The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has declared that the 2019 elections would be a referendum on the state of security and hunger in Nigeria.
Mr Dogara was speaking in Katungo, Gombe State at an empowerment programme organised by a lawmaker, Binta Bello, Monday where he challenged Nigerians to do an introspection and decide if they have made progress in the last three and half years or have witnessed a decline in their living standards on a general basis.
The speaker’s statement was sent to PREMIUM TIMES by his spokesperson, Turaki Hassan.
While lamenting the current state of situations in the country, Mr Dogara remarked that “So 2019 elections is about insecurity, whether we can be secured. Then look at your own lives, even if nobody loves or likes you, advise yourself, hold a consultation with yourself, sit down and argue with yourself, ask yourself what progress you’ve made in the last three and a half years? Don’t even ask any other person, in case that person may give you a biased opinion about yourself, but you know yourself very well, just sit down and if you want assistance, sit down close to a mirror so that you can see yourself. Compare yourself the way you look now and the way you looked some three years ago and then you’ll know, and then decide for yourself whether you want to continue looking like this, that is if it doesn’t get worse in the next four more years. By the time you’ve finished having that conversation with yourself, make a decision”.
“If this is the kind of life that you want us to live, if this is the kind of insecurity you want us to perpetrate for Nigeria. Today in Nigeria thirteen (13) million of our children are out of school, one million, three hundred thousand (1.3m) of those children are from my home state of Bauchi. If we continue like this, the numbers are bound to increase, and the crisis we will face in the future will be more than this Boko Haram crisis that we are witnessing. This is because by refusing to give free and compulsory education to our children, we are raising an army for insurgency that will come and consume us as a people.
“So the vote in 2019 is not about anything, but about you, about you and about you. Do not make it about any other thing, but about what progress do you want to make? What kind of country do you want to raise your children in? What kind of country do you want to live in? What kind of education do you want to be giving to your children?
“All these are what we have in the 2019 ballot. And we trust as educated and enlightened opinionated people, that you’ll make the right choices.”
He lamented that “Boko Haram insurgency is still fresh, in fact in PDP there was never a time when in one day when more than one hundred soldiers were killed. In any other country, that would have made their security forces to declare a national emergency, but here it didn’t happen. God forbid, is that the Nigeria that we want going forward? Do you know that today, you cannot travel between Kaduna and Abuja? It is very difficult. Most of the people that can afford it are always commuting by train, and we thank God for the railway that was almost 95% completed by the PDP government before APC took over. If you travel by road, there is a 70 per cent chance that you’ll be kidnapped. In those days, however, kidnapping was very strange in the Northern part of this country.
He urged the people of Gombe State not to be tempted to deviate from the course, which is the PDP that has brought development to Gombe State.
“If you make the mistake of putting an untested person in the Gombe State Government House, I tell you that you will regret it. As someone who has seen the difference, I beg you not to make that mistake, because we will not join you in crying if you make the mistake,” he said to them.
Citing the case of the killing of more than a hundred soldiers in a day by Boko Haram insurgents, which he said ought to have led to a national emergency on security, coupled with the hunger and deprivation in the country, Hon Dogara said if the APC administration is allowed to continue in power with the way it is handling security, it would only be a matter of time before more insurgents rise up to unleash terror on innocent Nigerians.
Saying two-thirds of Nigerians can no longer afford three-square meals a day, he noted that the incidences of criminal attacks have increased with kidnapping a daily incidence.