Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe induced an uproar in the Nigerian Senate on Wednesday 28 January 2020, when he demanded the immediate resignation of the country’s President, Muhammadu Buhari.
He observed that the President was at present incapable of containing the unending security problems of the country and as such deserves to honourably resign his position.
In his words at the plenary: “Nigerians will go to the government and ask the government to resign because they did not elect the chief of staff, the police IG, service chiefs and others.
“Nigerians voted a government into power. We are going with stones to stone them now because they have failed.”
The Abia State senator’s comment has been regarded differently by various personalities in the country.
The presidency have reasoned the Eastern politician on what really makes his opinion ‘foolish’. In a statement by his media aide, the President described Abaribe as the rightful person to seek resignation from any elected position. The presidency further cited that he[Abaribe] doesn’t only need to resign his position, but should himself replace the treasonable suspects he opened door of escape to, in prison.
The presidency cited Nnamdi Kano’s escape from trial as a rationale that Abaribe shouldn’t have gathered an effrontery to accuse anyone of failing to the bidding of the law.
It could be recalled that Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe being one of the sureties to the Indigenous People Of Biafra(IPOB) leader, Nnamdi Kanu, was on June 22, 2018 arrested by the Department of State Security Services (DSS) for an alleged links with the group. He was however released four days later on bail.
What happened at the Senate plenary
Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, brought out a motion seeking deliberation on the increasing security challenges in the country. Senator Abaribe while opining to the presented motion said the attitude of the president to insecurity in the country is of a surprise to him.
Abaribe questioned the statements by the government relaying the defeat of Boko Haram adding that those who live by propaganda will die by propaganda.
He listed the Niger and Jos killings by the said ‘defeated’ terrorists as notable examples which indicates that the insurgency war was far from over.
The politician further stunned the gathered senators when he revealed that opposition senators wants the President’s exit due to what he said were ‘excuses for incompetence’.
Senator Abdullahi Adamu despite the uproar which followed the minority speaker’s speech said Abaribe’s submissions were unnecessary. Senate President, Ahmad Lawan while quelling the confusion that followed appealed to his colleagues to approach the issue with caution.
The Truth in Abaribe’s remark
President Muhammadu Buhari rode to his election victory in 2015 on the promise of decimating Boko Haram terrorists, and various other insurgent groups in the country.
However, within few months of reign as commander in chief of the country’s armed forces, Nigeria was featured on the Global Terrorism Index due to incessant activities of the Fulani militant group labelled the fourth deadliest terror group in the world. The damages effectuated by this group added up to the country’s terrorism troubles especially with the Boko Haram.
Commentators have argued why a country which boasts of being the biggest producer of crude oil in Africa finds it difficult in containing terrorism. many have pointed at corruption in institutions of government as the major cause of failure in defeating insurgency in the country. Widespread impunity leading to feeble security architecture has left it’s citizen’s wondering what the future holds for it.
The ineffectiveness of the service chiefs has also been another debatable issue in the country. Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Ibik–Eke Ibn; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar are long overdue for retirement, but President Buhari deems it unnecessary to retire them.
From all perspective, it seems the President is in no need of notification concerning how devastated the country is becoming with a new day. However, it should be remembered that He was once a critic of the government.
Then contender for the presidency on the back of three failures, Muhammadu Buhari had in May 2013 asked the then President of the country, Goodluck Jonathan to vacate office for “failing” to tackle insecurity across the country. Addressing journalists at his residence, Buhari had said: “Jonathan should vacate and give way to competent hand to govern the country.”
Abaribe’s statement could be better viewed as a reminder to the President to step up on his advances towards insurgency in the country. At such, the presidency’s conclusion of Abaribe’s intent as baseless and ‘foolish’ is demeaning.
Meanwhile judging from his recorded statement years ago as a citizen, it is in no wrong place for a concerned senator to pray the handover of the government to a ‘competent hand’.