The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, Thursday said northern elders were not doing enough to end the insecurity in the region, contending that their conspiracy of silence fuelled the escalation of the challenge.
Dogara spoke in Lafia during the party’s launch of its presidential campaign in Nasarawa State, where the National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, asked the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders, particularly in Lagos State, to account for their wealth.
Also speaking at the event, the party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, promised to commit 40 per cent and 30 per cent of his government to women and youth.
Dogara wondered why the Borno elders that were so vocal in 2015 suddenly became silent despite the escalation of Boko Haram crisis in the state.
The speaker said the 2019 election is not about President Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku, explaining that it is a referendum about insecurity and hunger in the land.
He stated, “On the issue of insecurity, all of us know what is happening at Borno, in Abuja, Kaduna, Zamfara and Katsina States; even Sokoto and even Nasarawa States, Benue and Plateau States. I cannot even mention all, but I only mentioned the states where the situation is so endemic.
“Now, the issue is this, when this thing was prevalent in 2015, we heard Borno elders; where are Borno elders now? Where are the leaders of Northern Nigeria, where this problem has become endemic? What are they saying? The truth is that if we don’t rise to the challenge sooner than later, if things continue this way, we are not going to have a country.”
He added, “So, it is our responsibility to rescue Nigeria from the clutches of insecurity, because without security we cannot even understand the meaning of democracy.
“Now, the sad commentary about the elite in Nigeria is that we have all by our silence become enabler to those who have been unable to tackle this insecurity. And you know what enabler do? Enabler don’t build a country, they only instigate or worship an individual to a position where they will compare such a person with God and none of us was built to receive worship. Any human being who accepts worship will meet destruction.
“That is why we are witnessing destruction in Nigeria, because we have elevated some human beings to the status of God. And we need to rise up as a people to rescue the country from the clutches of insecurity,” he added.
On education, Dogara said that if you want to destroy a community, a state, a nation, all you need to do is to lower the standard of education in that society, community or nation, adding that once you succeeded in doing that you have killed the nation.
He said, “Right now in Nigeria universities 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. Unfortunately, this problem is lingering and if we shut down education, we have shut down progress, shut down the future for our teaming youths who are gathered here. We shut down progress for this country called Nigeria.
“So, 2019 election is a referendum on education, I have multiplied it from education, to hunger, next time we will talk about the fight against corruption, health, social welfare and the rest.”
Atiku said that the turnout of the people, which has not been seen in Nasarawa before, was a clear indication that PDP has been accepted in the state.
He said, “Now, I want to ask you, do you want to continue with the poverty rate we have in this country? So will you vote for APC? No way; do you want to continue with the unemployment rate we have in this country? Are you going to vote for APC? Never; do you want to continue with the insecurity in this country?
“Before they said it was only North-east, today the insecurity has gone to North-west, it has gone to North-central, and do you want to continue with them? Because they don’t know how to govern, and if you don’t want to continue with all these vices, I appeal to you to vote for PDP.”
Atiku added, “Again, let me make this commitment, particularly to the youth and women of this country, I have committed 40 per cent of my government to the youth, 30 per cent to the women, making total of 70 per cent. This is because I want you to succeed us.”
The former vice president urged the people to stay behind after casting their votes till results are declared, alleging that APC wants to rig the election and that is why they have not been campaigning.
“They want to use our security services; they want to use INEC so that they can rig. This election has been won by PDP, you have won the election, so defend it, protect it, it is your right,” Atiku noted.
Secondus said while PDP candidates and leaders are engaging the people for votes, Buhari and APC leaders are hiding in the villa planning how to rig election.
According to him, “Let me reiterate this warning to them, including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies, that any attempt to manipulate the election would be an invitation to a national crisis.
“If they love this country, they must not attempt to thwart the will of the people because it would be a recipe for crisis,” he said.
Secondus said that the president’s wife, Aisha, confirmed that the presidency under her husband has been hijacked and wondered what other proof Nigerians need to show that Nigeria is in a wrong hand.
He also stated that some politicians in Lagos talk about corruption when they are thieves, who have milked the state dry.
Secondus said that APC has already collapsed with some of their state governors talking with the PDP.
According to him, “It is important that the entire country and those who are watching from home, who see the crowd of the people here, they would see that we are talking to the people and canvassing for votes. Now APC is sitting at home and at Villa, they are planning to rig the election. They are not talking to the people.”
He added, “We are here with former vice president, Atiku, who you can see, who you can feel, and who you can trust. He is energetic, he is resourceful, industrious; he is ready to engage you; he is ready to persuade you.”
He asked, “But, what of APC candidate?”
Secondus answered, “Buhari cannot be seen, they are hiding him in the Villa. We challenge him to come out to talk to the people, to engage the people in hours of debate. If not, we warn the INEC and the security agencies not to rig this election. If they want to rig this election, they are planning for crisis in Nigeria. Will you accept any rigged election?”