Former Minister of Education, Dr Oby Ezekwesili saturday lamented that despite being ascribed as the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari had not proved to be in charge of the armed forces.
Ezekwesili, who co-founded the #BringBackOurGirls Movement, also lamented that Nigeria had been this divided since it became independent in 1960.
She lamented Buhari’s failure to exercise his power at the 11th Wole Soyinka Centre Media Lecture Series held at MUSON Centre, Lagos Island saturday.
Other discussants at the lecture are the Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative, Mr. Gbenga Sesan; Senior Programme Officer, MacArthur Foundation, Mrs. Amina Salihu and the Editorial Board Chair, Nigeria Info Radio Group, Mr. Rotimi Sankore.
Ezekwesili, who made the lead presentation at the lecture, said the president was not commanding the Nigerian Armed Forces the way it should be controlled.
Ezekwesili the president “is Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces. If security is failing in the country, that is the fastest way to assess the incompetence that the president has shown so far to an issue that affects the majority of his citizens.
“I do not think we should mince words and that is why I am not mincing words. We cannot have a president who is comfortable to be in the office and spend the night at the Villa unconcerned by the type of challenges that we the citizens are facing.
“A government that cannot guarantee the security and safety of the citizens and the government that would not immediately ensure that there is a consequence for the kind of killings that we have seen around the country, but will rather inflame the passions of the people negatively by introducing a matter that is divisive, that government needs to be called to scrutiny and interrogation.”
“So, for me, the security issue in our society today says to President Buhari: You are not commanding the Nigerian Armed forces in the way that you should. The safety of the citizens of this country should above every other issue because after all when the dignity of the human life is held in contempt, what else it is in governance.”
Ezekwesili said the country was presently divided across various ethnic and religious lines, lamented that the issue of RUGA took Nigeria by storm
He noted: “You could see the tardiness by this government in addressing it. Buhari should know he is the president of a highly divided country. I have never seen a country this divided. He should invite all parts of the country for deep retrospection and introspection on how democracy should be constituted.
She also declared that reports from civil society organisations (CSOs) “have shown that the 2019 general elections were far from credible. The elements of credible elections include inclusivity, competitivity, transparency and accountability. But the reports from CSOs show we were far from credible.”
Ezekwesili said, “Recently, a vexing issue of Ruga took the country by storm and you could see a level of emptiness with which a government thought of a matter so polarising.
“If the President did not learn anything from Ruga, then we should let him know that Ruga pointed to him. That he is president of a highly divided country. I have never seen this country that divided,” she added.