Former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, on Wednesday, called for a change in the way the nation is governed, stressing that Nigeria is currently at the crossroad with no idea as to which direction to turn.
The former military ruler, who made the call in a statement addressed to the nation ahead of the February 2015 general elections, harped on the need to tell the truth so as to help those at the helm of affairs correctly identify and diagnose the causes of disaffection and anger in the land.
“There is palpable desperation everywhere in the land; we are in a situation in which everyone is dissatisfied with what is going on, but nobody is sure of what to do, or what is going to happen next”, he stated.
Abubakar, who it was returned the country to the path of Democracy when he handed over power to the civilian administration of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999, noted that the country was faced by danger from an intractable insurgency, elite mistrust and poverty as seen in the glaring economic hardship. He said this had led to a situation where the rich cannot sleep because the poor are hungry, angry, and awake.
Wondering why the Boko Haram insurgency was allowed to degenerate to this level, Abubakar observed that “this nation has suffered greatly and lost thousands of lives to the Boko Haram insurgency, with more than a million people displaced within the country, and tens of thousands have been forced across our borders into neighboring countries.
“In one of the most senseless attacks, more than 2,000 people were said to have been killed in a single attack in Baga town of Borno State last week. This is clearly unacceptable, and we feel the time has come to restore the people’s confidence in the ability of government to confront, repel and put a stop to the impunity of the insurgency and reassure them of its capacity and readiness to protect them at all times”.
While expressing his condolences to families of those who lost their lives, he said Nigerians must not lose sight of the fact that what is happening has nothing to do with any religion just as he enjoined citizens to do all that is necessary to ensure that peace and normalcy prevails before, during and after the general elections next month.
In an advice to President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure that the military and security forces were sufficiently equipped to confront the insurgents, Abubakar called on the president to consider the mobilization and re-absorption of all retired able-bodied security personnel and undertaking fresh recruitment into the police force and other paramilitary agencies.
The former Head of State while warning politicians against do-or-die politics, asserted that Nigeria was greater than the ambition and ego of any of its citizens.
Hear him, “We must force our politicians to accept and learn to play by the rules; and in their politicking adopt the highest ethical conduct, especially during campaigns and the conduct of the elections themselves.
“The inordinate ambition of some of our politicians, especially their do-or-die attitude in their quest for power, their way of subverting the electoral process in order to get to power must be checked by this nation or else they will terminally checkmate it.
“All Nigerians of goodwill must, therefore, rise to tell politicians and, indeed, all Nigerians that Nigeria is greater than the ambition and ego of any of its citizens; and at every encounter with whoever, this nation must prevail”, he admonished.