- Bugaje, others lead new northern group, question president’s change agenda
John Shiklam in Kaduna
Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State declared saturday in Kaduna, the state capital, that the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress in the North-west state had resolved to support President Muhammadu Buhari ‘s re-election in 2019.
El-rufai made the declaration during a town hall meeting organised by the government to get the people’s inputs for the 2018 budget.
However, on the same day in Kaduna, a new northern group, Arewa Initiative for Good Governance, alleged that the Buhari administration had not delivered the change it promised Nigerians two years after coming to power. AIGG made the allegation during the inauguration of its officials and presentation of its charter. It said the country had not experienced meaningful development in the last two decades, as “every cycle of elections leaves us worse than the previous one.”
Proclaiming the Kaduna APC’s determination to work for Buhari’s victory, el-Rufai said, “We in Kaduna State, our party leadership, have come out clearly to say that Kaduna is for Buhari come 2019, if God wills. And he shall be victorious again.
“So I urge you to continue to pray for him, for God to continue to grant him good health so that he can continue in office to continue his good and just governance.”
Though, Buhari has not announced his intention to seek a second term, El-rufai has been canvassing for his re-election, and has repeatedly slammed those opposed to another term in office for the President. He recently took on the Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan, who declared that she would support former Vice President Atiku Abubukar in 2019 even if Buhari runs.
Meanwhile, a new northern group, AIGG, questioned Buhari’s change agenda, saying Nigeria’s democracy is not producing leaders that can foster security, prosperity, and development. The group said, “The nation is further sinking into the abyss of underdevelopment” on Buhari’s watch.
Members of the group include former political adviser to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, Dr. Usman Bugaje; leader of a faction of the ruling APC in Kaduna State, Mataimaki Tom Maiyashi; and former Secretary to the Government of Plateau State, Sylvanus Lot. Others are Dr. Kabiru Tsafe, Hajiya Amina Ladan Baki, and Dr. Yima Sen.
The group, in its charter read by Sen, said poverty had deepened and become entrenched in the face of enormous oil revenue while corruption had become endemic and systemic, “defying even regimes that rode to power on the crest of fighting corruption.”
It decried, “The eroding of societal values, how the economy has been underperforming, pauperising the masses, fuelling crime and insurgencies; how the teeming jobless youth have been abandoned with no hope on the horizon; how the millions of out-of-school-children have been ignored as their numbers keep swelling; how governance has been reduced to prebendal politics; and how our political parties, especially their leadership recruitment mechanisms, keep churning out incompetent, irresponsible and corrupt leaders.”
AIGG said the society was being consumed by a dangerous political culture that seems endlessly predicated on pecuniary considerations, violence, and sundry crimes.
According to AIGG, “This rogue political culture has calibrated our leadership recruitment mechanism in our political system to produce inept and clueless leaders who only know how to swindle the electorate and loot their treasuries dry. All projections on this trajectory are indicating that we are heading to a failed state and a failed society as evident by the rising and horrifying social conflicts and violence.
“Some studies by international analysts have been setting dates for our collapse as a nation. Now that our hope for rebirth after the heavily fought 2015 elections is yet to come to fruition, we must wake up from our slumber and complacency and salvage our society before it becomes too late.
“We further recognise that rather than continue to curse the darkness, it is better that we light a candle, in other words, we stop agonising and start organising.”
The group said, “We have resolved to conscientise, recruit and mobilise all the good men and women, in and out of politics, in the public and private sectors, young and old, from every tribe and religion, from every walk of life, together into one platform in order to create the critical mass, move en masse in one direction and ensure that the flawed leadership recruitment mechanism in our political system is remedied.
“This we also agree can work best when we are able to create a grassroots movement that can mobilise the whole society for this reform, very much like previous anti-democratic struggles.
“Thus, this movement must resonate with the concerns of the wider society and articulate the solutions in clear terms that define the role of every stratum of society.
“We, therefore, commit ourselves to participate in this process of a political rebirth with all our strength and understanding, to move together into a carefully considered political platform to ensure that our political life is reformed to produce conscientious, competent and courageous leaders that will be guided by the fundamental principles of democracy, accountability and responsible leadership for the moral, social, political and economic development of our country.
“We pledge our honour, dignity, and integrity that we shall give this mission the uttermost priority and will not allow partisan political considerations or any personal interests to stand in our way. So help us God!”