Terrorists Can’t Set Our Agenda – Buhari

No Comments » October 8th, 2010 posted by // Categories: Elections 2011


Terrorists Can’t Set Our Agenda – Buhari

Friday, 08 October 2010 03:19 By Ali Alkali, George Agba, Abuja and Samuel Aruwan, Kaduna

Presidential poll not do-or-die – Jonathan  ||  Nigeria is my constituency – Saraki  || 

Former Head of State and Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) presidential aspirant, General Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said the government and political leaders in this country should come together and work, to “ensure that terrorists do not set the national agenda.”

In a condolence message to all Nigerians and the families of the October 1st bomb blasts victims at Eagle Square, Abuja, personally signed by the general, he said: “This national tragedy should pull us a nation and a people to grief together and ensure that terrorists do not set the national agenda.”

While blaming the security forces for failure to prevent the incident despite the intelligence at hand, Buhari said it was wrong for Jonathan to jump to hasty conclusion. “It is wrong to jump to hasty conclusion as Jonathan did, because of his inexperience. What is required now is space for the security agencies to undertake a thorough investigation professionally and in the public interest and publish their full report before Nigerians. And they should take full measures to avert a recurrence of these tragic atrocities.

Condoling the families of the victims and President Goodluck Jonathan, “as this has happened under his watch,” Gen. Buhari urged the president to pay full compensation to the victims, saying, “Full compensation should be paid to families of those killed and to those injured as well as to those whose property was destroyed.”

Buhari had also, yesterday, argued that the Nigerian military are not wholesomely corrupt and responsible for Nigeria’s backwardness as it is being presented.

In an interview with the BBC Hausa Service, monitored in Kaduna, Buhari said, “It is not true that the military is wholesomely responsible for Nigeria’s backwardness. Nigerians know everything. For example, when I was petroleum minister there was allegation that about 2.8 billion naira was stolen. Later, it was realized that the allegation was false and baseless, because those who made the allegation could not prove it, and it was nothing but lies to cause confusion”.

Reacting to insinuations that ex-military men were only jostling to occupy public offices for their selfish reasons and corrupt tendencies, Buhari replied: “It is not so, that some of us are staging a comeback for personal reasons. If you say so to me; you are wrong. The issue is, leadership had been made to be a child’s play in Nigeria; which ought not to be so.

“All Nigerians are suffering; and if one takes a look at the money this country made since we returned to democracy 12 years ago, and the excruciating situation we are in now, the fact remains that there is injustice and wastage of resources to the detriment of all Nigerians. There is no sound security; there is no reliable electricity sector – and that is responsible for the closure of our industries and loss of employment. If we are progressing all these would not have happened.

“All I am saying is, our people will not have been subjected to this bad situation when we have resources to address these abnormalities. Contract worth five million naira will be inflated for 20 million, and the contractor knows it is cheating and stealing, but he will go away with the money, simply because he knows he cannot be prosecuted”.

Distinguishing between leadership under civilians and politicians with military background, Buhari added “Leadership, whether military or civilian, depends on the kind of the people at the apex of the system. If the leaders at the top are corrupt, everybody down the ladder will be corrupt. If they are morally right and transparent, followers have no choice than to follow suit. This issue has nothing to do with the type of government.”

Also President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday warned presidential aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to be careful in making certain comments that could create more tension in the country, saying presidential election was not a do or die affair.

According to him, while security agencies were busy trying to unearth the details of the twin bombings that claimed the lives of over sixteen Nigerians and leaving several others with injuries, “the provocative comments of some of our yesterday’s men, laced with demeaning ethnic chauvinism, suggest that they do not mind if Nigeria explodes if they don’t acquire power at all costs in the 2011 primaries and general elections.”

He expressed dismay that some elders who were vicariously responsible for the frustration of the youths in the country, “are desperately trying to milk this national tragedy for political gains.”

The president’s warning followed from serious condemnation of the call by the Northern leaders that he should resign.

A senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief James Ocholi, said yesterday that the statement by elder statesman and former governor of Central Bank, Mallam Adamu Ciroma that Jonathan should resign because the north had lost confidence in him, was grossly wrong, premature and unconstitutional.

President Jonathan who sounded the warning to the PDP presidential aspirants and elders through the director-general of his campaign organisation, Ambassador Dalhatu Tafida, enjoined all political and national leaders in the country “to be watchful, to be temperate and be sober in the pronouncements, during this very trying period.

“In fact, all men of good sense, matured and patriotic disposition ought to rally round the president and federal government in this period, just as we all saw the American politicians and leaders do during the 9/11 bombing in New York,” he added.

He further said “there will always be enough time to play politics to the fullest. Certainly, we must rest all politics and negative insinuation for now and instead rally round to protect and defend our nation. It is all we have.

“A presidential election is not a game of life and death. I therefore, enjoin all members of the PDP in the race to remember that there is politics after presidential elections; let us be careful.

“Whatever religion you belong to, let us remember that it is the Almighty God and He alone who gives power to  whom he likes and takes away power from whom He wishes. This is a lesson of the Bible and the Koran, and that also is the universal truth of life.”

Meanwhile, a member of the inner bar, Ocholi, yesterday chided the Northern political leaders forum, saying it was premature for it to jump too many steps and get to a far reaching end of asking for a sanction against Jonathan.

Ocholi, who is also a governorship aspirant of the PDP in Kogi State said, “We have come a long way too far and yet we are battling with matters about development. It is too early for people as elders to begin to make far reaching indictment. Let people learn not to talk when they are not sure of what they are saying. Don’t voice your fears; don’t voice your speculations. Speculations are meant to be investigated.”

Reacting to the statement made by a militant leader, Henry Okah that an aide to the president asked him to deny that his group was responsible for the bombings on October 1, 2010, the SAN said it could be only be taken with a pinch of salt.

“The statement that was credited to Okah is a statement that in law is suspect. In criminal law, when an accused person makes a statement implicating another person, the law says that statement has no probative value against the person whom it is made, except and until the person against whom it is made admits it,” he said.

He further said, “in other words, the maker of the statement and the person who is accused are brought together to face each other and the man who made the statement mentions the name of the person and that person is invited and confronted  with it. Whatever he says in reaction will now determine whether to believe or not to believe the maker of the statement.

“Applying that principle, it is in my professional view, grossly wrong and premature to jump too many steps and get to a far reaching end of asking for a sanction against the president.”

Meanwhile, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential aspirant and Kwara State governor, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki has said that his aspiration in the 2011 presidential race is not to serve any sectional interest, but that of the entire nation.

Speaking at a meeting with members of State House Assembly, under the umbrella of Legislative Leaders Forum in Abuja yesterday, Saraki described the problem militating against the progress of Nigeria as that of leadership.

According to him, what the nation desperately needs at this critical period is a leader that can move the country away from the old ways of doing things and chart a new way forward. The old way,he said is responsible for the stunt in the nation’s growth and development.

Saraki said if he felt that the old ways were the best to move the nation forward,he would not have ventured into the presidential race. He identified Agriculture as the catalyst to pull the nation’s economy out of the doldrums and ensure growth and prosperity.

“Agriculture is the only thing that can provide food security and employment for our people. Any leader that is not talking about agriculture as the way out of does not know the nation’s problem and thus cannot provide the solution”.

In Kwara, Saraki said he made agriculture a priority and today the state has put the nation’s name on the global map of agriculture. “I could have embarked on less daunting and vote catching projects like roads, housing etc, but I embarked on agriculture, even though it is not a vote catching project, because I am convinced it is the way forward if our people must be fed and gainfully employed. I firmly believe that if the commercial agric model in Kwara is replicated across the nation, then the major problem facing the country would have been addressed”.

Saraki also pointed at the provision of electricity which has made Kwara as the state with most stable power supply in Nigeria as another major achievement he made in Kwara, which he was also prepared to replicate across the entire nation if he is elected the president.

He said he was determined to achieve his presidential ambition because this was a golden opportunity for nation to get it right through visionary, focused and purposeful leadership, which is acceptable to all Nigeria and possess the capacity to build and unite the nation. “I have the capacity and the ability. I represent a new generation. We have never had this kind of opportunity and we must not lose it”.

He stated further that he was not out to cut deal with anybody on the presidential race. He said if he had wanted to cut a deal, he would have done that and be making money, but the motivation was to render selfless service to his father land.

The leader of the forum Hon. Joseph Bukar commended Saraki for transforming Kwara and the purposeful leadership he gave the governors’ forum. He said he believed that given the opportunity Saraki would do same for the country.

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