Presumably referring to the power play in the presidency, northern elders under the aegis of Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), have issued a stern warning to individuals, groups or sections of the country, jockeying to replace ailing President Muhammadu Buhari, to stop.
In a press statement, released on Saturday, announcing the emergence of Paul Unongo as the new leader of the NEF, following the death of its founding convener, Maitama Sule, the elders said the forum is currently undergoing extensive reforms with the goal of improving its effectiveness and impact in the defence of northern interest.
The statement signed by the forum’s spokesman, Professor Ango Abdullahi reads: “The forum restated its support and encouragement to the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo. It advises all persons and groups who are involved in jockeying for power to respect the constitution and the realities.
“This nation is beyond being hijacked by any individual, groups or sections. The forum remains committed to working with all groups that are genuinely interested in examining the fundamentals of our nation and unity, but it will not abandon its commitment to protect the interests of the people of the north. “The nation must rise in defence of its collective security by restraining all irresponsible and provocative utterances and actions. This nation is serious threats to its security and its future.”
Meanwhile, the Convener of the Niger Delta Self -Determination Movement, Ankio Briggs has urged the Federal Government to not only listen to the agitation from different groups in the country, but that it should do something about it.
Briggs made the call on Saturday in Abuja as one of the panelists at the 2017 Feast of Barracuda hosted by the Association of Seadogs Confraternity.
She added that such agitations are borne out of the lack of true federalism. She said “people who do not have oil are the ones with oil wells, while those who have oil are left to suffer. And when we raise these issues, you say we are being selfish and unpatriotic. People should not look at it as sentiments, but to critically look at the protest. Do not tell people not to leave, but give them reasons why they should stay.”
She continued: “Let us restructure Nigeria. The unity and break up of Nigeria should be discussed and it must have a time frame. We cannot be sleeping and hoping for 2019 to conduct another elections when things are not right.”
On the issue of true federalism, the chairman of the event and former Minister of Power and Steel, Olu Agunloye, called on relevant authorities to entrench the principles of federalism.
He said it is injustice and sheer corruption for a region to produce oil, while another region controls it without considering where it is coming from.
The President of Seadogs, Abuja chapter, Abhulimen Samuel used the event to clear the negative perception that Seadogs is a Confraternity.
“People think Seadogs is a cult group, but I want to use this medium to clear the air that it is not. It is a registered body and its aim is to promote good governance. And we have told people who are using the name to commit crimes in universities to desist from doing so,” he remarked.