Former military head of state, Mr Abdulsalami Abubakar has urged Nigerian youth to stop criticising the failures of government and misrule of bad leaders but “rise up and vote out incompetent governments”.
The retired general also urged Nigerian parents to dissuade their children and wards from being used for violence in the upcoming general elections in 2019.
Abubakar stated this on Friday at National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in Kuru, where he delivered a speech at an annual lecture on ‘Election and Security in Nigeria: Policy Options and Strategies’ ahead of the Graduation Ceremony of the Senior Executive Course (SEC)
”You should not allow your children to be used for violence,” Abubakar reportedly said.
“Let me try to conclude by saying that every citizen must do their duty; you must not sell your vote, you must register to vote, and stop criticising the failures of government if you will not go and vote them out if they are not doing their job,” he added.
Abubakar identified some hindrances in the political process as non-credible election umpires, militarisation of elections by security agents, crowded political parties, poor electoral laws, and delay in the judicial system.
He noted that security agencies should not be seen taking sides during elections and on election day.
“They must not be seen to be taking a side as observed in Ekiti State with the result now being contested in court. Heavy policing and militarisation of election as observed in Ekiti was enough to scare voters from coming out to exercise their franchise.”
Abubakar, who handed over to President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999, also described vote-buying, as bad, “that must be urgently addressed before 2019 elections”.
He said Boko Haram was certainly a threat to 2019 elections in North-east, adding that IPOB, MEND and others were also threats.
“Many of the so-called political parties do not have ideological orientation. They are ethnic-regional in character, with low party discipline; there is hardly anything like party supremacy. Those that fund them hijack and commercialise them.”
He also blamed Nigeria’s ordeal on ‘colonial historical baggage’.
“Nigeria’s amalgamation was not scripted to benefit the nation, coupled with the divide and rule practice by the British in Nigeria, and the inordinate greed and ambition of our political elites.
“Absence of check and balances and culture of winner takes it all in Nigeria have made politicians become desperate to get it by hook-or-crook.”
Other attendees at the lecture were former chairman, board of governors of NIPSS, Mr Paul Omu; Gbong Gwom Jos, Mr Jacob Gyang Buba, and deputy governor of Plateau State, Mr Sonni Tyoden, who represented Governor Simon Lalong.