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Northern Elders Allege Plot To Weaken Region Ahead Of 2023

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Some northern elders yesterday raised the alarm over what they described as attempts to hurt and weaken the North by portraying the region as the culprit behind all manner of grievances, real or contrived ahead of the 2023 general elections.

The elders under the auspices of Northern Elders Forum (NEF) also said that with the current unpleasant happenings in the country, it is incumbent on political office-holders to rise to the occasion by protecting all Nigerians anywhere they may be in the country.

In a statement made available to OURTIMES in Abuja by its director, publicity and advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, NEF alleged that many of the provocations and threats were directly related to maneuvers for 2023.

The elders, however, noted that people who believe they can intimidate or threaten the North into submitting to their demands were grossly making a mistake.

They said the North also wants a Nigeria which addresses at least a minimum of its requirements, which are many.

NEF said like all other Nigerians, it believes the country must meet particular and general interests, adding that no group’s interest is superior to the other.

Speaking further, the forum’s spokesman, Baba-Ahmed, warned that while there is a long way to go before 2023, the nation’s democratic process must not be held hostage by dangerous and short-sighted politics.

The statement reads in part: ”There are politicians who think weakening the country is their best guarantee for achieving their goals. Groups that are floating irredentist agendas to blackmail others do not impress the North. Elected leaders must find the will to reduce the damage of opportunistic politicians.

”If, as it clearly appears to be the case, they cannot do this, citizens with the capacity to influence opinion and chart a course towards a safer country for all citizens should get involved.

“At the most minimal level, attacks on Fulani communities who live peacefully with communities in the South must stop. No Nigerian should be threatened or ordered to leave any part of the country because it pleases other Nigerians that he does so. Elected leaders must rise to their responsibilities of protecting citizens and their properties.

”The Forum recognises the historic opportunity for leaders, elders and other Nigerians who believe in acting responsibly to step up now and retrieve the country from imminent disaster. The Forum restates its commitment to sit and discuss all the challenges facing the country with responsible groups and leaders. It understands that many of the provocations and threats are directly related to maneuvers for 2023, as well as attempts to hurt and weaken the North by making it the culprit behind all manner of grievances, real or contrived.

”People who believe they can intimidate or threaten the North into submitting to their demands are grossly mistaken. The North also wants a Nigeria which addresses at least a minimum of its requirements, and these are many. Like all other Nigerians, it believes this country must meet particular and general interests, and no group’s interest is superior to the others.”

NEF further said it had been following recent developments, events, and utterances from many quarters, all of which suggest that Nigeria is at a defining moment that would determine its fate and the security of all Nigerians for a long time to come.

The forum stated that it would no exaggeration to say that the country had never been so threatened by a combination of weak and ineffective governance and a determined effort from many quarters to capitalise on such weakness to attack the foundations which give all citizens and communities some comfort that the country was not heading for an irretrievable disaster.

”It appears that many groups and persons who have public standing, political adventurers and upstarts believe that it is open season to intensify attacks on the foundations of our co-existence through acts that provoke, frighten or otherwise cast doubts over the capacities of those who have sworn to protect the nation and citizens.

”These groups’ activities suggest that they perceive a vacuum which provides a perfect setting for questioning the legitimacy of the Nigerian State, its ability to fight against subversion and other acts of hostility and its commitment to uphold the rule of law. The only voices being heard are those which demand the balkanisation of the country, or encourage dangerous politics and other acts that pitch some communities against others,” Baba-Ahmed said.

He added that the disturbing silence from responsible Nigerians and the capitulation of previously “influential groups to politics of the gutter is creating a dangerous space which further erodes the chances that a rational approach to the triggers to the provocations can be found.”

 

Governors Are Worried Over Rising Insecurity – Ganduje

Meanwhile, Kano State governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has said governors are worried over rising insecurity in the country, describing the situation as unfortunate.

Governor Ganduje spoke to State House correspondents yesterday after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

According to him, it is worrisome that criminals could lay siege on governors, even as he wondered what the fate of an ordinary citizen who does not enjoy the sort of security protection of governors would be.

He, however, expressed hope that the situation would get better soon.

He said, “I think it’s unfortunate, but I believe with appointment of the new service chiefs, new strategy would be developed and I think Mr. President has always been serious about this issue, but it’s rather unfortunate.

“Not only governors being attacked, anybody who is attacked in Nigeria, one should be worried because life is life. Certainly we’re worried because a governor is supposed to have some security with him, let alone of an ordinary man who has no security.

“So you can see how serious the situation is. It’s unfortunate, but we believe we will overcome it”.

On why he came to see the president, the governor said the Kano State government was constructing a world-class three-level road interchange to be named after President Buhari in appreciation of his commitment to Kano’s infrastructure development.

 

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