The Convener of Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) and former Minister of Education, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, on Saturday, said President Muhammadu Buhari didn’t deserve to be president, due to his lackadaisical attitude to the plight of the 2000 Nigeria Immigration Service recruits, who slept at the entrance of Aso Villa in Abuja from Friday till Saturday morning.
But the Nigerian presidency in a swift reaction challenged the former minister to run for presidency and take over from President Buhari.
We recall that NIS recruits were trained on weapons handling and dispersed on August 20, 2015 from their various camps, following a circular, which emanated from the NIS headquarters in Abuja, directing them to go on two weeks break. Since then, they have not been recalled to their respective camps.
According to The Nigerian Tribune, Ezekwesili, while appealing to the protesters to maintain decorum, also challenged President Buhari to come out and publicly address the alleged illegal recruitment which has permeated his administration in the last couple of months, saying “that was not the change Nigerians voted for.”
“You are great Nigerians. So, you slept here, Oh my God! Inside this cold of Abuja. Somebody holds you a better explanation, and if President Muhammadu Buhari says he doesn’t know that you slept here since yesterday, it means he doesn’t deserve to be there.
“This government should not punish those who did not deserve to be punished. Nothing should be done secretly. This is not the change Nigerians voted for. President Buhari should come out and address the allegation of illegal recruitment going on in the civil service,” she added.
She further alleged that the federal government was employing those who did not have knowledge, skills and required literacy through the backdoor into civil service without minding the consequence, while promising to join the recruits until their demands were acceded to by President Buhari.
Ezekwesili stated that the impunity Nigerians fought during the immediate past administration has resurfaced in the present administration of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
She frowned on the situation in which the underprivileged were being subjected to hardship before they could be employed into the civil service, pointing out that only the children of members of the National Assembly, Federal Executive Council and bigwigs in the country were gainfully employed, even without merit.
Also speaking, another convener, Mrs Aisha Yesufu said the immediate past administration deserved to be commended for redeeming its image by employing the recruits, wondering why President Buhari, who promised ‘change’ had subjected the youth who had undergone rigorous trainings, especially in weapons handling, to such humiliation.
Some of the other protesters, Godwin Ladi Mercy, Adeleye Adejoke, Salomi Yohanna and Usman Ugbede Yusuf, condemned government action, saying the Federal Government should not refer to the 2,000 youths as applicants, because they have been given provisional offer of appointments, NIS uniforms, identification cards and posted to various commands nationwide.
As of the time of filing this report, the protesters, who slept at the entrance of the Villa till Saturday, have vowed to remain there, until the president or any of his aides comes out to address them.
While reacting, the Senior Special Assistant to the president on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, advised Ezekwesili to form a political party to run for presidency if she felt Buhari was not doing well.
He told The Nigerian Tribube in Abuja that if she did so and won the election, Buhari would hand over to her.
Asked to react to Ezekwesili’s claims, Shehu said: “Did I hear you say that Madam Ezekwesili said President Muhammadu Buhari is not fit to be in that office?
“That is a political statement. What I will advise her to do is to come out of the shadow of the grieving Chibok parents, register a political party and go into the election against the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari.
“If she thinks she is a better person to be in that office, let her present herself to the Nigerian people in an election. She has the right to do so under our constitution.”
“The issue of democracy is that there is a right to vote and be voted for. If anybody thinks that they can do a better job than President Muhammadu Buhari as president of Nigeria, let them go and run for the office to win election and take over.”