The presidency, yesterday, alleged political motif in some of the killings in the Middle Belt, even as it dismissed the opposition to President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term bid, saying Nigerians have enough evidence to re-elect the President.
This came as former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, retd, and Bayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson expressed concern over the spate of killings by herdsmen across the the country. Presidential spokesman Mallam Garba Shehu, while dismissing the third force movement as amorphous, said the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP would require eight to 12 years to reform itself to pose as a credible opposition to any government. Shehu in the statement also blasted critics of the Arewa pastors who recently endorsed President Buhari for a second term, saying criticisms of the pastors who he said represent 45,000 members was evident of growing intolerance in the country. Noting with regret what he described as calculated plot to divide Nigerians between farmers and herders, Shehu in the statement said the Buhari administration had done so much for farmers, including bringing fertilisers to them without bottleneck. Noting that expectation of Buhari solving the problems inherited was far-fetched, he said: “Nigerians expected him to undo the damage in several decades of misgovernance and naturally, many are already feeling frustrated that he hadn’t done that in three years. “The problem with our opposition is that beyond fault-finding, they are unable to give or innovate a vision of their own on how they can make the nation better. “A so-called Third Force has failed to get political traction since its birth.
This is understandable, given that they have promised to give the country everything that is new but have so far produced no new faces, no new ways of doing things. Certainly, there is no face that can be called the President of Nigeria. “For the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP parading itself on the glory of being the largest opposition, the party has not less than 10 leaders acutely ambitious to rule Nigeria. It will take them minimally two to three terms of presidential tenure, that is eight to 12 years to reinvent the party.”
Killings in Middle Belt Affirming political mischief behind some of the killings in the Middle-Belt, he said: “Today, government has irrefutable evidence that much as most of these killings are arising from herdsmen-farmers attacks, some of it is driven by politicians. The recent arrests by the army in Taraba State point to a clear political sponsorship, and the kingpins, some of whom have been arrested have been handed over to the DSS for further investigation. “Others who are being sought have either gone into hiding or are pulling strings of blackmail to force the hands of government to abandon the search for them.
“It is clear by now that the Middle Belt killings even if they are not caused by the opposition are no doubt seen as a political opportunity to set the tone for the 2019 elections.