The Chairman of Northern Elders Forum, Prof. Ango Abdullahi has restated that the Northern part of Nigeria believe so much in the Unity of Nigeria.
Prof. Abfullahi stated this in an interview with Sun Newspaper.
He condemned outspoken Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo for blaming Hausa/Fulani as being responsible for Nigeria’s problems.
“..My recollection as per what I read in Saturday Sun newspaper of September 29, 2019, our respected elder statesman that made that statement on break-up is Chief Ayo Adebanjo, a chieftain of Afenifere, a group that Northern elders had worked with especially before 2019 elections.
“When I read details of the interview, I saw his reason behind his angry comment that the north, in fact, he did not the say north alone but he said Northern Muslims. He used the word Northern Muslims. This is really less expected from someone who has been part of the Nigerian history like him at the age of almost 90 years. Specifically, he said Northern Muslims are responsible for the crises that Nigeria found itself in today.
“The question to ask him is that how does he expect the Northern Muslims referred to as responsible for problems in Nigeria today come to work with him or anybody he represents because these are his words, not mine. If he doubts this, he should go and check his words in the interview, to the extent that he was suggesting that South -west, South- east, South-South and what he described as progressive Middle Belt should work together to solve the problem of Nigeria. So that has an implication, yes, his definition of Northern Muslims and the area they live should be excluded from future Nigerian state of his dream.
“Now obviously, it was his suggestion that if Northern Muslims did not change their ways, which I don’t know which ways he is referring to, we shall be excluded from Nigeria. He has not spelt out what the Northern Muslims have done or have not done that led to crises of Nigeria today. So if that is the thesis, then, of course, Adebanjo has to find a solution.
“How the rest of the country could come together and exclude the Muslim North out of present Nigeria; that is maybe to nurture a baby and see whether it will survive. He was emphatic on Muslims North, which perhaps means Hausa/Fulani.
“If we were not going to do their bidding which he did not make it known, then we shall be excluded from this nation. So, that made him to say that the country can break-up. Well, first and foremost, he has to work hard to see that he galvanize these areas that he prefers to work with, and see whether it is possible or feasible or workable.
“From all indications, I can assure him or whoever holds the same illusion that is not possible. Not even to the level of breaking up the country into the units. If he is saying the present federating structure of Nigeria is not working enough, or efficient, then he can call for a summit so that all the units would agree and restructure. Because I agree that some arrangements of our states are not working enough.
“Look at some states who claim because they are producing oil are taking a lot of money from revenue derivation against other parts of the country.
“If he is looking at the restructuring on the basis of viability of the various units that constitute the federating units, then we will be partners in that discussion but if the discussion is already on prejudice against a tribe or ethnic group then it is already dead on arrival.
“Northern Elders believe so much in the unity of this country but not at the expense of any part of the country. If Adebanjo and any other person with the same view are serious about a break-up, the North is not afraid and is ready.”