Shortly after independence Anniversary broadcast to Nigerians, President Muhammadu Buhari Paid schedule visits to Troops at the war-front in Borno.
A statement signed by Air Force spokesman, Air Commodore Olatokunbo Adesanya in Maiduguri said the president’s aircraft landed at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) 105 Composite Group, where he was received by the Borno State governor, other top government officials and the service chiefs, including the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
Adesanya said after the brief reception at the NAF Base, President Buhari was airlifted with a NAF Agusta 109 Light Utility Helicopter to the venue of the independence anniversary celebrations in Maimalari Barracks.
While addressing the frontline personnel, the president expressed the nation’s gratitude for the sacrifices being made by members of the armed forces, adding that without their efforts, the relative peace being enjoyed by Nigerians would not have been possible.
He commended them and promised that the nation would not spare expenses in ensuring the welfare of military personnel as well as enhancing their capacity.
Buhari took the time to personally interact with some of the personnel, especially those who have been wounded in action.
According to the statement, the NAF added color to the occasion with aerial displays by its aircraft, which are involved in the ongoing counterterrorism operations.
Recall that President Buhari, in his independence anniversary broadcast to Nigerians, request Nigerians to be grateful to the armed forces for their efforts in ensuring that the Boko Haram terrorists in the northeast are defeated where he later joined the service chiefs to boost the morale of the frontline troops fighting the insurgency in the northeast.
Meanwhile, mixed reactions yesterday trailed President Muhammadu Buhari’s Independence Day broadcast, especially as regards the call for the restructuring of the country.
In the speech, the president said “Recent calls on re-structuring, quite proper in a legitimate debate,” have “let in highly irresponsible groups to call for the dismemberment of the country. We cannot and we will not allow such advocacy.”
But Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, who insisted on restructuring, lamented that some leaders misconstrue the issue to mean secession. He warned that in its absence, there might be an implosion.
He described those calling for restructuring as the ‘’true patriots of Nigeria.’’ According to him, the current political structure of the country is not sustainable.
The governor spoke yesterday in an interview with newsmen shortly after a special thanksgiving service to commemorate the 21st anniversary of the creation of Bayelsa State and 57th independence anniversary of Nigeria at the King of Glory Chapel at the Government House.
“My view is that there is an urgent national imperative for us to review the country. Maybe some people have problems with the word restructuring, but we have to reexamine our nation’s foundation and see how we can make necessary adjustments that will promote a more stable and prosperous Nigeria.
‘’The structure of the country as it is now is not sustainable. Very often, a number of our leaders misconstrue the call for restructuring to mean secession, no, those calling for restructuring are the patriots of Nigeria because we want to lay a foundation for a Nigeria that will last for the next 50, 100 and 200 years and beyond.
‘’Those people forget that in the next 10 to 20 years, the country will be one of the most populous on the face of the earth. You can’t have that kind of high-density human population, arguing every day and every time about the injustices and imbalances.”
Dickson said the best thing for Nigerians now is to have a consensus. “If there is any problem at all, it is how do we go about it? Not whether we should attempt restructuring or review or not. That, to me, is taken for granted and I am happy President Buhari said he was not opposed to restructuring.’’
Similarly, the Serving Overseer of the Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, disagreed with Buhari that recent calls for restructuring have provoked irresponsible agitations for the dismemberment of the country.
Bakare, who spoke on the state of the nation, yesterday said contrary to the views of the president, “it is the refusal to consider the need to address the issue that is causing the crisis.”
The cleric also disagreed with the President’s position that the government is keeping up the momentum of dialogue with stakeholders in the Niger Delta to keep the peace.
“It is like the president has reduced the call for restructuring to naira and kobo by focusing on the area (Niger Delta that produces the oil) that lays the golden egg as if other areas calling for restructuring have no voice.”
Bakare, who was the running mate to Buhari in the 2011 presidential election under the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), said while he agreed that no responsible leader would encourage the dismemberment of Nigeria, the president’s statement could further infuriate other leaders who were genuinely advocating restructuring for true federalism, equity, fairness and justice in the system.
Bakare said: “The clamor for restructuring some years ago was the exclusive lingo of pro-democracy groups like the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), the Pro-National Conference Organisation (PRONACO), and The Patriots. The leading individual voices in this call emerged mainly from the southern part of the country.