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Refining Northern geopolitics: Perspectives on Buhari’s rejection


President Buhari

The recent refusal by Northern groups to endorse President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term is a restatement of fact.

The groups did not say anything new, because in 2011 the same elders sidestepped the President in the search for a consensus candidate for that year’s Presidential election.

Right from the days when he was the military head of state, the general impression among enlightened citizens in the north is that he is a loner.


Even at his sacking via a palace coup in 1985, the then military head of state was ‘impeached’ by his colleagues for insular leadership and inability to canvass ideas with a view to building consensus.

To a large extent, the position of the northern groups seems to buttress the observations from former President Olusegun Obasanjo, that Buhari has failed.

Most retired former military officers also hold the view that President Buhari lacks leadership skills, arguing that of all past military rulers, the President ranks very low on the score of team building and empathic leadership.

Grouse of Northern Groups

IN the communiqué released after their meeting in Kaduna, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Borno Elders Forum and Supreme Council of Sharia in Nigeria used critical criteria to score the President below a pass mark.

The fact that the position was not made by dodgy characters under anonymous circumstances puts a seal of authenticity on their decisions.

Read by a member of the Northern Elders Forum, Hakeem Baba Ahmed, the following salient points were isolated to pass the no confidence vote.

It is noteworthy that Professor Ango Abdullahi, the chairman of the occasion; Dr. Yima Sen and Ambassador Ibrahim Mai Sule, among other signatories, could not be dismissed as uninformed persons.

The challenges, which they itemized, including, insecurity, abject poverty, social disharmony among communities, are sound basis of measuring the competence of an administration. After three years in office, they concluded that it was obvious that the President has not deployed expertise or deep knowledge of the problems, not to talk of organising intelligent ideas and initiatives to address them.

Although President Buhari came into office mouthing anti-corruption, the decision of the northern elders shows clearly that that is the only trouble that ail the country. Hence, the elders accused him of betraying the hopes of the people, through indifference.

It could also be deduced from the grouse of the Northern elders that the President is comfortable with the cult following he enjoys with the uneducated, illiterate poor masses, who identify with him during elections, but does nothing to in turn to redress their material and psychological circumstances.

The northern elders must have spoken out of frustration, because instead of the President coming out to postulate on his plans to better the society, aides are encouraged to marshal ideas that are inconceivable by the President.

It could be this governance by proxy that the NEF found detestable. The groups observed that despite public outcry against attacks, the President has not been able to proffer workable solutions.

The elders had real cause to worry that “too many communities are at the mercy of attacks from sundry groups of criminals who appear to have unchallenged access to space and weapons.”

But while other parts of the country complain about the skewed nature of appointments by President Buhari, it was surprising that the Northern groups observed that the fact that the region has produced national leaders has not impacted positively on the socio-economic lot of the

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