The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) says President Muhammadu Buhari is in denial of his failure to secure the country.
The forum, in a statement by Ango Abdullahi, its chairman, said it appears the current administration does not have any idea on what will provide relief or solution to insecurity and poverty in the land.
It said poverty has worsened in the north under the Buhari administration and that the president has failed the nation.
“It has become necessary and appropriate, however, to make public, the position of the forum on important matters that affect the manner Nigerians live, and the future we must address,” it said.
“The forum regrets that by any standard of judgement, the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has failed the nation in the vital area of improving its security.
“The relationship between insecurity and poverty is fundamental, but the administration does not appear to have any idea on what will provide relief or solution.
“It gives the forum no pleasure to say that it had warned Nigerians that President Buhari lacked the will, the competence and commitment to lead it into a secure and prosperous future before the 2019 elections.
“It is shocking that in spite of unprecedented consensus among Nigerians that the administration requires a new resolve, approach and leadership in the fight against the nation’s multiple security challenges, President Buhari appears either totally isolated or in deep denial over the result of his failures to secure Nigerians.”
It said with this mindset, it is difficult to see how Buhari can accept the challenge to “radically improve his handling of our security situation”.
It added that by 2023, it would only support candidates that meet the standard and interests of the north.
”The north knows its interests, and will stand together to elect only persons who meet the standards and interests of the people of the North,” it said.
“No politician should assume that they are entitled to our support unless they show a clear understanding and a commitment to deal with our problems and meet our aspirations.”
The forum asked Nigerians to continue to raise their voices through all legitimate means to demand that the administration addresses major failings.
It also demanded a thorough overhaul of the leadership of “our security and public safety agencies, and the injection of higher levels of competence, integrity and accountability in the manner our troops and the police and security agencies deal with security challenges”.
The forum said it supports the idea of improving the policing capacities of the nation, and that all initiatives to improve public safety must find accommodation within the laws, and must not be designed to threaten or harass particular groups or interests.
On the ban on okada in Lagos state, the forum said: “With due respect to the rights of the Lagos State Government to take decisions that improve the environment and public safety, we are constrained to draw attention to the impact of its policy on banning Okada and Keke in parts of the State on the poor and operators, many of them from the North, who earn honest living through this trade.
“We urge restraint in the responses of those who are immediately affected by this policy, while we urge Northern State Governments to mobilize and support the people who will be compelled to relocate back to the North with other sources of legitimate living.”