Atiku Turns Buhari Border Closure As An Electioneering Campaign Issue In The North, Obi Promises To Eradicate Poverty   

By  Suleiman Umaru

 President Muhammadu Buhari closure of borders with neighbouring West African country of Benin, Nigr, Chad and the Central African country of Cameroon to stem smuggling of vehicles, foreign rice and other Contraband into the country in August 19, 2019, appears to have become an electioneering Campaign issue in Nigeria.

The Katsina born Nigerian President had banned the importation of   vehicles and foreign rice through the land border on January 1, 2017. The importation of rice into the country was later extended in the seaports in June 2017, with a directive to Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central of Nigeria, CBN, to stop ssuing letters of Credit, LC, to rice importers.

The Nigerian President may have known that the Opposition Political Parties Presidential Candidates would take advantage of the closure of the land borders with the West African countries of Benin, Niger Chad and the Central African country of Cameroon, to run down the ruling down the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, once the ban on Campaigns forthe 2023, general elections is lifted by Prof. Mahmud Yakubu, led Independent National Electoral Commision, INEC.

Buhari may have bowed  pressure from different quarters  both within and outside the country to  reopen Seme , the Land border Community , between Nigeria and Benin Republic, in the south western Ngeria,  Ilela and Maitagari  border in the north western part of the contry and  Mfun  in the south-south geo-political region on  December 31, 2020 but that was how far he could go.

He had said  that the ban  on the importation  of vehicles,  foreign rice,  poultry products  and other prohibited products  will still be implemented by the interventionist units: Federal Operations Units , across the country and the adhoc Teams:  Border Drill and Headquarters strike Force. Teams, across the country.

Given security report of the  improved  situation at  Idiroko Land border in the south west part of Nigeria, Jibiya in Katsina state, north westernwestern Nigeria,  border  amba  border post in Kebbi state , north west and Ikom, Cross –river state, south western Nigeria, may have encouraged the Nigerian President to give the nod for the approval of the four borders  spread across the three geopolitical regions  that share boundary with Benin Republic, Niger andCameroon, respectively .

Atiku: PDP, presidential Candidate, Promises To Reopen Closed Land Borders If Elected Next Nigerian President

Given that most of the country’s land borders  are located in the north western part of the country, may have informed why Atiku Abubabakar, a former Nigerian Vice President , during Olusegun’s Obasanjo’s Administration and Presidential Candidate of the Opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP,  has pledged in Katsina, Kebbi and other northern states where he had Campaigned  at different times, to seek the people’s support for the 2023 , general elections ,  that he will reopen  all the country’s land borders that  were closed by Buhari in 2019, if elected the Nigerian President to facilitate free movement of goods and services.

Hear him: I will open  all the borders  that have been closed by Buhari  over the last  three years,  noting that he is ‘’more knowledgeable  on border issues than all the other 17 Political parties Presidential Candidates , including Asiwaju Ahme Bola Tinu of the APC and Peter Obi,  a former governor of Anambra state and flag bearer of the Labour Party, LP.

He may have his reason of  going to upturn  Buhari’s decision of closing  the nation’s land borders with Benin, Niger and Caroon ”to foster trade and investment in Nigeria and the neighbouring countries”. ’Nobody should stop us from trading with neighbours, he insists.

Lai Mohammed, mister of  Information and ulture , has asked Nigerians to ireject Atiku , the PDP, Candidate , who has said  that would reverse  all the efforts  that had  been made  by Buhari  to achieve  self –sufficiency  in he production  of rice and other staple food items in the country if elected the next President of Nigeria after the February 25,  2023,Presidential and National Assembly elections.

 The Buhari minister of Information and Culture, who could not hide his feelings had told Nigerian farmers  who may routing for Atiku, for giving his promise to reopen the country’s closed land borders with neigbouring countries of Benin, Niger, Chad and Cameroon,,  that the millions of them would lose the jobs  s imported rice would flood the country at very cheap price.

He had said that hundreds of Nigerians working in various rice mills that have sprung up in different parts of Nigeria may be forced to lose their jobs. He noted that with Atiku plan to open the country’s shut borders for improved trade with neighbours  also has its implications  as the new fertilizer blending Companies, may witness  drop in patronage , with thousands of people losing their jobs. The fear in both official and uofficial circles is that if Atiku, the PDP, Presidential Candidate,wins the 2023, Presidential elections and he goes ahead to fulfill hi electioneering Campaign promises of reopening the country’s border with neighbouring countries,  it will turn the country to net importer of foreign rice and  worsen  the security challenges of the county as arms and ammunitions would flood the country unhindered.

Obi: LP, Presidential Candidate , Promises To Eradicate Poverty In The North

Obi, the LP, Presidential Candidate, who has taken his Campaign to Borno state, under the siege of the Islamic Fundamentalist Group, BokoHaram and the Islamic State of West African Province, ISWAP, may have seen the reopening of The Nigeria and Chad closed border as the major problem of the state that is ravaged by poverty but had promised ‘’to eradicate poverty in the entire north east, which is Atiku, the PDP, Presidential Candidate region. ‘’ ‘’We would pull the children of the northern region   out of poverty’’.

He may have won the heart of the people when he said that the LP, government would be celebrated in the north because part of the problem in the region is poverty that have been imposed on the children by past Administrations.  Senator Tinubu, APC, Presidential Flag bearer, who has taken his Campaigns to Anambra, Zamfara and Taraba, home state of Theophilous Danjuma, a retired Army General and former minister of Defense, during Olusegun Obasanjo’s Administrations, where he was said to have promised toidustrialise.

In Taraba state, particular, the APC, Presidential Candidate, who may have taken advantage of the agricultural and raw materials potential in the state to assure  the people of going ‘’to improve  the agriculture and mining sectors in the state’’.

Tinubu: APC Flag Bearer, Promises To Industrialise Taraba State, Improve Agriculture And Mining

Meanwhile, the Socio-economic  Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP,    had urged the President  to probe the attack on Obi, the LP, Presidential , by hoodlums  in Katsina, the Katsina state Capital  on his way to the Airport to catch his flight . Kolawale Oluwadare, a Director in SERAPA,  who has asked Buhari  to direct  Usman Alkali Baba, the Inspector General of Police, IGP,  to properly investigate  the incident and other cases of  elected –related intimidation , harassment  and violence across the country,  had had said that it is the only way the government will prove to Nigerians that the attack , described as one of the front-line Presidential Candidates for the 2023 , general elections, was not planned to embarrass him and inject fear him into him that he is not wanted in the north.

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