The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) yesterday vowed to resist any move to undermine the current administration on account of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ill health.
Besides, the forum backed “genuine” restructuring of the nation, adding that the north was never at any time opposed to the move.The warning may have been informed by some developments at the seat of power, Aso Rock, which the group described as “attempts to exploit the absence of the president to achieve dubious political goals.” One of these goals is suspected to be the restructuring of the polity.
NEF maintained that the ship of state must keep sailing uninterruptedly until Buhari returns.Rising from its emergency meeting held at the Government House, Kano, the elders noted: “We are aware that attempts are being made to exploit the absence of President Muhammadu Buhari to achieve dubious political goals.
“We, therefore, warn those seeking an undeserved political advantage to desist. The north is conscious of its obligations as well as rights and will discharge and defend same without reservations.”
Briefing newsmen on the outcome of the meeting, the forum’s deputy leader, Wantaregh Paul Unongo, applauded the president for transferring power to his lieutenant in line with the dictates of the 1999 constitution (as amended). He urged Nigerians to keep praying for the quick recovery of the nation’s first citizen.
He pledged the forum’s support for Osinbajo’s acting presidency, advising him to be wary of enemies in the discharge of his duties. His words:”The forum expresses its full support and encouragement for Acting President Osinbajo and urges him to exercise responsibility, as he did in the past with commitment, sensitivity and respect for the constitution.
We urge him to ignore mischief makers who seek to pit him against the president or the people whose mandate they both exercise.”
NEF charged the National Assembly to work with Osinbajo. Lauding government on the release of the 82 Chibok girls, the forum, however, maintained that the administration must not rest on its oars until the rest of the captives regain freedom.
Unongo continued: “For the record, the forum wishes to state that the north welcomes honest and sincere discussion on all aspects of our existence and remains available to engage any group to discus and advance the nature of our union. We will resist the attempt to create the false impression that the region is hostile to enquiries into the basics of the nation’s structure and operations.
“We will also join other Nigerians in resisting any attempt to seek sectional and parochial goals outside the constitution and laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The forum expects that the task of governing the nation will continue uninterrupted until the return of President Muhammadu Buhari. We, therefore, appeal to Nigerians to be cooperative, focused and committed.”