The Northern Elders’ Forum , NEF, on Friday supported the call by the Coalition of Northern Youth Groups for Igbos to leave the region within three months.
The NEF leadership said this despite widespread condemnation trailing the ultimatum.
It berated the Nothern Nigeria Governors’ Forum for disowning the youth groups behind the ultimatum.
Briefing newsmen yesterday in Zaria, NEF Spokesperson Prof Ango Abdullahi said it was hypocritical for the Igbo to continue to live in other parts of the country while agitating for Nigeria’s break up.
His words: “I am disappointed in the decision taken by Northern Governors’ Forum disowning and condemning the agitation by this young agile and progressive youth groups.
“Let me ask these Northern governors, who are they representing, are they representing spirits, ghost or people of the north?
“Recently, people from eastern part of this country, specifically Igbo, were busy calling for the Sovereign State of Biafra and from all indication, their leaders including governors are behind them.”
He said whoever feels Nigeria “is not conducive for him” should quit, adding that what the northern youth groups did was not a sin.
He lamented that none of the Northern governors reacted to the persistent call for the actualisation of Biafra and other agitations.
Abdullahi said when Nnamdi Kanu was released on bail recently, over 100 vehicles escorted him to his residence including big personalities from the South-west and South-east.
“This is somebody who has been agitating for the breakup of Nigeria but his people were behind him, therefore, I am behind the youths.
“This is because the Northern youths are pushed to the wall, we have been calming them down in any event similar to this.
“These people always pretend that the North is cheating them, not minding the fact that Southern Nigeria was developed with resources from the North.
“Please, look for a book written by Adamu FiKa, the Waziri of Fika, on Nigeria’s budget before and after independence.
“Each year, up to the time Nigeria gained its independence, none of the two regions was able to provide for itself.
“I mean none of the Western and Eastern regions had the money to effectively run the affairs of its region until they get financial support from the Northern region,” he said.
He recalled that the tradition had remained during the colonial masters and nothing changed after they left the country.
Abdullahi said it was the same money from the North that was used to construct Nigerian Railways, refineries and other facilities.
“First oil exploration was conducted using money from groundnut pyramid, cotton, hide and skin among other cash crops from Northern Nigeria. However, these people tend to forget all these goodies provided by the North toward ensuring the unity and corporate existence of Nigeria.
“They always look down on us, feeling that Northerners are parasites in this country,” he said.
Igbo should stop using Biafra to terrorise Nigeria—Junaid
Similarly, a Second Republic lawmaker, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, asked the Federal Government to stop Igbo elite from hiding under the guise of Biafra agitation to terrorise Nigerians.
Mohammed, who spoke in an interview with Saturday Vanguard, said the Igbo were not superior tribes in the country.
He said: “Why should Northern elders back Igbo quit notice anyone stop the Northern youths from airing their views about those who are threatening the cooperate existence of Nigeria? The Igbo must note that they do not have a monopoly of violence and are not superior to other Nigerians in any way to warrant their incessant threats and attacks on others.
“Those who are behind their nefarious Biafran bid are walking the streets free and nobody is doing anything about that. It is very sad and disappointing for the Buhari government to allow Biafra agitation to almost overwhelm the country.
“This is a major threat to Nigeria that is well organised by the Igbo elite and it is unfair for the government to gloss over it for political reasons.
“If the Buhari government continues to allow the Igbo to push for Biafra unhindered only to come out against the warning by Arewa youths, it will backfire because nobody can play with the intelligence of the North.
“I am not a man of violence and will never advocate for any form of violence but a government that has refused to check the excesses of the Igbo, culminating in the emergence of Biafra, should be held responsible for what is unfolding now.”
Ndigbo should be calm —Ezeife
Also speaking, a former governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife said: “I don’t see Northern Elders supporting the statement of the youths who called the Igbo unprintable names. Ango Abdullahi has been difficult to understand. He was the one who said the North was ready for Nigeria’s disintegration, only God knows if he thought about the consequence of that to the ordinary northerner not feudal people like him. The statement is illegitimate. That is a wrong reaction and I believe that common sense will prevail eventually. I know that Northern Elders Forum consists of sagacious politicians like Maitama Sule, Justice Mamman Nasir, Tanko Yakassai and many others, who will not make such remark. Igbos should be calm and fear not because eventually, the will of God will prevail.”
Their statement is a signal to bloodshed —Afenifere
On its part, National Publicity Secretary of pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin said: “It is only the naive that would think that those youths were just acting on their own. The butterfly dancing on the river surface has drummers beneath the water. This is what Ango Abdullahi has confirmed with his intervention. Even their governors condemning them are just pretending. How many of them have been arrested by the police? Who opened the Arewa House for them? It is only
the pathetically naive that would not know that those guys are just messengers but the message is from their collective .If there is leadership in Nigeria, this is the time to lead the process of a peaceful sorting of Nigeria to avert the looming bloodshed the Arewa youths and their elders are plotting.”
Ango Abdullahi shouldn’t be taken seriously—Osuntokun
In his remarks, Political Adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Chief Akin Osuntokun, said: I don’t think Ango Abdullahi needs to be taken seriously. He has clearly elected to be part of the problem by generating heat rather than light. He has also consistently done damage to his background as an academic. His vacuous assertions on the contribution of the Northern region to national income at any point in the history of Nigeria have been repeatedly proven to
be absurd. They have no basis in fact, logic or history. Abdullahi has definitely not portrayed himself as an elder in the cherished African appreciation of that age category.’’
We need ourselves in this country—Tsav
On his part, a retired Police Commissioner, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav said:”Maybe the Northern Elders made the statement out of frustration but we need ourselves in this country. The Igbo should also speak reasonably because I feel the elders were irked that none of the Igbo leaders had cautioned Kanu. However, we can’t afford bloodshed like what happened during the civil war. Let us all work for peace.”
It’s an act of treason —Uranta
Also reacting, Executive Secretary, Nigerian National Summit Group, NNSG, Mr. Tony Uranta said: “Although some of the signatories have been comrades seeking Justice in a restructured Nigeria, I am shocked at this brazen and
public act of treason, that could, at the very least, trigger a pogrom against all non-Northern Nigerians and, at worst, throw Nigeria into a civil war. We must never forget how the 1966 pogrom in the North eventually threw Nigeria into the costly civil war. Nnamdi Kanu’s IPOB never created terror, yet he spent a long time in detention. These youths and their elders who are definitely trying to whip up hate and violence must be seen in the same light that Kanu was seen by the Federal Government.’’
Also, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress,APC, Mr. Shehu Hameed-Bankole said: “I am relieved to hear that we have people who are thinking differently. The so-called threat by the Arewa youths is nothing but advisory to the threat from the Igbo especially the Biafra seekers. The narrative has to change, it is either we truly have a good look at our constitution and allow for a referendum or we are courting trouble.”