The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has hailed convener of the two-day roundtable on national security General Abdulsalami Abubakar for quietly spearheading the quest for peaceful co-existence in the country without heating up the polity.
According to the group, this is the path former Heads of State are expected to toe, based on their national profile, rather than triggering bellicosity that could further widen the nation’s fault lines.
In a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, BMO said that the move by General Abdulsalami is worthy of emulation by not just former leaders but also by any Nigerian aspiring to leadership positions in the country.
“Not many Nigerians were aware that the former Head of State, through the Abdulsalami Abubakar Institute for Peace and Sustainable Development Studies (AAIPSDS), was working on a peace summit until some of the invited groups brought it into the public domain.
“And this was at a time another former leader Olusegun Obasanjo was also in the public eye for an open letter in which he tacitly upbraided an entire ethnic group over some grievances which he suggested could be resolved at a National conference.
“But rather than take a similar route, Abdulsalami ensured that participants representing various interests as well as those with different perspectives on the emerging security challenges showed up in Minna, Niger State to proffer solutions for a united and peaceful Nigeria.
“We believe that a former President who built a reputation for mediating in conflict situations in many parts of Africa at the behest of international organisations like the UN and AU should have done what a younger former leader, with a lesser international pedigree, is doing in his own country.
“So we are urging Chief Obasanjo to consider emulating General Abdulsalami’s unifying peace initiative and peaceful disposition rather than the divisive efforts he had in recent times been engaged in, which are bound to dent his credentials as a respected and unbiased national figure,” the group said.
BMO commended individuals and groups that participated at the two-day national security summit and had harsh words for those who did not show up.
“Our message for eminent Nigerians from all walks of life who turned up in Minna is that their contributions to peaceful co-existence would be etched in gold because there is no alternative to dialogue in resolving conflicts.
“Nigerians would also not forget in a hurry the socio-cultural groups which did not honour the invitation as their decision could be interpreted to mean that they rejected peace, but we know that the driving force for the attitude of these groups is hatred for President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Some of these groups are known for grandstanding on issues of insecurity and have always pointed accusing fingers at others, but it is surprising that when called upon to make their own contributions to efforts to foster peace, they demur.
“We hope that Nigerians have taken note of those who chose to boycott the security summit and pay attention to their utterances afterwards.”
BMO expressed hope that all Nigerians would heed the advice of Nigeria’s former Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, who, as chairman of the Roundtable discussion, said conflicts can only be brought under control if stakeholders look for a common ground through team building and peaceful resolution of conflicts.