John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has joined other groups to react to Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah’s outburst against President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, saying that the cleric should go to court rather than calling for an undemocratic process to addressing the alleged poor governance.
The Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese was quoted to have attacked President Buhari’s government in his Christmas message, accusing it of nepotism and incompetence.
Bishop Kukah’s message read in part, “This government owes the nation an explanation as to where it is headed as we seem to journey into darkness. The spilling of this blood must be related to a more sinister plot that is beyond our comprehension. Are we going to remain hogtied by these evil men or are they gradually becoming part of a larger plot to seal the fate of our country?
“President Buhari deliberately sacrificed the dreams of those who voted for him to what seemed like a programme to stratify and institutionalise northern hegemony by reducing others in public life to second class status. He has pursued this self-defeating and alienating policy at the expense of greater national cohesion.
“Every honest Nigerian knows that there is no way any non-Northern Muslim President could have done a fraction of what President Buhari has done by his nepotism and gotten away with it. There would have been a military coup a long time ago or we would have been at war.
“The president may have concluded that Christians will do nothing and will live with these actions. He may be right and we Christians cannot feel sorry that we have no pool of violence to draw from or threaten our country. However, God does not sleep. We can see from the inexplicable dilemma of his North.”
However, the NEF in its reaction said though, it cannot agree less with Bishop Kukah that Buhari’s government lacks respect for inclusiveness, it feels it was irresponsible to search for solutions to the problems outside the democratic process.
The NEF’s Director, Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said the nation is paying a heavy price for mediocrity and ineffectiveness in key areas of decision-making under President Buhari.
Dr. Baba-Ahmed however, said that the forums would not encourage even contemplation of any other form of government other than one that emerges democratically.
The NEF’s spokesman said that Nigerians who feel there are sufficient grounds to challenge the administration should seek redress in court.
According to him, “The Northern Elders Forum will not encourage even contemplation of any other form of government other than one that emerges democratically.
“There are many grounds to question the competence and sensitivity of President Buhari’s administration. Even his most ardent supporters, if he has any, that is, will wish he has shown greater respect for inclusion and accountability of those he chooses to trust with power.
“The nation is paying a heavy price for mediocrity and ineffectiveness in key areas of decision-making under President Buhari.
“There is however a judicial recourse for abuse of constitutional provisions for a federal character in all matters of governance. Nigerians who feel there are sufficient grounds to challenge the administration should take advantage of that provision.
“The forum believes that it is irresponsible to search for solutions to President Buhari’s poor governance outside the democratic process,” Baba-Ahmed said.