Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, has described the Northern Elders Forum led by Ango Abdullahi as “a mere irritant”.
Reacting to the group’s criticism of President Muhammadu Buhari over the rising insecurity in the north, Adesina described the group as a “one-man army” which is driven by political interests and its dislike for the president.
Abdullahi had said the constant attacks by bandits and Boko Haram insurgents are indications that the Buhari administration “has failed woefully” in terms of security and welfare of citizens.
But reacting via a statement, Adesina said the presidency continues to see the forum as nothing more than Abdullahi.
“We are not surprised by this latest statement by Prof. Abdullahi, and our past position on what his group represents remains unchanged: a mere irritant and featherweight,” he said.
“The former vice chancellor signed the statement under the banner of Northern Elders Forum (NEF). Hearing that title, you would think the body was a conglomeration of true elders. But the truth is that NEF is just Ango Abdullahi, and Ango Abdullahi is NEF.
“It is a quasi-organization that boasts of no credible membership, and its leader is akin to a General without troops.”
The presidential spokesman added that the “one-man army called NEF” had shown its “antipathy” against Buhari before the 2019 presidential election, but was “beaten together” with its preferred candidate.
“NEF is merely waving a flag that is at half-mast. President Buhari steadily and steadfastly focuses on the task of retooling Nigeria, and discerning Nigerians know the true state of the nation. They don’t need a paper tiger to tell them anything,” he said.