Sunday, 8 November 2020

We Will Not Succumb To Any Blackmail And Threat Over Restructuring ..Northern Leaders Tell South

 Prominent leaders in northern Nigeria have said the region would not succumb to any blackmail or threat of restructuring or breakup of the country. They made this known while reacting to agitations for breakup and the #EndSARS protest, seen as a plot to bring down the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

At the end of a high-powered emergency meeting of northern governors in Kaduna last Monday, they described the #EndSARS protest as a plot to effect a regime change in the country.

Senate President Ahmed Lawan, Deputy Speaker Idris Maje; Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari, ministers, Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu and traditional rulers also attended the meeting.

Some of the leaders said that the clamour for restructuring and breakup by some southerners was part of the plot to box the North into a corner, adding that “enough is enough.’’

In an interview with our correspondents, a former governor of Nasarawa State, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, said the North was being taken for granted in the Nigerian project.

“This is our government and we see some machinations against northern interest in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We must stand up and call this bluff off, for heaven’s sake. Whatever you hear me say, I say so because I do not want the solidarity, loyalty and state of patriotism that drive us northerners to be lost. This is because once we lose it, Nigeria goes. I believe that very strongly.

We are a necessary principal holder and partner of the Nigerian federation and we must not be ashamed of saying it

One of us is the president today. And you will never see this kind of nonsense when a non-northerner is there. I am sorry and regret to say this, but that is the reality and the truth.

We are very liberal, once a person gets to the office, we show our respect irrespective of where the person comes from. But this seems not to be the case with them. They think they are smarter, more educated and radical than we are, so they throw any garbage at us and we take it because we want the stability of Nigeria more than they do, for whatever reason,’’ he said.

An elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, also said the #EndSARS protest was conceived with the aim of ensuring the disbandment of Nigeria as a country.

In an interview  on Sunday in Kano, Yakasai said that after their Monday meeting in Kaduna, the northern leaders were being diplomatic with their words by positing that the EndSARS protest was hijacked by separatists.

“They did not hijack the protest; they initiated it, but to their disappointment, even the boys were not talking about restructuring. They knew that palliatives were kept in some places and directed their attention there. They forgot about the political foundation of the protest and directed themselves to where they would get something to eat,’’ he said.

He said that even if they did not discuss much about insecurity in the North during the meeting, “it was a good thing that they could bring themselves together to advise the Federal Government on what to do to deal with that situation (the EndSARS protest).

On Afenifere’s allegation that the North is fixated on ruling the country; hence their insistence that Nigeria is indivisible, Yakasai said, “I know Afenifere and I have never heard anything good from them for the country. Their concern is that they want to rule Nigeria. But we are in a democracy where you need votes, and the majority of votes in Nigeria are concentrated in the North.”

Right from the beginning, their leaders tried to get votes from the North, but unfortunately, they adopted wrong approaches, and as a result of that, they could not get the support of the majority of the people. So I know what Afenifere means. They took advantage of the military regime of the late General Sani Abacha to agitate, not only against the regime but engaged in anti-North propaganda, which is what is still playing out.

At the age of 95, I am experienced enough to know that forever, this piece of land will be here; it will not be taken to London or Saudi Arabia. The sooner the people of Nigeria, particularly the Afenifere, agree to live in peace with all Nigerians so that they can work together and create a synergy for the development of the country, the better. But if they think that brewing trouble is the solution, one day they will find out the result.”

He said the 2023 elections, like others conducted in Nigeria, had nothing to do with restructuring as being posited by some groups. He said those groups calling for Nigeria to be restructured before the next elections should “say how they want it. But according to him, every Nigerian has the same right, so nobody will dictate to others. Let them articulate their position and present it to Nigerians, but they must know that they cannot compel anybody to go with their position.’’

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