Northern Elders Urge Buhari to Arrest Nigeria’s Drift to Disaster editor
Northern Elders Urge Buhari to Arrest Nigeria’s Drift to Disaster
editorMay 26, 2021 12:00 Pm
Say North won’t bow to intimidation
By Adedayo Akinwale
The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) yesterday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to halt Nigeria’s gradual descent into disaster.
The forum, in a statement by its Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, also accused Southern governors of building ethnic monsters.
It warned that other political leaders who take advantage of the limitations of the president to light fires should know that they would get burnt too.
It said majority of Nigerians did not want war or a breakup of the country, adding that what Nigerians wanted is an end to insecurity, escalating cost of living and the hate and the fear which the leaders are triggering.
It stated that it has held back on taking issue with persons and groups intent on provoking crises that would escalate beyond control or mitigation by leaders who are collectively showing signs that they unwilling to steer the country away from the dangerous threats which are crippling it.
It stated: “It is now clear that elected people sworn to protect the constitution and protect the unity and integrity of Nigeria have decided to surrender to deeply divisive or outright irredentist and secessionist tendencies and movements.
“In the South-east, governors are yielding their political turf and mandates to secessionists, criminals and subversives who think they can exterminate federal presence and Northerners from the region, and achieve dubious political goals related to 2023, or break away from the country.
“In the South-west, elected leaders and pampered ethnic bullies are closing ranks to provide a front that apes the do-what-we-want-or-we-leave-the-country strategy of the marginalised leaders of the South-east. Governors are building ethnic monsters and hiding behind them to whip up sentiments in a crude attempt to extract concessions no one is in a position to give or guarantee.”
The forum added that the South-south is squeezed between fear and uncertainty, as its leaders are gambling that they can benefit from further weakening the federal administration and the North if they support the rest of the South.
It stated that a plastic unity was being contrived to create the impression that the South is united behind shared grievances against the presidency and Fulani herders and all Northerners who are cast as fair game in responding to all of Buhari’s multiple failures.
The forum alleged that desperate but futile attempt is being made to split the North along lines that suit people who ignore its complexities and plurality when it is convenient to lump all Northerners and submit them to humiliation or attacks.
NEF said most of these provocations fed from the widespread perception of a weak national leadership and a broken political process.
It restated its support for a programmed transition to eliminate open grazing and the establishment of productive, safe and sustainable options in managing the huge national assets in animal husbandry.
According to the NEF, this cannot be achieved with threats and harassment, but with commitment and collaboration involving all governments and stakeholders.
The forum stated that it is in everyone’s interests to support an urgent national initiative to engineer a safe and productive transition to end open grazing.
It said: “In the meantime, the forum must warn those attacking and killing Fulani herders to stop. There are limits to every community’s tolerance, and the forum strongly advises that lines are respected in the manner we treat Nigerians who are vulnerable wherever they live.”
The forum added that it has always supported initiatives that improve the quality of inputs into how Nigerians can address the limitations of their nationhood.
It said that it was unfortunate that the current efforts of the National Assembly to amend the constitution had inspired little or no confidence among Nigerians that they would address the fundamental challenges