MEMBERS of the Nigerian Elders and Leaders insisted on Monday that President Muhammadu Buhari is insensitive to the plight of Nigerians.
They said the President should have embraced former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s admonition as a wake-up instead of abusing the former leader for telling him wake up from his slumber.
According to the elders, who met on the state of the nation last week in Abuja under the chairmanship of Obasanjo, the President has uncritically perceived the responsible and credible initiative as Obasanjo’s sole affair.
In a statement in Lagos yesterday, the group said it has no regrets or apologies to offer for encouraging a dialogue for an exchange ideas in a bid to pulling the country from the brink of collapse.
The statement was signed by Dr. Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt Forum), Yinka Odumakin (Afenifere), Chief Guy Ikokwu (Ohanaeze) and Bassey Hensaw (PANDEF).
The group said: “We are even more worried at this stage that a responsible and constructive effort to douse tensions, build bridges and restore hope in the potentials for the survival of our country as democratic and united entity will attract the type of childish vitriol from the Presidency, including labelling us as terrorists.
“Clearly, our current leaders are living in very deep denial, if they do not recognise that our current situation represents an existential danger to the nation.
“We noted the commendable support of other leaders for the initiative, and the statesmanship of Chairmen of Nigerian, APC and PDP Governors‘ fora who attended the second day of the meeting and expressed genuine support for it.
“In contrast, we are alarmed at the insensitivity of the Presidency which will rather demolish patriotic and responsible action than take steps to address gaping holes in the manner it handles our national destiny, our security and our economy.
“Our fora is encouraged to pursue the time-tested strategy of engagement, dialogue and steadfast commitment to the future of our country as secure, united and just.
“We will continue to exercise our rights to meet and seek for solutions, and discharge our obligations to younger generations of Nigerians who deserve to live in a nation without its current frightening limitations.
“We believe that the Presidency, our legislators and all well-meaning Nigerians should be part of our initiative. If the Presidency chooses to stay out, Nigerians have the right to ask what it is doing to address our deeply-embedded problems itself.
“President Muhammadu Buhari should know that Nigerians can distinguish between Nigerians who care enough to do something, and those with responsibility who choose to do nothing.”
Obasanjo’s remarks that Nigeria was becoming a failed state on Sunday attracted knocks from the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Presidency.
They chided the former president and described him as descending “from the lofty height of Commander-in-Chief to the lowly level of Divider-in-Chief.”
In separate statements, the Presidency, APC and the Federal Government, said Chief Obasanjo and his erstwhile deputy Atiku Abubakar, lacked the moral right to chart the way forward for the country.