Former President Olusegun Obasanjo spoke in Abuja on Monday at a retreat on inclusive security organized by the Global Peace Foundation and Vision Africa.
Obasanjo said: “The truth is this: President Buhari has done his best. That is what he can do. If we are expecting anything more than what he has done or what he is doing, that means we’re whipping a dead horse and there is no need.
“Then, where do we go from here? We cannot fold our hands. I believe that is part of what we’re doing here and what we continue to be doing. How do we prepare for post-Buhari? Buhari has done his best. My prayer is that God will spare his life to see his term through.
“But what should we do to make post-Buhari better than what we have now? That is our responsibility now, because it concerns all of us.”
Obasanjo also said that military action alone would not effectively end the insurgency in the country.
He said the stick-and-carrot approach should be used to tackle the security challenges.
“People talk of political will, but I talk of political action. Political will is not enough. It must be matched by political action.
“The problem of insurgency will not go away, if all we are using is the ‘stick’ (military action). We may suppress it, and keep it down a bit, but we have to use ‘carrot and stick’ together to effectively tackle the problems,” Obasanjo said.
The former leader also advocated state policing, saying “Security in Nigeria is local, it must be addressed locally. Legislation should be able to tackle that before the next election.”
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Also speaking, the Sultan of Sokoto and President of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, urged leaders to stop politicising security.
“Parties are accusing one another of not doing enough to tackle insecurity. I think that’s the major problem we’ve been facing in the country…We believe we have a problem and the solution is close…Peace is very important. Without peace, you can’t even worship God. We find people killings themselves. We must go back to the holy books and work according to those books for lasting peace,” he said.
President, Christian Association of Nigeria, Samson Ayokunle, urged the elite to sustain pressure on the politicians to ensure that the successes recorded in the country’s effort to fight insecurity were not botched.
Ayokunle, represented by the Deputy President of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Archbishop John Praise, said: “There has to be justice and fairness, if peace is going to reign in the country.”
For the spokesman of the Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed,
citizens must consider merit and competence in choosing their leaders for Nigeria to make progress.
He said: “We don’t have a problem with each other. We have a problem with the leadership we have in the country. We’re not talking to that leadership, and exactly to the degree that we continue to fight and blame each other. This is the key problem facing the nation.”
An elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, said: “We can sit here all day and talk to each other, but if we leave without following up our decisions with actions, we’ve wasted our time. Unfortunately, that’s what is happening in the country today”.
The national leader of Pan Niger-Delta Forum (PANDEF), Chief Edwin Clark, said: “The Nigeria we’re in today does not provide anything for the common man. If oil is produced in your land and exploited, you should at least be rehabilitated with the resources. The problem in the country is hunger, because the people don’t have any means of livelihood anymore.”
Chairman, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Chief Audu Ogbeh, said Nigeria was drifting away from the normal.
Ogbeh, said: “Something is fundamentally wrong with the economy. We’re a nation of importers of everything. Today, it is impossible to build a factory. The youths can’t cope because the economy just doesn’t allow growth.”
President, Middle-Belt Forum (MBF), Bitrus Pogu, said the people of the region were suffering unprovoked attacks by bandits.
Secretary-General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Okey Emuchay, said: “The insecurity in Nigeria is having a huge socio-economic impact on the country.”
An Islamic scholar, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, said the bandits were out to revenge the killings of their families by the military through airstrikes.
He said that the bandits were victims seeking justice, warning that it was important for government to meet with them urgently before they become uncontrollable.
Gumi said: “We all know that bandits initially don’t kill people. They only kidnap people to get money, but something has metamorphosed and turned them into a Frankenstein monster that kill people just for the pleasure of it.
A former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah, said: “Nobody is satisfied with the present condition. We must seat down and renegotiate. We must get together and get the terms and conditions that we must help to stay together.” Daily Trust