the tools to tackle the problem are not within the control of these governors.
It said, “The governors ran to him in his capacity as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. His sending them back empty handed can be likened to a father to whom children ran in the face of danger and the thoughtless father sent the children back to go and face the danger without providing them the weapon or tool with which to confront the danger. Especially since the governors are not in control of any force that they could use to tackle the insecurity challenges.”
It added that few of the governors that came up with innovative security apparati were inhibited by the actions of the Federal government-controlled police, which usually undermine the activities of the state security agencies like Amotekun of the South West, stating that President Buhari’s pronouncements rather than sooth the pains of Nigerians and give assurance on making the country better, exposed his administration as one that is not in tune with the people’s aspirations.