Junaid Mohammed, an elder statesman and Second Republic member of the House of Representatives on Wednesday said President Muhammadu Buhari shouldn’t have promised Nigerians to lead the war against Boko Haram from the front.
He said the statement made by the President is now coming back to haunt him.
While delivering a speech at Chatham House International Affairs Institute in London in February 2015, Buhari had promised to lead from the front in the fight against Boko Haram if elected President.
“Let me assure you that if I am elected president, the world will have no cause to worry about Nigeria as it has had to recently; that Nigeria will return to its stabilising role in West Africa; and that no inch of Nigerian territory will ever be in the hands of the enemy. I, Muhammadu Buhari, will always lead from the front and return Nigeria to its leadership role in regional and international efforts to combat terrorism”.
Following the success recorded by the Chadian Army last weekend, many Nigerians have challenged President Buhari to match his words with actions by emulating President Idriss Deby who led the offensive against the insurgents.
Junaid however said given President Buhari’s age, no sincere Nigerian will expect him to physically present at the war front.
“First and foremost, the circumstances of President Buhari and Idriss Deby of Chad are totally different. Also, the Nigeria is in a democratic government while the situation in Chad is more like a military dictatorship”.
“But if truth be told, whatever the circumstances, I think President Buhari shouldn’t have made the pronouncement that as elected President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, he was going to lead from the front. Whether he was speaking literally or metaphorically, it doesn’t matter”.
“He shouldn’t have made the statement but he made it and now it is now coming back to haunt him. But no sane person who believes in Nigeria’s democracy as a project will imagine that Buhari who is over 85 years old should now go and lead Nigeria’s troops in fighting Boko Haram. Given his age, we shouldn’t expect him to be physically involved in frontal attack against Nigeria’s enemy whether they are Boko Haram or foreign countries. That will amount to taking things too far”.
“I believe that what Buhari is expected to do is to provide political, economic and other kinds of leadership qualities and make sure that the people who are behind Boko Haram are exposed and they are dealt with appropriately. I don’t think that has happened”, he said.